Blacksburg battles biking on sidewalks

Blacksburg battles biking on sidewalks (Image 1)
Blacksburg battles biking on sidewalks (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

BLACKSBURG, VA (WSLS) - Virginia was been named one of the top "bicycle friendly states" in the Unites States and Virginia Tech a "bicycle friendly university" by the League of American Bicyclists, last year but there's a bike battle of sorts when it comes to biking downtown.

"It's one of the biggest complaints," said Blacksburg Police officer Erin Harvey who is often patrolling on her bike. She hears the complaints when she's working, bicyclists riding on the sidewalks as pedestrians go in and out of shops and restaurants.

"It's a huge complaint with them feeling like they're going to be run over by bicyclists," she said.

Part of the issue, Harvey said, is students riding their bikes on campus sidewalks where it is allowed by Virginia Tech. They stay on their bikes when they transition to downtown but there, it's illegal.

"The sidewalk is too thin coming down South Main," said student and bicyclist Nick Panciocco.

Students like Panciocco, told of the law, says there's another problem for bikers when it comes to riding on the road downtown.

"It stinks because like I told him, going back up South Main the other way, you're usually moving slower and traffic is behind you. It's not a fun time. You always have cars honking at you yelling."

Signs are posted to warn bikers as well but police say with a new influx of students every year, it's sometimes hard to keep up with letting everyone know.

"We want people to be able to enjoy riding their bike in Blacksburg but we also want pedestrians to enjoy walking through downtown," Harvey said.