The approval of a project to install 32 bicycle safety awareness signs through Barton County by the County Commission Monday morning is a huge step forward in recognizing the growing importance of cycling in our area. The commissioners must be commended for their foresightful action.
This is also a watershed moment because of how the action came to pass. The effort was a cooperative one bringing County Administrator Richard Boeckman, Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips and county commissioners together with Be Well Barton County and the Golden Belt Community Foundation.
Public/private partnerships such as this can be models for future endeavours.
The signs will cost about 85 bucks apiece for a total of about $2,700. However, Be Well is investing $600, bringing the county’s share to $2,120.
It was noted during the meeting that Harvey and other counties have already taken such steps. Officials there as well as officials here realize the use of rural blacktops by cyclists is not a passing fad and this action is a recognition that bicycle riders make up a growing portion of road users.
The Kansas Legislature two years ago passed a law requiring drivers to give cyclists three feet when passing, which is what the signs will indicate. Cyclists deserve the same respect as other vehicle operators.
Granted, this is a two-way road. Those on bikes must obey the laws and be vigilant as well.
The signage is part of an on-going safety effort undertaken by BWBC. Funded by a Kansas Health Foundation grant, the group is a leadership team under the Central Kansas Partnership and is working for improved active transportation throughout the county.
And, there may be more bike signage in the works. In a separate project, bicycle signs may be added to the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway.
We have a beautiful county and there really isn’t a better way to see it than from a bicycle.
It is great to see our official representatives understanding the value of bikes and bike safety. Let’s hope this is the start of even greater things and the momentum keeps rolling.