Council Approves Bike Ordinance

By Rachel Martin

September 4, 2012 Updated Sep 5, 2012 at 7:41 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Did you know there must be at least three feet between you and a cyclist when passing one on the road? Changes like these were approved by Fort Wayne City Council Tuesday night.

The amendments to the city’s bicycle laws all part of an initiative to revise Fort Wayne's bike ordinances. These changes are to ensure the safety of anyone that uses the road, including both drivers and cyclists.

That's why Mayor Tom Henry, City Council and the Bike Fort Wayne task force are revamping city laws so they're more understandable and enforceable by all who use the road.

Several reasons, like outdated laws and new infrastructure and roads, spurred the extra attention to the ordinance. Council and task force members say the biggest reason is the increase in cyclists on the roads.

Fort Wayne is already considered a Bronze level bike-friendly city, but the goal is to upgrade its status to Silver or Gold. Several changes, like clarifying who is allowed in the bike lane and who has the right of way were repealed and approved Tuesday night.

Local cyclists at Tuesday night’s meeting say they're happy with the changes, but have a friendly reminder to drivers.

“Bikes are just another type of vehicle that they should expect to see in traffic in Fort Wayne and I want for drivers of cars to understand that we are also vehicles,” said Melissa Renner, who’s been commuting to work on her bike for the past three years.

Currently bikes are allowed on sidewalks, but State and City law recognizes them as vehicles.

City Council gave its preliminary approval Tuesday and is expected to give its final approval at their meeting next week. The ordinance will take effect as soon as Mayor Henry signs it into law. Council members say with the recent changes to their local laws, as well as updates to bike laws in Bloomington, South Bend and Indianapolis, they hope the State will revise their laws, which council says also need updating.

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