Bike-stenciling event aims to improve safety for cyclists
PRESCOTT - On her daily bicycle commute on the streets of Prescott, Carin LeFevre takes note of what is safe and what is not.
For her and other cyclists, the faded or sometimes non-existent bike stencils that border the streets to let people know the location of bike lanes made the list of not-so-safe features.
So it was a natural for LeFevre to turn out for a volunteer event Sunday that aimed to brighten up the bike symbols along several of Prescott's streets.
"I am a bicycle enthusiast, and I commute as well," LeFevre said as she put the finishing touches on one of the bike symbols along Willow Creek Road. "The streets of Prescott are safer than some of the places I've ridden, but there is still a lot of work to be done."
About a dozen volunteers turned out for the Prescott Alternative Transportation-sponsored bike-stenciling event.
Lisa Barnes, director of PAT, explained that the idea for the event arose at a Prescott Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, during which city engineering officials indicated that while the bike symbols needed repainting, dwindling revenue had placed that job on the back burner.
That led bike advocates to volunteer to do the work, if the city would provide the stencils and paint.
Doug Kraemer, traffic-engineering technician for the city, was on hand Sunday to instruct the volunteers on the details of street stenciling.
He explained that the symbols should appear in bike lanes about every 600 feet, and they should be especially visible at intersections, as vehicles enter a new street.
The three main areas that volunteers visited on Sunday included Willow Creek Road, Smoketree Lane, and Prescott Lakes Parkway.
For Derek Brownlee, a regular Prescott cyclist who was among the volunteers who gathered Sunday, the bike symbols are an important way of defining the lanes for both cyclists and drivers.
Barnes added that the symbols can serve as a reminder to bicyclists to stay in the streets, "where they are supposed to be, and not on the sidewalks."
The bike-stenciling event was just one of dozens of activities currently under way for the annual Bike Month, which runs from mid-April to May 15.
So far, Barnes said, a number of events have been popular with local cyclists. For instance, she mentioned Friday's "Family-friendly community bike ride" through the downtown area, which attracted about 25 adults and children.
Several of the activities still to come include:
April 29 - "Walk and Roll Wednesday," when kids walk or ride their bikes to school, and parents join in.
May 2 - 9:30 a.m., Mountain bike ride in Emmanuel Pines and Granite Basin. Meet at the corner of Iron Springs Road and Granite Basin turnoff.
May 9 - Hike, bike, horse team relay, presented by Yavapai Trails Association, in celebration of National Trails Day at the Pioneer Park Brownlow Trail. Registration runs from 8 to 9 a.m.
May 15 - 7 a.m., Ride to Work with the Mayor. Participants should meet at the old Fry's shopping center on W. Gurley Street, for a group ride to the downtown area.
A complete list of Bike Month events is available online at www.PrescottAlternativeTransportation.org.