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  • Mon August 27 2012
  • Posted Aug 30, 2012
THANKS to all those who sent comments to the Grimes City Council members. It DID make a difference. They know this issue is important to cyclists

A BIGGER THANKS to those who showed to the City Council meeting.

THE ISSUE

An ordinance was proposed to ban cyclists from riding the road when there was a trail running parallel. Iowa code states cyclists can legally ride the roadways. After discussions ensued, the Council only wanted to ban cyclists from riding a two mile stretch of James Street.
James Street is the main (and only) road heading south out of Grimes except for hwy 141. It is a very narrow (26 foot) curbed roadway. It carries 5000+ cars a day and is very busy during the rush hours.

Previous News

THE MEETING

I believe there were 12 cyclists in total including Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Four cyclists lived in Grimes, so that made a difference too.

Seven cyclists spoke to the Council. Some of the comments included:

  • it's illegal to override Iowa Code 321.234 which gives cyclists the right to ride on Iowa's roadways
  • 99% of the time I take the trail, but there are times when traffic is low and I have a tailwind, I will take the road
  • We ride the road sometimes on Saturday morning group rides. It is safer.
  • At certain times during the year there is too much debris on the trail to safely ride it.
  • It was pointed out that Grimes has done a GREAT job with their trails systems and there is adequate signage already starting to "Cyclists, please use the trail".
  • I feel that motorists would think bicyclists were banned from riding the roadways elsewhere thus causing more road-rage and possibly more accidents.
  • If cars being backed up on James street from (slow moving) bicyclists was the issue, have you thought about left turning cars that have to stop traffic? Farm vehicles? Both these occur more time in a day that a cyclist on the road.
  • Turning cars don't see me on the trail. I feel safer on the road.
The cyclists explained that there was a massive effort in place to adopt a uniform set of bicycle ordinance that would be the same for all Central Iowa Communities. Having consistent ordinances eliminates confusion.

Questions were asked what caused this proposal? Was it cyclists riding the road during busy times? did someone get into an accident? Motorist complaints? or is this all just precautionary measures?
We did not get an answer on this, but hope to in the next City Council meeting.


Plus, Grimes does not have a Police Department. Polk County is the law in town. So this would mean that the police officers would have to know that cycling is illegal in the Grimes city limits for a two mile stretch of road.
You can all see where the confusion for all would occur.


COUNCIL COMMENTS


The Grimes City Council members explained they were not banning bicyclists in the entire city, just for two miles of Trail heading south on James Street. They want cyclists to be safe.

They thank everyone for their email correspondence and for all of us showing up to the meeting.

They said we brought up a lot of good comments that they will take into consideration before the next meeting.


NEXT STEP

Tuesday, Sept 11th is the next Grime City Council meeting.

This ordinance will be brought up again as a first reading, so we'll ask for cyclists to show up again.

Stay tuned for more info.


Des Moines Register meeting recap


Are YOU attending City Council meetings in your community? We'd love to hear follow-ups when bicycling related topics are discussed.

  • Author: ss
  • Posted By: ss

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