Simply said, we’re an active community, and it’s safer. On these larger roads, we’ve got to start thinking about more than just vehicles. There are pedestrians and bicyclists to think about. Whether motorists like these other users on that road or not, is irrelevant, these other users are on the road, and we need to safely provide access for all users.
On-street bicycle lanes are proposed preliminary design from University to Fifth streets along Jackson Boulevard, which would be the first in Spearfish. After the first 2 rounds of public comment bike lanes were originally proposed from University to 11th streets, which have since been cut back to University to Fifth streets.
Bicycle Lane Pros
The “pros” of protected bicycle lanes include:
- Bicycle commuters often travel at speeds of 15 to 20 miles per hour, which is not safe on a sidewalk.
- Increased bicycle safety, reducing injury per bike trip
- Increased buffering between bicycles and vehicles
- Increased community connectivity
- Increased on-street bicycle use
- Spearfish is host to over 500 mountain bikers (and their families) from across the country every year for the Dakota-Five-O race.
Bicycle Lane Cons
The “cons” of protected bicycle lanes include:
- Increased maintenance, uncertainty about how the lanes would be maintained in the wintertime. The City will develop a snow removal plan for the bike lanes prior to completion of construction. A likely scenario is that they will be used for snow storage for a number of days after a snow storm until it is convenient to remove the snow. Removing the snow from the bicycle lanes on the same schedule as the street may be necessary if/when on-street bicycle use increases to a point that it justifies the additional expense.
- No existing use data; since these would be a first for Spearfish, there is uncertainty about how much use they would get, as there is no existing on-street bicycle data for comparison.