A new sign posted along a popular Iowa bike trailaimedto assuage confusion and promote safety.

But its verbiage caused some controversy for cyclists and motorists.

"Do not stop for bikes on trail," the sign shouts, in all capital letters, to Highway 17 motorists at theHigh TrestleTrail crossing in Madrid.

A flurry of cyclists reactedon social media.One tongue-in-cheek commentin aHigh TrestleFacebook groupsaid the sign was a pass for motorists to hit bikers. Others defended the message that drivers should continue on while bikers wait for their opening.

Madrid Mayor Tom Brown did not respond to requests for comment. A cyclist himself, Brown said in astatement to KCCIthat"safety was our only concern, especially given the increased trail usage expected over the 4th of July weekend and an equally high traffic level expected on Highway 17.

"Motorists, bikers and pedestrians seem to be equally confused about who is supposed to stop, and that can result in a bad situation."

Iowa Bicycle Coalition board member Kay Snopek— though she said her comments Thursday do not reflect thoseof the coalition— said the sign places all the responsibility on bikers.

Snopek, of Boone, was an avid biker up until herhusband, Mark, was fatally struck in 2007while cycling by a hit-and-run driver who wasnever identified. She gave up riding along roads after the accident, she said, and it fueled her bike safety advocacy.

"My life has been impacted greatly by bicycling here in Iowa," Snopek said. "All vehicles need to be more mindful of bicyclists."

When she does ride, Snopek takes the trails, but even there she sees the dangers.

"Trail biking has become my thing," Snopek said. "But trails cross roads."

Those involved in discussions about the Madrid crossing, she said,"need to make driversmore empatheticabout their driving... Iam not a perfect bicyclist or a perfect driver, but I really truly have become a very aware driver, and I try to be mindful and slow down."

Iowa Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Mark Wyatt said the coalition members reached out to Madrid officials to offer help in improvingthe intersection.

The High TrestleTrail crosses Highway 17, or South Kennedy Avenue, south of Third Street near the Flat Tire Lounge and is about a 3-mile ridefrom the iconic High Trestle Trail Bridge.A stop sign at the crossing already signals for cyclists to hit the brakes before the two-lane highway, but some roll through.

According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, there have been no car-bicycle accidentsat the crossing with available data going back to 2011.Sixty-three cyclists have been killed in roadway accidents in the state in the last decade, according to the Iowa DOT.

The bottom of the Madrid sign reads"321.354 Iowa Law," a section in the code that dictates drivers must not stop a vehicle "upon any highway outside of a business district, rural residence district, or residence district."

There is no crosswalk at the intersection, giving drivers the right of way.






Sounds like Madrid is unfriendly to cyclists.

So I'll refrain from stopping there to spend money in any establishment. Bars, restaurants, gasoline, etc.

I recommend everyone else do the same.

#1 - mculbert posted Jul 19, 2021

Leave a Comment

You must be signed in to leave a comment.