Council wants signs deterring bike use on downtown Kent sidewalks

Left-turn arrow at intersection of Main and Water Streets also discussed

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer Published:

At the suggestion of a resident, Kent City Council is considering posting signs in downtown reminding people bicycles aren't permitted on the sidewalks.

They also want the city to evaluate whether a green arrow permitting a right of way left turn can be a permanent feature for the traffic signal at the intersection of Main and Water streets.

Both concerns have arisen because of an increase in overall traffic downtown and were brought to council's attention this week by John Simon, who runs a business at a 300 N. Water St.

"We're getting an awful lot of bike traffic now," Simon said. "Unfortunately, they're riding on the sidewalk very fast."

According to Kent's ordinances, bikes and skateboards are not permitted on sidewalks in business districts.

Councilman John Kuhar, who also runs a business at 300 N. Water St., said he believes signs downtown would deter such activity.

"When I step out of my building down there, when Mr. Kluth and Mr. Simon do, we usually stick our head out about three inches first and look both ways," he said.

Kuhar claimed he was almost struck Wednesday by a bicyclist who was wearing headphones and texting.

"I know it's dangerous down there," he said.

Simon also suggested the city should consider the left-turn arrow at the Main-Water intersection, where the Franklin Square Deli is located.

He pointed out there's usually a turn arrow for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.

"I've waited as much as three lights and I'm the third car back trying to turn left on Main Street going north on Water," Simon said.

He suggested having the arrow for a longer time frame might speed up the flow.

"I just think the arrow should work all day long ... instead of just an hour in the morning and an hour at night," he said. "That was fine for the old Kent, but I don't think it works for the new Kent."

Council agreed to have both issues examined. Mayor Jerry Fiala noted a traffic study may be needed before the light at Main and Water streets can be addressed.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or jnobile@recordpub.com

Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier

Twitter: @jnobile_RPC

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  • From above article:

    According to Kent's ordinances, bikes and skateboards are not permitted on sidewalks in business districts.

    Kent Police should Enforce the laws/ordinances that are  already on the books

    Taken from  Ohio Bicycle Federation, www.ohiobike.org

    Ohio Revised Code § 4511.711. Driving upon sidewalk area.
    No person shall drive any vehicle, other than a bicycle, upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting local authorities from regulating the operation of bicycles within their respective jurisdictions, except that no local authority may require that bicycles be operated on sidewalks.

    Comment from Ohio Bicycle Federation:

    Although this section allows riding on sidewalks, don’t do it. Accident studies show that even low-speed sidewalk riding has about double the accident rate as riding on the road. The danger increases with speed. If you ride on the sidewalk, every intersection and even every driveway is a potential collision site. Motorists crossing your path do not look for conflicting traffic on the sidewalk, especially if you are coming from the "wrong way".