By Jeff Gallatin
Advocates of updating the bicycle riding laws in Bay Village will continue to try to get the city to approve allowing bicyclists to ride two abreast on Lake Road.
Several bicycle proponents advocated allowing two riders abreast on Lake Road when the proposed changes to city laws were discussed on first reading at the March 3 City Council meeting. Pat McGann and Lawrence Kuh, as well as Cleveland Bicycle Club officials, all spoke in favor of it. In the current proposals before council, the city would prohibit two-abreast riders, saying they should be riding in a single lane or file. They cite the narrowness of Lake Road and safety concerns.
Kuh said Friday the bicycle advocates will continue to seek approval of allowing riders to go two abreast on the road.
“It’s been shown in other communities and instances that having riders going two abreast on the road is safer,” he said. “That should be the case here.”
Kuh said they realize that is not what car and motor vehicle drivers want.
“Bicycle riders are also classified as vehicles on the road who have the same rights to be on the road as the other vehicles,” he said. “It’s a matter of educating the other drivers that they have these rights.”
Bay police Chief Mark Spaetzel, who told people at the meeting that he often rides his bike to work at the station from his home, said the proposed legislation only allows one rider for safety reasons.
“I get nervous about the motor vehicles when I’m on my bike, and I’m an experienced rider as well,” he said. “It’s a narrow road with just the two lanes, and we’re doing this for safety reasons.”
He said motor vehicle drivers often get frustrated and impatient while behind bike riders who can’t go as fast as the vehicles on the 35-mph roadway.
He and law Director Gary Ebert said the issue was studied thoroughly before the legislation came to council.
Kuh said the bicycle advocates understand the concerns, but maintain their data shows riding two abreast is safer.
“We do want to find the best way and other communities have found the best way is going two abreast,” he said.
Kuh said prohibiting riders two abreast also could create other unintended issues.
“Our understanding is that prohibiting it could keep Bay from being designated a bicycle-friendly community,” he said. “That in turn could keep us from getting grants related to this.”
He said overall, the group is happy with the proposed legislation.
“It’s pretty amazing that the city has got all this work done to update its bicycle laws and make it better,” he said. “It’s just the one point, but it’s a crucial one, so we will continue to pursue it.”