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The Grimes City Council has approved an ordinance prohibiting bicycle riders from a two-mile stretch on South James Street.

There was no discussion by council members on the item Tuesday night. Councilman Craig Patterson abstained because of a conflict of interest, and Tom Shatava voted against it.

Two members of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition were present for the final vote. No one commented to the council.

Mayor Tom Armstrong said the new ordinance puts Grimes in line with other metro-area communities.

“The big thing to keep in mind is that it’s a very small subset that we’re talking about and we’re doing it for safety reasons,” he said.

Cyclists have objected to the amendment, saying the change sets a precedent for other cities to remove bikes from the road in contradiction of Iowa law.

The city 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.”

Grimes resident Josh Jones, 36, an avid bicyclist, was also at the meeting.

The change “kind of creates confusion of who has rights to the road,” Jones said. “Rules like this create this misconception that we should be off the road.”

Jones has heard at bicycle forums a lot of discussion from people talking about boycotting Grimes businesses. He said he doesn’t necessarily agree with that.

“But we have to recognize that it’s out there and it’s an infringement on cyclists’ rights,” he said.

Armstrong said he thinks that facts about the ordinance have been skewed and that it’s important to remember it’s only a two-mile stretch of road.

No end date for the restriction was written into the amendment. The hope is to have it lifted when South James Street is expanded into a four-lane road, an upgrade that has not been scheduled.

South James Street becomes 128th Street in Urbandale.

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Are there any plans for a lawsuit? I know I won't be riding through Grimes while this ordinance is in place. What would the city do if that street was chosen for the RAGBRAI route?

#1 - ColnagoGeo posted Oct 10, 2012


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