Trails in Indiana

Indianapolis City Council Enacts New Bike Safety Rules

The Indianapolis City County Council voted on Nov 30 to expand the Indianapolis community availability to a safer alternative transportation.

The new Ordinance, 416, 2009, provides that drivers or operators of any motor vehicle will yield the right-of-way access to any cyclist on a sidewalk, limits the use of bike paths or lanes to cyclists, excepting turns, and makes blocking bike paths or lanes illegal as well.
Says Kim Irwin, Health by Design, an initiative of the Alliance for Health Promotion, “This will increase safety for both cyclist and pedestrians. The community will have to become increasingly aware of each other. This is a step in the right direction.”
Especially those who haven’t bicycled for a long time, folks really don’t feel safe out on the streets where they’re going, without being behind the wheel, surrounded by a ton of steel.
If it weren’t for the fact that this mode of transport required oil and gas
and maintenance and licenses and insurance, you might say, “So what?”
Also, as times change, maybe walking and “pedaling steel” will make people’s lives happier as well as healthier.
The National Complete Streets Coalition notes that while it remains unnecessarily dangerous for pedestrians to walk (and cyclists to bike), health experts say that not walking (or biking) could prove hazardous to your health.
Faced with mounting concerns over obesity, walking (or biking), might provide a partial solution to the problem.
A article from the Nov 17 Washington Post states that some physicians have started prescribing hiking or walking in order to prevent or treat health problems ranging from heart disease to attention deficit disorder. “I’ve never known a ranch kid on Ritalin”, quoting Rick Potts, the National Park Service chief of conservation, who comes from rural Montana.
It will also help if gas and oil prices rise.
So what does this have to do with a new city ordinance?
Since 1960, street designs have catered to motorized traffic, much to the exclusion of pedestrians and cyclists. New bike lanes like those on Michigan and New York streets allow for more users-of-all-types, and new laws will help protect non motorized travelers, necessary to making biking and walking more acceptable and safe.
It may take a while to make walking and biking something people consider every time they go out, but this will help in enabling people to open up to the idea.
(The ordinance passed with the wording as indicated by the following copy from the City County Council.)