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New Kent Unveils Six Bike Routes

New Kent's Colorful Bike Route Signs

 

New Kent County, Virginia  officially launched six permanent cycling  routes in the county on September 25.    

Nearly one hundred riders from across the state came to participate in the ribbon cutting and ride the new  routes. 

New Kent Supervisor James Burrell and Dignitaries Officially Open the Routes

Funded by a Transportation Enhancement Grant, the the routes  range from 15 to 100 miles.  

Officials hope that the project will not only bring tourists to the county but will also  improve safety and awareness of cycling as a viable means of transportation. 

All routes begin at the New Kent County Visitors and Commerce Center, 7324 Vineyards Parkway, New Kent, VA 23124

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31 comments… add one

  • This six bike routes in New Kent definitely improve safety and awareness of cycling. Warm welcome to all cycle riders.

  • I live off of one of the designated bike routes off Hopewell Road in New Kent County. There is a loop from rt 619 to 606 to Steel Trap Road that was designated as a bike route, and we are increasing seeing more and more cyclists on this road. Problem is, this is a skinny twisty road . There is a line down the middle of the road in most places, however the sides of the roads do not have any lines and the ditches are not kept mowed, sometimes the are undefined. It is hard for two cars to pass each other and with the larger SUV’s you almost have to stop to pass each other. Adding bicycles to this route is (in my opinion) a recipe for disaster. The bicyclists tend to ride not to the side of the road but usually in the middle, and if they come in multiples, they ride side by side and block the road so you can’t even pass them. I have not found them to be car friendly, and when you come around a curve and encounter them it is difficult. There have been many “near misses” especially when my children were teenagers. They would say Mom, they are in the middle of the road all the time!! Luckily neither myself or anyone in my family has hit one of them yet, however I do not understand how this could be considered a “bicycle route” It is hardly safe for the people who have to use these roads every day to commute and go to school, much less adding in another factor. I spoke to the New Kent tourism spokesperson and they said there are plans to put either lanes to the sides or separate bike trails, but it is a matter of funding and this is the first step. Seems like putting the cart before the horse to me. Explain to me why such an unsafe road is being designated as a bike trail and who I can speak to about this.
    By the way, I own several bikes and love to bicycle–in safe environments. Yes these roads are beautiful, but hardly safe.

  • You are a joke Carol Gill! If you taught your family how to drive..would not be a problem but obvioulsy they take after you!! Whatever……..

  • You are well know in the county to be nothing but a trouble maker and whiny baby and how old are you?? Please……

  • What a joke you are???!!!!

  • I agree with you Reeve—bring on the cyclist who love the county and enthusiasm! I hope to see them grow more and more everyday!!

  • I am not the only one who lives in this area that has issues/concerns about the safety of not only the cyclists but the drivers on this road. Does Lisa live around these trails???
    By the way, they are not really trails, they are roads.

  • Lisa,
    I don’t know who you are but I think the tone of your comments are very rude. If you have an opinion, you should express it but you don’t need to attack people personally. I live on land on the corner of Hopewell Road and thought someone must be kidding when I saw signs go up making it a bike route. The road is very narrow, winding, banked steep with no shoulders, and deep ditches on both sides and trees often making sight lines very short. I can’t tell you the number of times I have come around a corner and, if it hadn’t been for no cars coming in the other direction, I would have hit a bicyclist. This is not safe! I would welcome bike paths along the road and the cutting back of trees, even if it meant taking a small portion of my land. I think these signs are premature and shouldn’t have been put up until there was appropriate road improvements to ensure cyclists safety and motorists peace of mind.

  • I actually road the 15 mile ride on the opening day. What a great
    experience it was. Most of the cars that passed us followed the
    rules of the road corectly. I did have one truck try to pass me and another car at the same time. This was a close call. If we all work together and try to pay attention this can be very good for everyone. One thing I would note is the last time I road there we were all chased by a couple of dogs that should have been on a leash.

  • Carol Gill is right on the money!!! The area right around the Vineyard is a safe area to ride, but the narrow roads in the area with blind corners are very dangerous. In fact the roads are very dangerous to drive a car on. There is no room for any error at all. New Kent should build safe trails beside the roads. I would suggest driving to the Virginia Capital Trail in Charles City to see how it should be done.

