www.baltimoresun.com/explore/harford/opinion-talk/ph-ag-edit-bicycle-0116-20130115,0,3119031.story

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Bicycle paths are needed, but not for commuting in Harford

EDITORIAL FROM THE AEGIS

3:17 PM EST, January 15, 2013

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A stated goal of Harford County's Pedestrian Master Plan and its component that advocates for increased bicycle-friendly thoroughfares is a bit far-fetched, namely to make the county more "multi-modal" in terms of transportation options.

Turning Harford County into a place where anything approaching a significant number of people can rely on bicycles as a primary mode of transportation is an idea that left the station three or four generations ago, when our ancestors got in their cars and fled cities to settle in places like Harford County. It's going to take more than well-marked bike lanes and easy access to paths and trails to make two-wheeled pedal power a year-round regular option for getting to work from suburban Harford County.

This critique is worth raising, however, not because increased options for bicycle riders is a bad idea. Quite the contrary, making better, more interconnected bicycle lanes and paths is a great idea, even if no one ever ends up commuting to work by bicycle.

Bicycling is a wonderful form of exercise. It's a great way to spend leisure time. It's a perfectly reasonable way to get from, say, a neighborhood in Forest Hill to a nearby bowling alley or eatery for a little social activity. It is a great mode of transportation for the under-16 crowd looking to get to rec league practice or a friend's home.

As a practical matter, bicycles are a strong option for going short distances when the transport of groceries or other wares isn't an issue. And bicycle-friendly roads are as much a part of a good recreation program as athletic fields and gymnasiums.

Just don't expect any two-wheeled backups in the bicycle lanes during rush hour any time soon.