Iowa town bans bikes

Grimes, Iowa city council voted Tuesday to restrict bikes from a two mile stretch of road for “safety issues.”

The Des Moines suburb of 6,000 has spent $2 million on bike trails since 2009 and are working to connect their town to Central Iowa’s trail system. The city council considered a whole new set of bicycle regulations for the town, part of which reads “Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.”

In council discussion, it’s apparent the city council intends to prohibit bikes from a two mile stretch of South James Street. While there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of an actual “safety” issue, James Street is a rural road that seems to be a favorite for group road rides. It’s also one of the major north-south roads that provide access from Grimes to I-80 and I-35 for travel to Des Moines and other job centers.

Although residents and several people representing the Iowa Bicycle Coalition spoke out against the mandatory bike path rule, the council voted in favor of the ordinance at its first and second readings. The third and final reading occurs on at the City council meeting on September 25.