Bicyclists' complaints about debris on bike paths, particularly those on or near the McTeer Bridge, should raise awareness of all that is being done in Beaufort County to make it a better place to ride.
The complaints also should demonstrate that this effort doesn't end with the construction of bike paths and other cycling amenities.
Debris will always accumulate on the roadside. Pathways will need occasional repair. Signs, websites and maps that showcase our trail systems will need updating.
These expenses shouldn't be bank-busters, and they almost certainly will be offset by the economic benefit that comes from enhancing our quality of life.
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This notion underpins the argument for the Town of Hilton Head Island's pursuit of a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists. It is implicit in downtown-redevelopment plans for the city of Beaufort and the town of Port Royal. It is explicit in the public and private work to convert a section of old railroad right-of-way into a 20-mile recreational path stretching from Port Royal to the Whale Branch River.
However, it matters little how many miles of trail we build if we cannot keep nails out of cyclists' tires. The pathways will be fully used only if they are safe and attractive.
So it is good to hear a state Department of Transportation representative say sweepers were to hit state-owned roads in northern Beaufort County this week to clean up problem areas.
It also is encouraging that the county and the contractor building the new McTeer span -- which is technically still under construction and thus not yet under state control -- have pledged to keep an eye out for problems on the bike paths.
Keeping trails and paths fit for riding also is the responsibility of every private citizen, whether they are avid bikers or not.
As local cyclist Joe DeVito said recently: "We could never ask our DOT to keep the roads completely clean. It's the responsibility of the people who drive over them."