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Ask NOW: Reader wonders if bicyclists should use pathways

Bicyclists in Brookfield are allowed to use both the street and pathways for transportation. Both bicyclists and motorists are responsible for safety.

Bicyclists in Brookfield are allowed to use both the street and pathways for transportation. Both bicyclists and motorists are responsible for safety. Photo By Geoff Bruce

May 12, 2014

Is there a rumor you'd like tracked down? Geoff Bruce answers some of the mysteries of life in Brookfield and helps solve everyday problems.

Reader wonders if bicyclists should be on pathways

Question: A reader is concerned that bicyclists are traveling on pathways instead of in the roadway, particularly along Capitol Drive and Lilly Road. The reader notes there are pathways on both sides of Capitol Drive and a pathway along much of Lilly Road, and wonders if it is allowable for bicyclists to use the pathways.

Response: Yes, bicyclists are allowed to ride on city of Brookfield pathways.

Director of Public Works Tom Grisa noted that in the city of Brookfield, sidewalks and paths are referred to as pathways specifically because they are intended to be available for multiple uses.

"City ordinance allows for bicyclists, as well as pedestrians, to use the pathways," Grisa said.

He declined to make a specific recommendation about what avenues bicyclists choose, saying it depends on the situation and the cyclist.

"For the avid bicyclist with the jerseys and all, that type of rider is always going to be more comfortable on the side of the road, but I wouldn't want a 10-year-old boy or girl riding their bike while mixed in with traffic," Grisa said.

Grisa, a 15-year veteran of the Public Works Department, said that in his time working for the city, he has received only one or two calls with concerns about mixed uses on pathways.

Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus noted that bicyclists on sidewalks are not subject to the same rules as their road-traveling counterparts and therefore cannot be ticketed for failing to give a hand signal or obey a stop sign.

Tushaus echoed Grisa in saying that complaints regarding bicyclists on pathways have been few and far between.

He did note the city of Brookfield has seen "our fair share of serious bike and motor vehicle crashes," and that in most cases, the bicyclist was at fault.

Tushaus and Grisa agree that responsibility for a safe relationship on the roads is as much in the hands of bicyclists as motorists.

Email your question to Geoff Bruce at gbruce@jrn.com.

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