Kansas law provides a three-foot wide passing distance for bicyclists. Tuesday, Dale Phillips and George Coulson with the Barton County Road and Bridge Dept. began installation of bicycle warning signs to remind motorists, with it’s first sign erected on W. 10th Street at the Great Bend city limit.
“This is a cooperative effort between the county, Golden Belt Community Foundation and Be Well Barton County,” County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. It builds on a growing need and call for improved infrastructure, not only for cars and trucks, but bicyclists and pedestrians.
He credited foundation Program Officer Sue Cooper and other Be Well members for getting the ball rolling.
On March 17, Barton County Commissioners approved the project which will consist of 32 signs being placed along 16 county roads. The Golden Belt Community Foundation provided a $600 grant, with the county picking up the difference of $2,120.
Be Well Barton County has focused its efforts on encouraging a climate friendly to human-powered transportation in an effort to improve the collective health of the county. Safety has been identified as a major concern of those who would walk or bike as one of the main reasons they don’t. Projects like this help pave the way for safer streets for all.
It boils down to promoting healthier lifestyles and safety for bicycle riders, as well as the safety of motorists, Boeckman said. “It shows the commissioners support exercise, outdoor activity and the safety of cyclists and there are getting to be more and more of them on our roads.”
This is another example, he said, of groups coming together. “Cooperative efforts among agencies is important.”
Another complementary project was approved at the Aug. 4 Great Bend City Council meeting. Dale Hogg, a member of Be Well Barton County, presented a proposal by the group to install similar bicycle signage as well as “sharrows,” signs painted on two city roadways to remind motorists to allow ample room for bicyclists sharing the streets. One will be along 19th Street from Main St. to McKinley St. The other will be along McKinley Street from 19th nearly to Railroad Ave.