  • Sounds like the vehicular traffic needs to slow down when approaching curves. I’ve cycled through many areas in Europe, I can assure the roads are narrower, windy, and sometimes bordered by centuries old rock walls. If a car is traveling at such a rate of speed it can no stop for a pedestrian, deer, or cyclist when running a blind corner, it is traveling to fast. Cyclist often ride away from the direct edge to avoid broken car parts and debris that are on the side of the road and to encourage vehicle to pass properly, in the opposing lane. This becomes a habit after a few cars try to squeeze between the cyclist on an on-coming car while passing. You need to slow and wait for on coming traffic to clear. If the road curves, you may need wait at 15 mph until the road straightens, trust me it will not longer than the signals you swait at in the city.

  • First, I’d like to say I am a New Kent resident and enjoy getting on my bike. I also love New Kent (one of the designated routes – Quaker Rd), it is a great place to live. I live 2.5 miles from my place of employment in New Kent and would love to ride my bike daily to work. For the same reasons Carol wrote, I am hesitant to put myself in danger on roads where it is very difficult to maneuver around bicyclists. I would never bring my children on these roads. These routes are not safe to bring small children (I have an 8 and 10 yr old) for bike rides. I would rather drive to the designated trail(s) off of Route 5 or drive to Richmond to bike. For me it is a safety issue. To Lisa on this thread: Your response to the other person (Carol) was uncalled for. Her thoughts were in line with a logical thought process combined with personal experiences. I have been at the scene of an accident involving a car and bicyclist. It was not a pretty sight. One of my drivers (when I lived elsewhere) killed a small child on a bike years ago. It was not his fault BUT that will haunt him forever. If we want to be a bike friendly New Kent, we need to make sure that all bicyclists have safe biking lanes with plenty of room.

  • After receiving a letter from the county that a bike path will be built on the route I live on, I can definately say that I believe there are other issues that need to be addressed before a leisurely cycling route is put into place. Carroll, I really appreciate your opinion on this matter, and think that the some of the comments left towards you were cowardly and very telling of that person’s character. The truth of the matter is, based on your issue with the winding roads, is that you are correct. This has nothing to do with improper driving; there is a great risk to both the drivers and cyclists when such roads are chosen. I own horses myself, and I cannot take an afternoon ride down any of the routes closeby. One major problem falls under the adminstative personel of the Virginia DOT. Using a personal story as an example, one can only call so many times to have the “county” come in and trim the trees which hinder a driver’s view when going around a bend. This is the case on many of our backroads; they are unaccounted for and so many accidents have occurred because the limited views. Just look at how many accidents have occurred at the infamous intersection of Colonial Downs and Dairy Queen; I believe the last one was on June 3, 2011. Is there ever going to be a light put up to help those drivers who are incapable of following the speed limit or driving in the wrong lane??
    In this case, the county is passing the hobby and sport of cycling off as a means of transportation. I don’t remember that there was actually a poll sent around to ask the residents of New Kent how many would actually use cycling as a means of getting around the county; in fact, the only notice our household attained was a letter in the mail letting us know of the date and time a meeting was going to be held in the courthouse to debate the issue or voice one’s concerns because OUR LAND IS BEING TAKEN (which we did and it had no impact). The bottom line here is I believe that everyone has their own opinion, though it may not be right. Going back to the core factors which suround this new land disturbance, could the amount of money being used to support
    another more “in need” issue(s) within our area? As soon as we opened out letter, we knew this bike path was going in no matter what the people, who actually pay the taxes for it to exist, thought about it. The “meeting” which occurred was just part of the necessary legal routine–bottom line. The fact is, we have to deal with whatever the county decides on doing–even if it is putting a new highway through the middle of our property; if we don’t sell or take their offer, they will proceed regardless. As a community, we have to find a way to be a part of the solution and not arguing about who is right or wrong. The community needs to have a voice, and unless you are willing to use it at a county meeting and speak up against those holding and delegating our funds out to certain projects like this one, they will continue to believe how powerful they are. To those reading this, hopefully even the supervisor of New Kent, I can only speak for our household and the adult members who live in it. Considering the major problems within the county, such as the amount of accidents happening in front of Colonial Downs, how can one logically put prioitize this cycling project over other factual and harmful issues that need to be addressed? There are many issues we face within out own environment that are a hindering the biodiversity here; other that transportation that a few will take advantage of, what other positive aspects will this add to our community given it’s hefty pricetag?

  • I really think it’s odd that the only people commenting on this until now are the ones who are opposed to or seemingly against having cyclists on these roads they live on as part of a cycling route. I have not seen really any positive feed back on this. I for one am an avid cyclist. KUDOS to New Kent for promoting a positive activity which promotes a healthy and active lifestyle.

