Seven months in, several incidents reported on newly designed Summit St.


On a stretch of one-way road comes an argument of two sides that is trying to help three-fold.

It’s a sign times are changing on Summit Street.

A welcomed change for John McDermott.

“Oh, yes,” he said. “I’m thrilled with it because there was a very large chance for a while that it was not going to happen.”

Cycling is his hobby. His passion. It’s now also his excitement after a 15 block stretch on Summit Street was recently redesigned to allow two lanes of one-way traffic and a two-way bike path that is protected by a path specifically for parked vehicles. It’s a design McDermott approves of.

“Oh, double thumbs up, yes,” he said.

But not all cyclists agree.

“So, he didn’t see me and by the time he started coming out I didn’t have enough time to swerve or stop and just kind of rolled over on top of his hood,” Craig Davis said.

Learn more about protected bike lanes

A few weeks back, Davis had nowhere to go while traveling north on the new bike path. He says a driver, coming out of East 18th Avenue, never looked in his direction.

It’s difficult for Davis to be mad, he says, because it’s an instinct.

“As soon as they see a gap, because they got lots of cars coming down, they want to shoot right out into that gap right away,” he said.

Aubree Roe has a similar story at the mouth of Summit Street and 14th Avenue.

“He just guns it straight across, so I tried to swerve to maybe avoid him,” she said. “I went straight into his driver’s side and my face just smacked on the ground. My glasses, they’d broken as I hit the ground and this piece here [ear piece] had looped through my eyebrow.”

Pictures show the cuts and bruises. Roe’s thankful the outcome wasn’t worse.

“If I didn’t have a helmet on, I would probably be dead,” she said.

It was the second time in about six months Roe had been hit while riding her bicycle. Both times were on Summit Street’s new bike path.

According to the city of Columbus, breaking bad habits like this is partly why the road was redesigned.

Scott Ulrich with Columbus Public Health says the street had safety problems with speeding and cyclists. So, when the opportunity came up during an urban paving program, last year, the city’s wheels started turning.

The city says the project, including redesigning the piece on Summit Street has been years in the making. With a total price tag about $7 million, tax payers foot the bill for about $1.4 million. The city says it did the redesigning process to make the road safer. But, already in 2016, there have been seven incident reports.

Davis didn’t report his incident. He says the matter was settled with cash on scene for a broken bicycle wheel. He and Roe believe accidents happen more than what’s reported. Roe says she personally sees an accident at least once a month.

It poses the question: How safe is the new design?

“I think that’s what we’re learning,” Ulrich said. “It’s a learning process.”

Ulrich says he’s confident Summit Street has the best bike infrastructure in the city. It offers, he says, what people want: Options.

James Young with the city’s Department of Public Service says the new road is a way to better accommodate everyone.

“It’s just us adapting to another movement, trying to provide more for different road users,” he said.

While the design is in its infancy and much has yet to be learned, the city believes what’s been done is better for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.

“I think we can call this a success,” Ulrich said. “It’s a success in progress.”

“To be honest, the first time I rode it, I was a little confused,” Catherine Girves said.

Girves is with Yay Bikes! It’s a non-profit organization that advocates for bike safety and education. She says the new design will take time for everyone to adjust.

“If you give it 15 minutes and you work with it, it becomes very pleasant,” she said.

The Ohio State Bar Association says bikes have the same right-of-way as any car, truck or bus driver. Roe welcomes more education, but also stresses common sense.

“When you hit me, you’re hitting me,” she said. “I just don’t want it to take until a couple people die from this before we actually educate people.”

Peddling an idea to stay alert, to follow the signs and to potentially save a life.