On Friday Nov. 16 it was proposed at the Sioux City Council meeting the re-establishment of old bike routes, addition of new bike routes and adding bike lanes to Sioux City's streets. What was not part of the proposal is a change in ordinances. In other cities when bike lanes are added the city government tends to take a knee jerk reaction and pass an ordinance that states the bike lane users cannot exit the bike lane and use the travel lane. The bike lane design is also poor because the lanes are often in the door zone of parked vehicles.
I am not saying this is a bad idea. But I am concerned about what will happen based on what has happened in other cities when things like this are done, without a proactive approach to the laws and ordinances that govern all roadways users.
Here is the article in the Sioux City Journal:
Coming Soon: Bike Lanes in Sioux City
Here is the agenda from the Nov. 16 meeting with letters of support from the organizations regarding this matter:
Notice of Meeting of the City Council of City of Sioux City, Iowa
Here are the proposed changes I have presented to 3 of the organizations and an attorney friend of mine regarding changes to the current city ordinances:
1. The bike lanes should only happen if: there is no parking lane
between the bike lane and the curb, OR the bike lane is far enough away
from the parking lane so the bike lane users are not doored by someone
opening a car door on the drivers side. OR if a city ordinance is passed
that when a cyclist is doored the person who opened the car door is hit
with a hefty fine and punishment.
2. A city ordinance shall not
be passed restricting cyclists to the bike lane as to prevent them from
exiting the bike lane to avoid being doored or other objects blocking
their path or enabling cyclists from continuing safely in the bike lane.
This would only apply if
the city does not eliminate the parking lane next to the bike lane or if
there is not enough space to place the bike lane far enough from the
parking lane where people exiting motor vehicles open the doors into the
3. An ordinance shall be passed preventing motor vehicles from using the bike lanes as passing lanes, turn lanes, etc.
When bike lanes are next to, adjacent to or parallel to or approach
right turn lanes the bike lane should terminate, temporarily for
cyclists who are going to proceed straight through the intersection,
then continue from the other side of the intersection. Thus allowing the
cyclist enough time to merge into the travel lane until after crossing
through the intersection safely. The bike lanes
shall not be used as right turn lanes. There also shall be enough
signage to make it clear to both cyclists and motorists of this.
5. Bike lanes shall not be used as parking lanes for motor vehicles.
6. Bike lanes shall not be used as parking lanes for bicycles.
Cyclists shall not be allowed to stop in a bike lane, unless for
traffic control device, at the request of a law enforcement offices or
anything else out of the ordinary that would impede a cyclists movement
in the bike lane. In other words they cannot stop to sit and chat with
their other cyclist friends or even to fix a flat tire. If they want to
do that they shall move off of the bike lane/roadway.
8. A safe
passing distance ordinance shall be passed for within Sioux City city
limits where no motorists shall pass a cyclist at a distance of no more
than 3 feet. The punishment shall be when/if a motorist collides with a
cyclist and is at fault for the incident the motorist shall be have a
high fine imposed and even jail time as a punishment.
9. The current ordinance that states cyclists shall use the side path or trail when it parallels a roadway shall be terminated.
example the path along Larsen Rd. This law is in violation of state law
that allows all cyclists equal rights to the roadways as motorists,
except where bicycles are prohibited because of the minimum speed limit
requirement, such as Interstate 29.
10. A cyclist anti-harassment law shall be passed.
Where when a motorist harasses a cyclist a high fine and possible jail
time shall be imposed as punishment especially if the harassment caused
the cyclist to crash and suffer injuries as a result. This would also
apply to objects being thrown at a cyclist from someone in a motor
It is unknown at this time if such changes will be made or if they will even be brought before the city council. I am going to contact a council member to find out if this matter will be discussed at future council meetings.