Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hailey eyes new rules for cycling

Crosswalk dismounting would be required


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

A cyclist rides through central Hailey last week. Photo by Roland Lane

At the request of Mayor Fritz Haemmerle, bicycling in Hailey could soon see increased regulation. 

A new ordinance presented Monday would require bikers to dismount before using crosswalks, use lights at night and signal turns at least 100 feet before an intersection. 

The ordinance, based on a similar one in Boise, would allow for biking on sidewalks as long as there’s no risk of a collision with pedestrians, and allow for riders to use entire traffic lanes as long as they’re not holding up traffic.

“I’m glad we would be allowed to ride on sidewalks,” said Councilwoman Carol Brown. “Especially where I ride to the Post Office.  I’m not about to get on the road there.”

The new law would prohibit riding without at least one hand on the handlebars, or with extra riders. Yet cyclists would not be required to come to a complete stop at stop signs. 

 “Complete stops have never been required under state code,” said Police Chief Jeff Gunter. 

Gunter said requiring  cyclists to dismount at crosswalks could save lives.

“It’s hard to use due caution when bikes are crossing a street, as can pedestrians,” he said. “Last year, two children were hit while riding their bikes in a crosswalk at Main and Cranbrooke Road. They were not transported to the hospital, fortunately. A pedestrian is moving slower than a bicycle and has the option to step backward from an automobile.”

Under the proposed new law, infractions could cost up to $100. 

The City Council will hold a public hearing in coming weeks to take comment on the proposed new ordinance.


In other Hailey news:

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle wrote a letter to Idaho Transportation Department District 4 representative Jim Kempton urging that he support continued grant funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The letter was in response to correspondence from the Boise-based Idaho Pedestrian and Bicycle Alliance, which noted that ITD has the option of distributing grants solely for road and bridge projects. According to the alliance, the Wood River Valley has received $2.8 million in “transportation enhancement” grants since 1997.


Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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