Troy aims to be more bike friendly

Published 8:07 pm Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Troy City Council approved an ordinance on bicycle safety highlighting ‘share the road policies’ during their meeting on June 24. The ordinance follows the establishment of a suggested bike route through the City.

“Bicycle projects and programs inspire the use of alternative means of transportation which support active transportation, healthy lifestyles, and a healthy environment,” Planning and Zoning Administrator Melissa Sanders said. “Bicycle transportation also provides mobility to individuals who may not own or operate motor vehicles.”

The safety ordinance includes rules for passing bicyclists, including a ‘three feet rule’, stating that a driver must leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle until the bike has been safely overtaken. It also includes a section governing the speed at which a person can ride a bike—“no person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.”

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Troy resident and professor at Troy University Greg Skaggs said he has concerns about the bike route, but thinks it is a step in the right direction.

“I’m anxious to see specified bike paths, but routes are a great start for Troy,” Skaggs said. “I still have a little hesitation using the bike routes, but the more people use it and share the road, it will create an awareness.”

Sanders said that the planned bike route will include “share the road” signs, which the City is currently working towards installing.

“Just because there will be signs on the street doesn’t mean everything will be perfect,” Sanders said. “It’s the bicyclist’s responsibility to stay safe at all times. Regardless of signage, you need to be alert—safety is key. Bike riders have the same rights, privileges and duties of car drivers.”

The bike safety ordinance includes a section specifying that the historic downtown area’s sidewalks cannot be used by bicyclists, for safety of pedestrians and bicyclists according to Sanders.

Skaggs believes the new bike route and safety guidelines might attract a demographic of people interested in a healthy lifestyle, but hopes that the project will expand to designated bike lanes.

“That would be a huge visible step to reach that specified group within the community,” Skaggs said. “I’m proud about living in Troy.”