A working group of bicyclists and advocates is exploring the possibility of creating bike paths in Harpswell and welcomes new members to join the effort.

Harpswell Selectman David Chipman referenced the group during a Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Sept. 1. Chipman said that he organized the group before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chipman invites anyone who wants to join the group to contact him at 207-721-1522 or medistrict19@yahoo.com. He described it as an independent group, not a town committee. The group includes Harpswell bicyclists and representation from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

The bicyclists “are really looking at getting off the darn road,” Chipman said. “It’s dangerous.” 

In a phone interview, Chipman recalled a serious crash some years ago, when a car hit a tandem bicycle just south of the town line on Harpswell Neck Road.

“We really need to do something,” he remembers thinking. He recruited four like-minded residents, but the pandemic derailed their efforts.

Chipman particularly wants to examine the possibilities of off-road bike paths in locations like Mountain Road, which has a 200-foot-wide right of way; and the section of Harpswell Neck Road between the town line and Harpswell Center.

The paths could run parallel to those roads and make use of side roads. For example, a path alongside Harpswell Neck Road could follow Peabody Road. Chipman thinks grant funds are available to help build the paths.

Chipman drives his own bike to Brunswick when he wants to ride. “I don’t dare to ride it on 123,” he said.

“There should be a way to ride to Brunswick on your bike without worrying about it,” he added.