    That said, fortunately there are some and ONLY some cyclists who fail to realize that sharing the road goes both ways. Making a generalization that all cyclists ride in the manner you describe would be like me saying that just because some drivers are ignorant, that means all drivers are ignorant. That is just not the case. I do yield most of the lane most of the time to motorists, but yes, if I am on a blind curve, I will ride out more because I do not want a motorist to think it is safe to pass me when I nor they can see what’s coming in the opposite direction. When I see you behind me and it is unsafe to pass, I will let you know by taking more of the lane and giving you a signal. Give me a straight away, and I will give most of the lane, motion you to pass if I see it is clear, and thank you. I do ride about 2 feet out so as to avoid debris and trash that accumulates on the side of the road. All I ask is that drivers, like yourself, give me the same courtesy and consideration I give them. The law says when I am on my bike, I am considered a vehicle, and I have the same rights and responsibilities as such. And I site http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-laws.asp#Rights and Duties

    And to the person who talked about you being tax payers and your property being taken from you, last I checked, VDOT and county roads are public property. I work for a living, I own my own house, I register my own car, and I go shopping in this state and sometimes in New Kent, I too pay taxes and I have as much right to use the roads that are funded as much by my taxes as they are by your taxes, not to mention that the bikes and bike gear I buy generate as much revenue for the county of purchase as a luxury car, if you don’t believe that, I invite you to go to a full fledged bike dealer.

    Noah

  • Noah,
    You obviously did not read my comments. My concerns were for the safety of the cyclists, noting that the current structure of the roads do not lend themselves to safe cycling (even safe driving in some cases). I don’t know if you’ve actually ridden on the roads near my house, but we know these roads and, even if you are going well below the posted speed limits one could easily hit a cyclist coming around one of the tight turns because there is no shoulder! I noted I would even consider offering some of my land to make a nice shoulder since I have to walk on a short stretch during my walk, often walking in the weeds to give cars the right of way to get around me. Courtesy and advocacy for better infrastructure by all would go much further than telling each other what they “should” do. It doesn’t matter who is right if someone is dead or badly hurt!

  • Actually, Karen, I have ridden in your area many times. I average 800 miles/month on my bike. One of the things that attracts me about the area you are speaking of is that the roads are lightly traveled and I have to say, I have never had any problems or felt unsafe or encountered any overt hostility by drivers. I can appreciate your concerns. My guess once again, is that you are talking about the handful of cyclists who take the whole lane and do not get over at all when you are behind them and the situation is safe enough for them to get over to let you safely pass.

    Until the infrastructure in Central VA changes, the answer is not to throw a line in the sand by saying it is unsafe for cyclists to be on the road so there should be nothing to support the activity nor should cyclists use unsafe roads, the answer is for ALL of us who use the roads, to do our part to act safely. If that means someone has to wait part of a minute to pass a cyclist before they go on with their day, well then I am sorry. By the same token, I would not expect a walker like yourself to jump in the weeds to avoid me when I am driving. I am legally responsible to yield to pedestrians, so if I see you walking, it is on me to be driving slow enough to see you in time to go around you or almost stop until it is safe to pass you.

    When I read these posts, and I seriously hope I am wrong, but I fear that most of these posts are written by people who wail on their horn when they drive by.

  • By the way, I second what Kevin said earlier in this thread, that is if you cannot react to a cyclist, or any other pedestrian in a curve, then maybe you are going too fast in the curve. And Carol, if you cannot pass another SUV in your SUV or car on the other side of the roads in the Black Creek area, then that definitely is bad driving habits. Just because the speed limit on Hopewell or Old Church is 45 mph, doesn’t mean you have to go the speed limit.

  • I know that I have the right of way and always look back to see if the car coming toward me has another lane to go into to get around me (I walk on a straight portion of Hopewell Rd). However, if they don’t, I don’t take the chance that they will see me and will stop – I just move over in the weeds, if necessary, to ensure my safety. The vast majority of motorists in New Kent will do whatever is needed to be safe but the real point is why encourage the use of roads by cyclists until they can be safely navigated. I don’t see (but I hope I missed it) cyclists up at the General Assembly lobbying for additional funds (or the additional tax dollars needed) to make our communities more accessible by non-motorists (and healthier), the only bill I saw was one requiring motorists to move over even further when passing bikes (which on our roads would mean you would be completely in the other lane of traffic). I would love to cycle (and would actively support money for community infrastructure) but I won’t be doing it on my area roads until it is safe. I prey that no one gets hurt in the meantime.

