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Published: Sunday, 7/13/2014 - Updated: 4 months ago

Bike enthusiasts urge Perrysburg to create bike lanes along roads

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dick Currie, front, and other riders go past Perrysburg Junior High School on East South Boundary, where there are no bike lanes..  Dick Currie, front, and other riders go past Perrysburg Junior High School on East South Boundary, where there are no bike lanes..
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Perrysburg bicyclist Dick Currie wants his community to become more bike friendly.

The 81-year old resident steps outside his South Boundary Street home and wants to have bike lanes for safer riding for those on two wheels. He urges the city officials, when planning road improvements, to include in those plans a few feet for bike lanes.

“I‘‍ve lived here for 44 years and for the last four to six years trying to work with the city council (about biking),” he said. “They seemed to have little interest until now.”

Perrysburg resident Chuck Kiskaddon said, “Perrysburg is a really good town for riding around, generally the speed is 25 but there is a lack of connection to the bike trails. It is a great place to ride, but bicyclists don‘‍t feel comfortable riding on some of the roads. The bike lanes sound like a good idea.”

Mayor Mike Olmstead doesn‘‍t want to form a biking committee to advise the city, but suggested bike advocates to go to the Citizens Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

“I want people to be able to get around the city in all forms of transportation, we‘‍re in agreement with that,” he said. “To speculate if it is a bike lane or path, it is not easy to answer that yet. Whatever we do, we need the total concept of what we want our community to be.”

There are bike lanes on State Rt. 25 across the Maumee Bridge and on Indiana Avenue to Fort Meigs.

Mr. Currie has made pitches during council, met with city administration, and wants his biking voice heard. For starters, he thinks that bike lanes are possible to be marked on the sides of the existing pavement on Louisiana and Indiana avenues.  He like biking routes to connect the downtown town to Perrysburg High School as well as along the the boundary streets.

To achieve that, he said, would take a mindset change for the city. 

“Manly whenever streets are being improved, that’‍s when you have to put the lanes in,” Mr. Currie said. “It is too expensive and hard to do after sewers and curbs are already in.”

In a recent council meeting. Mr. Kiskaddon asked why the State Rt. 25 and Eckel Junction Road improvements didn‘‍t include bike lanes. The administration said it wasn’‍t considered. Mr. Currie has pleaded to form a committee to represent the biking community.

Bike safety is a concern for those advocating for the bike lanes and paths. 

There have been a few biking accidents recently in Perrysburg, most have to do with children biking on sidewalks and going through crosswalks without looking for vehicles.

“A popular misconception is it is safer to ride on the sidewalk, but in fact it is the opposite,” said Kelly Chalfant, Perrysburg police officer. “On sidewalks people don’‍t stop for intersections. With Perrysburg‘‍s wide right of ways, motorists ahead are not always looking all the way to the sidewalks. Runners or bicyclists are more visible on the roadway to them.”

Mr. Chalfant said bikers should be as close to the edge of the road as reasonable, and said children not skilled on a bike shouldn’‍t ride in the street. Another Perrysburg issue, he said, is when bicyclists on West River Road ride side by side, taking up a chunk roadway, and cyclists aren‘‍t supposed to be more than two side by side.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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