By Brian Bearden, TSB Contributor
A few citizens have challenged McKinney’s city council members this week on the recently passed on-street cycling plan.
Marked cycling routes will soon be going up on city streets.
During the public comment section of the city council meeting Tuesday, resident Mike Giles said he is concerned about the potential for an increase in accidents.
He said opponents of the on-street bike plan believe the city should consider safety measures in addition to street signs such as having bikes inspected. He said that it is critical that the city require that bike brakes be checked.
He brought up the view of some opponents that bike riders should be required to take a riding test, much like the one required for a driver’s license to operate a vehicle.
He reminded the council on Tuesday that the roads were paid for and built for vehicles and suggested the council consider a fee to ride a bike on the street to help pay for the cost of the on-street cycling plan.
At the council meeting where the plan was approved, the city said it would spend $1.6 million to retrofit existing roads.
City staff said that when complete the on-street bike program would cost between $16 million and $17 million.
“They should not get to use them for free,” Giles said, adding that he knows the city council is holding the line on spending, but “Twenty million is a lot of money.”
Giles cited several anecdotal incidences he has spotted since the council vote where cyclist have been weaving on the road and creating dangerous driving conditions. He said he is concerned about an appearance of arrogance shown by cyclists toward drivers that could create safety problems on the roads.
On Thursday night, the on-street cycling plan was challenged by more citizens, who also expressed safety concerns for drivers of vehicles and cyclists because the bikes will be on the same road as cars and trucks without any barriers between the two.
Mayor Pro-Tem Travis Ussery told Thursday night’s gathering at the TownSquareBuzz.com Town Hall at the McKinney Performing Arts Center that the first step will be educating the vehicle drivers and cyclists by marking the routes with signs.
KidsHealth.org says “Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries, and at least 10,000 kids have injuries that require a few days in the hospital. Some of these injuries are so serious that children die, usually from head injuries.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009 the average age of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles was 41 years, up from 32 years in 1998, and 24 in 1988.
* 87 percent of those killed were male.
* 64 percent of those killed were between the ages of 25 and 64; 13 percent of those killed in 2008 were under age 16, down from 30 percent of those killed in 1998.
* The average age of bicyclists injured in crashes with motor vehicles was 31 years, up from 24 years in 1998.
* 80 percent of those injured were male.
* 51 percent of those injured were between the ages of 25 and 64; 20 percent of those injured were under age 16.
FORTY-ONE KILLED IN 2012 IN BRITAIN