The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 15, 2010

Town adopts policy for bicycle arrows on roads

The Selectmen on January 12 unanimously accepted guidelines presented by Deb Belanger, chair of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee (a.k.a. the Pathways Committee.) for groups or individuals marking bicycle routes in town. Examples of groups who might be affected include bike clubs and charity groups organizing bike events. Those wishing to mark a route in town should notify the Carlisle Police Department and can obtain the single-page copy of the guidelines there. At this point, the board intends to take an informational approach to cyclists.

Belanger provided background to the issue by reporting a growing perception in town regarding bike routes that there’s “a lot more paint going down on pavement.” As a result, the Police Department, cycling groups and residents got involved. The advisory committee felt it necessary to respond with some basic guidelines, and led two meetings to discuss the issue. Selectmen Chair Tim Hult commented that only in Carlisle could such a seemingly small issue result in “lots of viewpoints and a very robust discussion.”

Resident Mike Hanauer, 200 Long Ridge Road, provided input as former president of the Charles River Wheelmen, a social bicycle-riding club with over 1,200 members. In fact, the town’s final guidelines are a subset of the club’s documentation and govern the color, size, and placement of the markings allowed on Carlisle streets. These include:

• Size - no larger than 8” x 12”

• Color - white or yellow (black to correct mistakes)

• Placement – 12” – 24” from the edge of the road (not in front of private driveways)

The guidelines address the frequency of the markings (one-mile intervals on long stretches), and specific instructions for the more complex marking of turns and intersections. Belanger noted that the intent is to make bicycling safe but not “see roads a maze of paint.” She did add that the paint marking a bike route is not permanent and only lasts a season.

Selectman John Williams noted that the police should remind bikers who request the policy of the necessity to ride single file on the town’s narrow country roads. While it may be somewhat burdensome for bikers to go to the Police Department for the policy (rather than accessing it on the Internet), the Selectmen felt the benefits to the town of knowing what groups were riding through and what events were taking place outweighed the inconvenience to cyclists. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito