• Wed September 12 2012
  • Posted Sep 12, 2012

Grimes City Council took steps Tuesday night to approve the proposed bicycle ordinance, which would temporarily restrict bikers from a two-mile stretch of road.

Mayor Tom Armstrong said that the council is in the process of rewriting the city’s bike ordinance so it is in line with other metro communities.

“Like all cities, you make tweaks to fit our specific city, and that’s what we’re doing,” Armstrong said.

The second reading of the ordinance passed with councilman Craig Patterson abstaining. Councilman Tom Shatava was not present. The ordinance will move to a third and final reading at the next council meeting, Sept. 25.

The issue cyclists have is that the change sets a precedent for other cities to remove bikes from the road, which is against Iowa code.

The proposed amendment states: “whenever a useable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway known as South James Street from south sports complex to the south city limits of Grimes.”

The ordinance is not trying to outlaw bicycles from streets throughout the city, the mayor said. Officials just want bicyclists off a short section of street for safety reasons.

Armstrong said the language in the ordinance is within the city’s legal limits.

“Us asking the cyclists to ride on the trail is very similar to Des Moines asking cyclists to ride in the bike lanes on Ingersoll,” the mayor said.

No specific date for ending the restriction was written into the proposed ordinance. The hope is to have it lifted when South James Street is expanded into a four-lane road.

The expansion of the road is driven by its development, Armstrong said, which is part of the city’s transportation plan. It will be part of the developer’s responsibilities to widen the road on a particular development.

“We don’t know if there is someone who’s going to come and want to develop that land in the next two years or 10 years,” he said.


The Iowa Bicycle Coalition and BIKEIOWA are working to show that this ordinance is illegal and a bad move for the city and for bicyclist's rights. More to come...







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