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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:51 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

Debate: Should taxpayers pay for bike trails? - Pro

Bicycle lanes. They're an old topic that brings out plenty of debate.

Drivers believe bike riders are unsafe and do not follow the rules of the road. As a result, many people say that bicyclists should not be legal without bike lanes.

Other critics think bicyclists don't pay enough licensing fees or taxes to give them a portion of the road to call their own.

The problem is, "bicyclists" come in many shapes and sizes: children riding to school; people working to lose weight, become healthier or just get some exercise; and those commuting to work or the store to save the environment or to save some money - or because they have no money.

I think you get the point that anyone can be a bicyclist.

As for the need for bike lanes, let's take a few contrarian views of the argument, some of which I have modified from a Talk of the Town by Sue Knaup, executive director of One Street, an international bicycle advocacy organization.

As a bicycle rider, I do not make the driver of a car:

• Wear certain clothes or gear;

• Adhere to traffic laws even if the current street design prevents them from safely doing so;

• Prove their need for a car; or,

• Prove that they can carry things in or on their cars.

We do not do those things to drivers, but such requirements for bicyclists are common complaints or suggestions.

Further, car drivers get a 25-year license. Considering how horrible drivers are around here - many can't stay within 10 mph of the speed limit around a photo enforcement camera - we can see that the state failed in its licensing or was merely saving money.

As Knaup said, critics cite "accounts of cyclists misbehaving as reasons not to provide for them. When was the last time a roadway project for the safety of car drivers stopped because of driver behavior?"

What the majority of the residents and the Prescott City Council does not "get" is that bicycle lanes actually improve traffic flow and the safety of motorists.