Gates added to Park City pathways to make bicycling safer for riders
With more bicyclists hitting the pathways in Park City, the municipality recently installed crossing gates to increase safety at several locations.
Two recent additions are along S.R. 224, on the McLeod Creek trail where it crosses Meadows Drive and on the McPolin Farm trail at Meadows Drive on the other side of the state highway.
The gates are designed to slow down riders by making them weave through a chicane as they approach a stop sign at an intersection where the pathways cross a roadway. After stopping, bicyclists can ride across the road when it’s safe.
The speed reduction gives bicyclists and motorists time to see each other and adjust accordingly, Heinrich Deters, Park City trails and open space program manager, said.
“People were basically just blowing through these stop signs,” he said.
In some places, such as parts of California, riders are asked to dismount at higher-traffic crossings and walk across the street, but that “is a little much,” Deters said.
“We want to encourage people to bike instead of drive a car, but we also want to make sure we have a balance of safety implementation so it’s not too onerous,” he said. “Asking people to stop at roadway crossings is just a prudent safety measure and this helps.”
The increase of people on the paths and the jump in the number who ride bicycles prompted city staffers to research ways to enhance safety. The majority of riders are on bicycles powered by electricity, or e-bikes, according to Deters.
Under Park City code, e-bikes are allowed on soft-surface trails more than five feet wide and all paved multi-use paths.
Tim Bochnowski, co-founder of the Stay Park City Cycling club and owner of Mountain Velo bike shop and service center, said the growth of Utah’s population has led to more vehicles on the streets and more accidents.
“With so many people getting hit on their bikes on the roads, having these paths is very important,” as well as making sure the intersections are safe for cyclists to cross, he said.
Bochnowski also said he would want the crossing gates to be lighted at night so bicyclists don’t ride into them in the dark.
The Mountain Trails Foundation works with the city during peak cycling and walking season to raise awareness about path etiquette and safety. Rules include complying with a 15 mph speed limit on multi-use paths, keeping right and passing left and giving an audible alert before passing.
Park City plans to add gates, striping and signs as safety measures, according to a post on the municipal Facebook page.
“When using the trails and pathways, please remember to practice ten seconds of kindness, slow down, make eye contact, say hello, and obey regulations and signage,” the post says.
Summit County Clerk Evelyn Furse said ballots are expected to be mailed on Oct. 18 and should arrive later that week.
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