Al Campbell - Use this One

Managing Editor Emeritus Al Campbell

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More people than ever are using the Middle Township bike path. It’s one of the best things that the municipality ever created, at least in my estimation. It’s relatively easy to navigate, with the exception of a few nasty bumps, caused by tree roots just toward the County Park from the Atlantic City Electric Co. substation. 

Those will jolt an unaware biker’s teeth loose. Once users are aware of them, they are easy to skirt. If not, next time they will probably slow down and at least soften the blows to their underside. 

I do my best to be a good neighbor while on the path, as do most people. However, there have been a few times, when I wondered where people’s thoughts were while on the path. 

Not too long ago, on the path, there was a group of people taking up most of the path. They were walking, which is not a problem, except that, when I sounded my horn, nothing happened. I sounded it again, nothing happened. Then as I went off the path to go around the walkers, a man looked puzzled and said, “Oh, I thought I heard something.”

I was boiling, but kept pedaling. Then I got to thinking, those folks were walking, taking up the entire path, a bike path, and when an alarm sound was heard, it never occurred to them that a bicycle was approaching, and sounded a warning. 

Oh well, these are not usual days to be sure. 

From riding in my area, I’ve seen the remarkable work that has been done to the culvert under Route 47 at Dias Creek. The construction has resulted in Route 47 being almost as deserted as high school parking lots since the coronavirus pandemic cleared them of all motor vehicles. 

It’s a pleasure to bike on Route 47, since there is little to no traffic to threaten a cyclist. I’m certain there will be jubilation when the state gives its final clearance to the construction site and traffic will flow once again. Getting to see friends in Green Creek will be a lot easier.

Riding as I do, mostly on the shoulder of roads, I have to think that the chaps to open the road and then throw patch material on it must have no idea what it does to a biker. The county recently repaved a portion of Dias Creek Road. Recently, a utility company cut a hole in the new asphalt. I thought such cuts had to wait five years, but what do I know. That will be one place where the new road will begin to fall apart over time.

There is a stretch of Dias Creek Road, approaching Route 47, on the north side that is an absolute terror of bumpy match material. Maybe it was done thinking that someday the county would repave the road, but until then, it is awful.

The Hand Avenue extension to Route 47 from the center of Court House offer similar threats to one’s underside. Little rectangles have been cut every so often, and then filled, but beneath the surface of the road. They offer bumps and jars that could easily throw an unwary rider for a loop. 

Similarly on Dias Creek Road between Springer’s Mill Road and Stagecoach Road, there are several wide patches of accumulated patch material that makes it downright dangerous to ride over and keep from swerving into the lane of traffic. 

Since this virus threat, there has been a greater use of bicycles than ever. I applaud that. What I hope will grow from this greater use of this two-wheeled method of transportation is a better understanding and awareness between bikers and pedestrians and motorists and pavers who toss patch in holes. 

There are many courteous drivers who will, when possible, give a bicyclist a margin of safety on the county’s roads. Still, there are others who seem to take pleasure in seeing just how close they can get to a biker.

For those reasons, I prefer to use the bike path, but even there, there needs to be a heightened awareness, a knowledge of courtesy, that one group cannot command use of the width of the path for their personal use.