  • Unlike Mr. kaatz, I only cycle about 400 miles per month. However, almost 90% of those miles are on New Kent roads. I find most folks in autos very accommodating, safe and friendly. There are the few (very few) that do seem to have the notion that they own the road. Then there are the others who just don’t seem to know what to do? Please don’t blow your horn as go around us, scares the bejebers out of us, if you must toot, do it a ways back just to let us know you are there. If you can’t see around the curve please, please, don’t try and pass. That holds true for passing bikes, cars, mail trucks, horses or anything that might be slower than you.
    Now I’ve asked you to do a lot, I also will do my part. I promise I will always try and ride as safely as possible to the right side. If I feel it unsafe for you to pass me I will move more to the center and hold out my hand. I will not ride two abreast if there is traffic behind me and lastly If you wave at me I will wave back (if I can).
    One last thing, go visit the RABA.org web sit and come out and ride with us. You want believe how much fun it is and what a great bunch of folks you will meet! New Kent County is in my opinion one of the most beautiful counties in all the lands and must, Must be visited from the open road on a bicycle.
    Ps. Noah, you are spot on! Keep on riding!

  • Respond to Noah,

    I am directly redaponding to you because I mentioned VDOT; it’s really interesting to me that you brought up that one topic, yet not
    the biodiversity issues within our county. I mention that once again because I don’t believe that you and your bike could generate
    that revenue. It is very obvious that you are quite defensive, instead of heaving a healthy discussion concerning this matter. Not once did I discriminate against cyclists; I am one of many who ride my horses down the same road (hence the speach about trimming the trees). One fact you got right was the part about the county roads being public..what you don’t understand, because it is not you and your pocket which is suffering is how much property is being used, over the regulated amount. As a taxpayer, widowed mother of two, and community service I provide to the county, as well as others, through my job, I believe that we are all created equal here. Because this bike path is being put in, which does benefit my child because he runs cross country, the issue here is not about THE BIKES OR THEIR RIDERS. The manner in which this project played out was very unprofessional in my opinion, and having other severe problems in our county to address is another. I am sorry that you found something in my post which didn’t exist and made it completely about yourself; all I can say is read it again.

    Best Wishes! Ride On!

  • Karen,
    The safest way to pass a slower vehicle is to go on the other side of the road, that is why you need to wait until you can see ahead, and that is why it is important to go slow enough on the curve to anticipate someone slower might be on the road. It may take you another 2 or 3 minutes to get to your destination, but imagine the life you may have saved, may even be your own. What do you do if you happen upon a mail truck or a farm tracter. Do you complain that they should not be on the road? Often, the only close calls I have seen are due to near misses that would result in head on collisions because drivers simply refuse to slow down around curves or take 30 seconds to assess a situation before they pass. I really want to believe that you aren’t that type of person and that you are concerned for people’s safety. The fun and health benefits far outweigh the risks. I will follow that by saying, I know it isn’t always plausible and possible for a motorists to get all the way over, hence the 3 foot bill which failed, unfortunately. It is still 2 feet by law.

    While we can’t actually lobby feasibly in the state capital, we do call our representatives, and a good many of us do attend meetings at the county level that encourage cycling awareness and changes to infrastructure that accomodate all modes of transportation. Why don’t you look at Henrico’s 2026 plan http://www.co.henrico.va.us/planning/projects/2026-comprehensive-plan/

    or http://www.route5corridor.com/

    or the Capital Trail.

    None of these are possible with cyclists input. The same holds true with the designated cycling routes in and around New Kent, cyclists had a voice in that and it was heard. The only responses I have seen are the handful of negative responses.

  • Jennifer,

    How is more property being used, the roads are already there. I am not talking about the bike paths that are proposed and in fact, did not know about them until I read these posts. I am talking about people’s notions that the roads are too dangerous for bikes and thus riding on them should not be encouraged. As for revenue, as I said in my previous post, I also own a car, work in this state, and own property and I do pay taxes as you do which fund VDOT, or is it because I don’t live in New Kent, I don’t generate revenue in New Kent. Well I guess that mean no one else should use the roads unless they live in New Kent?

  • Last time i checked, with regard to speed, the law was written that a driver shall drive up to the speed limit but not over, and at all times shall drive the speed that IS SAFE FOR CONDITIONS. with respect, that means if dangerous curves, limited visibility, or bad weather exist you are EXPECTED BY LAW to reduce speed to compensate and maintain positive control. you are at fault if you do not, and an accident occurs, you are liable.

    you need to look at cyclists, walkers and joggers as if they are your family. treat them as you would a family member. im pretty sure you would take your time and wait on someone you cared about. its courtesy, and with almost all cyclists and pedestrians, the favor is returned. most cyclists “ride right”.

