Letters to the editor

May. 18, 2013 @ 01:33 PM

Biking to work in Bull City impractical

Not sure whence arrives newcomer Michael Reinke that he finds Durham "wonderfully bike friendly,” as this 20-year Durham resident and cyclist finds our otherwise fine city anything but.

Venomous anti-cyclist rants fill the local airwaves, online chat rooms and the print media (and some of this is brought on by the inconsiderate behavior of a number of clueless and entitled cyclists), and Durham bicycle commuting in general, and to Duke Medical Center in specific is, based on my experience, an extremely hazardous proposition.

For my own commute, the intersections of Moreene and Erwin roads, Towerview and Science Drives on the Duke Campus and Erwin Road/751 are among the most dangerous thoroughfares I have ever encountered in my nearly 50 years on the bicycle.

Moreover, I have been harassed and flipped off while on my bike here by rural folk in pickup trucks down to Zen Buddhists in Priuses.

I keep commuting on my bike because I like cycling and it saves time. But without considerable expenses at modifying the infrastructure to accommodate cycle commuters properly (e.g. the way it's done in Portland, Or.) and changing the culture and attitudes, it is not a viable alternative to the motor vehicle for the vast majority of our citizenry. I don’t see that happening.

As such, feel-good events such as National Bike to Work Week are ridiculous, and the notion that most Durhamites can just dust off their wheels, hop on their bikes and off to work they go is smug, disingenuous and ill-advised.


Tom Sporn



Smoking remains a danger

Smoking causes lung cancer, and secondhand smoke harms the public’s health. On August 1, 2012, a smoking ban went into effect in Durham County. This ban includes train and bus stations, bus stops, playgrounds, parks, trails, public buildings, and any sidewalks abutting city or county property. Unfortunately, people still smoke in these areas. Their actions endanger themselves and their community.

The Partnership for a Healthy Durham is a group of more than 400 volunteers from member organizations throughout the county. As the committee concentrating on chronic disease in Durham, we write to inform the public on the following:

Community members have the right to “speak up” when they see violations. “No smoking” signs should back up people who confront people smoking in restricted areas.

To report a violation or incorrect signage, email smokefree@dconc.gov.

For smokers who want to quit, the NC Quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW) is a free service in both English and Spanish. If you are a Durham County resident, you can also call the Department Of Public Health (919-560-7765) to register for Fresh Start Quit Smoking classes.

Unfortunately, a bill (SB 703) was introduced in our General Assembly that would limit local smoking regulation. Contact your legislators to educate them about the negative effects of secondhand smoke and how this bill would repeal the Smoking Rule in Durham.

We have rules to reduce smoking and second-hand smoke exposure in Durham. Let’s all work together to support, enforce, and obey them!


Jennifer McDuffie

Partnership for a Healthy Durham



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