The Perryville Board of Aldermen made quick work of the first meeting of the year. Although, there was one item on the agenda that brought out a lot of discussion. The board discussed at length a measure that would allow bicycles to be ridden outside the Downtown Square.
It was recently pointed out to city staff the absolute prohibition of bicycles on sidewalks is probably outdated and should be reconsidered. Major Bill Jones and the Police Department researched this matter and proposed several changes, which have been identified. If approved, bicycles on sidewalks would be allowed outside of the Downtown Square. According to Perryville City Administrator Brent Buerck, this seems to be a logical step and will help ensure bicyclist safety, particularly for the younger children. Perryville Assistant Police Chief Bill Jones echoed the same sentiment.
“The way the ordinance reads now there is no riding bicycles on sidewalks,” Jones said. “That’s good in a way and bad in a way as well. Some of these streets like Edgemont which are busier that have a lot of traffic, I would like to see the kids and young adults riding on the sidewalk than on the street.”
Jones noted that with a busier street, there is more likelihood of accidents involving bike riders.
“To me it’s very dangerous for bikes on the street,” Jones said. “As long as the bike riders follow the rules and the recommended ordinance which is that they would yield to a pedestrian on the sidewalk. As long as that is not abused, it keeps everyone safe.”
Right now, in the city ordinances in Chapter 10.36.060, it is stated that “No person shall operate a bicycle on any sidewalks within the city.”
Brent Buerck noted that a change in any ordinance would not be mandatory, but a recommendation.
There was some push back from several aldermen, including Curt Buerck. “Some people, especially kids are not going to know to alert older people on the sidewalk. I understand the safety, but what if someone doesn’t stop their bike to allow an older person to walk by. They would have to step off the sidewalk and what if they break a hip.”
Curt Buerck and Clint Rice, who noted that he rides a bike regularly, said that there should be an age limit for those who ride on the sidewalk as opposed to those who ride in the street, which is where bikes are allowed to ride as of now.
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