Letter to the Editor

Bike safety

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

I see that the Spencer City Council is considering a model bicycle ordinance that would have as one of its goals creating "awareness about bike safety. From the wording in the Oct. 15 Daily Reporter story on this matter, consideration is being given to require lamps on bikes, as well as clarifying how riders are to conduct themselves on city streets. All well and good, as there is plenty of traffic on Grand Avenue that makes bike riding more than just a simple matter. I hope the council also considers these other matters, as outlined below.

The increase in adult riders zipping across intersections, or worse yet, riding on the downtown sidewalks, is cause for concern. Years ago, the city of Spencer installed signs on both sides of Grand Avenue (through the downtown) clearly prohibiting bicycles, skateboards and other wheeled conveyances. My impression is that there are riders who prefer the sidewalk over the street. I can see their point: I'd rather take my chances with a pedestrian over how I'd fare with a semitruck any day. Only thing is, the bike is to be ridden on the roadway, in a safe manner, just as autos, trucks and other motorized vehicles are to be operated. Wearing dark clothing, having no back or front light, and riding while texting put riders at great risk, not to mention pedestrians and motorists. Why tempt fate?

Education of riders is not limited to preschoolers and other youngsters. Adults would do well to observe the law, be courteous and watch out for people exiting downtown stores. It only makes good common sense! Staying in your own lane has many applications.

Bill Kersting, Spencer