    Carol, your issue with taxes is mute. Noah is right, we pay the same taxes you do, and guess what? we bring in additional revenue when out on the bike that grows your community and generates additional tax money and revenue as well. you dont like cyclists and dont want to share the road? dont want to be inconvenienced? i get that. unfortunately, the law and most of the public opinion is not the sentiment you voice.

    i would further add that if you doubt my asertion of revenue generation, you need to look hard at Iowa’s Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Do some research on how many cyclists participate, how much revenue is generated. do some research on just how badly towns and communities want to be a part of it and why. do some research and see for yourself. i think you’ll be genuinely surprised.

    -Paul

  • A few quick points. There are more bicycles in the USA than cars. http://www.worldometers.info/bicycles/ Bicycles have been on these roads longer than cars. I average 30 miles a day 3.5 days a week. At my age (52) I burn around 2000 calories per ride. I used to weigh almost 300lbs, now I’m around 230. My bp is 120/72 and resting pulse is low 50s. Make no mistake, I will be riding these roads for many years to come so any help by the county (prefered routes) will be good for me and the many other cyclist who ride New Kent. I never feel uncomfortable riding our roads, I believe most folks really don’t know their cars true size. Also keep in mind the most important control in your auto or on my bike is the brake.
    Now keep in mind I’m completely on Noah’s side of this discustion, however, I for one will listen to your concerns and try and do everything I can to pass the word about responsible cycling.
    Please feel free to throw virtual rocks now.
    Monty

  • Jennifer, I reread your post and have one question, are you equating signs that are put up along a multi-use, road as a trail, or are there really plans being discussed to build separate bike trails?

  • The forward thinking that enabled these bike routes (which by the way were paid for largely by a federal grant: http://www.richmondregional.org/Publications/Reports_and_Documents/Planning/NK_Bike_Signage_TEA_21.pdf), and the proposed bike paths along 155 and elsewhere, were a considerable factor in my family’s decision to move to New Kent. I’ve ridden thousands of miles over the years, and these routes are as safe as any roads I’ve ridden on the east coast. New Kent should be proud of these routes as they are the first of their kind if not in the country, than certainly in Virginia. Ive heard from many friends in the cycling community that use them and are very impressed with them and our county. Unfortunately, there seems to be a desire for the current BOS to abandon them, so I urge those of you that use them to make your voices heard before they disappear. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  • Wow.. I was in Food Lion today and noticed a bit of an obesity problem. Promoting cycling and fitness in New Kent County is probably a subtle hint from the board of supervisors!

  • Just came back from my second trip to Colorado this year, which has the lowest obesity rate in the country. This didn’t happen by chance or putting some signs on a road. Colorado has a public infrastructure that supports biking, hiking, skiing, etc and public transportation which encourages walking and biking (with bike racks on the front of buses). Posted speed signs on roadways can be maintained without worrying about hitting bikers, walkers, etc. I really wish all of those who love to bike on New Kent’s roads will put their efforts into getting State public policy and increasing resources (i.e. voting for candidates that will increase taxes) for public infrastructure than trying to tell motorists how they should drive on their neighborhood roads. I would love to bike on our roads but I won’t be doing it until my safety is not dependent on the vigilance of area motorists.

  • I am so glad I moved to Portland, Or. The transportation priorities in VA(other than NoVA) are just wrong. The Henrico County 2026 plan is a joke for a cyclist; I can’t belive that was referenced. Forget about cycling as a recreational activity, how about a viable mode of trabsportation. Since moving to OR I have been able to bike to work 90% of the time. I fill up my car with gas once a month saving me about $200 a month. Biking as a mode of transpostation is a priority out here. Central Virginians needs to flip their transportation priorities.

    Note: cyclist do not generate $$$ for the county since roads are funded by gas tax in VA.

  • I came across the new signs while driving a visitor from out of state around the county today. As a moderate cyclist, I was excited to see how it was being promoted and came to this site looking for a map of the routes. I am sorry that so many seem concerned about the route safety, but still look forward to trying them out. I am sure at busier times you may find it a bit of a hassle with increasing numbers of cyclists and some tweaking of the routes may need to be done, but overall I think it is a great idea.

  • Hi Ellen,

    Really, the routes are beautiful rolling hills with little traffic. If you ride sensibly and follow all traffic laws, the inherent risks are minimal. Here is a link to the routes on MapMyRide. http://www.mapmyride.com/events/89438/

    Just turn on “milemarkers” in map options and you will see the direction of travel.

    I find it very odd that even 3 years later, there is no link readily apparent to download the cue sheets from, although I think I have them on another computer.

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