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Cycling Group Heads To City Council Meeting

August 5, 2014, 8:45 AM by Kathleen Serie

Cycling Group Heads To City Council Meeting

Bike safety has been a hot topic of discussion in Sioux Falls recently, following a series of car bicycle crashes in the city.

Now, members of the Falls Area Bicyclists club are hoping to spark discussion on the topic during the public input portion of tonight's city council meeting. Michael Christensen is a member of Falls Area Bicyclists, and he says residents deserve to feel safe in Sioux Falls, whether they're walking or biking.

"There are people in the community who can't and don't own cars, and they don't deserve to have the conflicts that they have when they're trying to get to their work, when they're trying to ride to work, when they're trying to walk to work," Christensen said.

One of the solutions Christensen plans to present to the city council is increasing the number of citations given to both motorists and cyclists for unsafe practices, such as bikes crossing streets through red lights or cars not stopping before going through an area of sidewalk.

Chris Parsley is president of Falls Area Bicyclists, and an improvement he wants to see is the addition of a position of bicycle and pedestrian planner to the city.

"Those are people that would be on hand when the city's doing a project, say re-doing Minnesota Avenue for example. That person would be consulted before that project was approved to make sure that there were proper facilities for bicycles and pedestrians," Parsley said.

He also wants to educate the public on safe biking practices.

"Being in the street is where drivers are looking, and that's the safest place to ride if you're riding at those speeds. If you want to ride on the sidewalk and be safe, you have to ride at pedestrian speeds, so walking pace," Parsley said.

When it comes to bike safety, city councilman Greg Jamison says it's a matter of drivers and cyclists understanding how the other is thinking on the road.

"I think if everybody understood what the other is supposed to be doing, we would be a lot safer. And so, how do you get there? And I think education is one of those ways," city councilman Greg Jamison said.

Jamison says he feels the city can do a better job of making roads safe for cyclists. He says the public can look forward to bike safety being an official point on the council's agenda in the future.

The city council meeting takes place at Carnegie Town Hall tonight at 7p.m.

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