Action Alert: Help make Bay Village Bicycle-Friendly

UPDATE: Join us March 10th at 7:30pm at Bay Village City Hall (350 Dover Center Rd) for the second reading of the updated bike ordinances. We need public comment to help with the following: There is some talk of requiring helmets and mirrors. While we encourage helmet usage and mirrors, research has shown that mandatory helmet laws significantly decrease ridership and over-exaggerate the dangers of biking. Furthermore, we need uniformity with all the other cities in Ohio. No other cities require adults to wear helmets. Therefore, we do not support mandatory helmet laws. The proposal still includes a single-file riding requirement on Lake Rd. Again, this is not uniform with state laws and the rules of the road everywhere else in the state. State law allows two abreast. Please come and let council know that you don’t want a mandatory helmet law and you want to allow two abreast Lake Rd.

Can’t make it to the council meeting, then sign the petition below.

Read below to see why we need you to sign our petition, attend an upcoming public meeting and make a phone call in support of a more bicycle-friendly Bay Village!

Beginning in early 2013, Bike Cleveland began working with stakeholders in Bay Village to re-write their traffic code in order to bring it in-line with state law and to make Bay Village more bicycle-friendly. Our proposed ordinance updates have made it through council committee and the city’s law department with only a few changes.  Everyone involved recognizes that the priority is safety, but the city has differences of opinion on what is safe.   On Monday, March 3rd, at 7:30pm, the council committee’s proposed changes will be presented to the full Bay Village City Council in a public meeting. While we acknowledge and appreciate the steps that have been taken to improve the safety of people on bikes in Bay Village by revising the old laws, there are still concerns with the new laws being presented to City Council:

Currently the draft ordinances include mandatory single-file riding on Lake Road. We have urged the council committee members to remove this requirement because it is not uniform with the state law that allows people on bikes and motorcycles to ride two-abreast. In fact, the state law specifically dictates that local laws governing bicycling on the road cannot be “fundamentally inconsistent” with state law (ORC 4511.07).  By forcing people on bikes to ride single-file on Lake Rd., Bay Village’s law will be inconsistent with every other neighboring community that Lake Road goes through.  No unique situation exists for this stretch of road that would warrant a lack of uniformity in road rules.  The concern expressed by council committee members is that riding two-abreast (side-by-side) creates a situation where drivers will behave more aggressively and lead to a bicyclist being hurt.  We should not let the remote threat of road rage dictate a deviation from a uniform road rule that exists around the country.

We have urged Bay Village to include a 3-ft minimum passing law for motorists when passing a person on a bike, but currently it is not included in the proposed ordinances. The 3-ft minimum passing law gives law enforcement a minimum definition of what a “safe” passing distance is by stating: “When a motor vehicle overtakes a bicycle, the safe passing distance shall be not less than three feet.” This law provides clarity for police when enforcing laws for bicycle safety. A 3-ft passing law already exists at the state level in 22 states. Countless cities, in states without a 3-ft passing law, have passed their own 3- ft passing requirements at the city level.    In Ohio, the law exists in Toledo, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, but not at the state level. It is a standard law for cities that want to be bicycle friendly.  The main concern expressed by the Bay Village councilmen and the Bay Village law director is that they believe that such laws are unenforceable, despite the fact that it is being enforced in the nearly half the states around the country.

Please join us in contacting council members, signing our petition, and attending the first of three readings to council.  We encourage everyone who lives in, rides through or supports bicycling in Bay Village to sign the petition below and to contact the Bay Village City Council members asking them pass laws that are bicycle friendly.  We also need supporters to attend the Bay Village Council Meeting on Monday, March 3rd, at 7:30 pm at Bay Village City Hall (350 Dover Center Rd). Our comments and attendance can still result in changes before the third reading and the vote occurs in several weeks; but we NEED YOUR VOICE.

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Throughout the region, accidents involving bicyclists have increased by 10 percent from 2008 to 2011. During that same time period, total accidents for all vehicles region-wide decreased 4 percent. These numbers represent friends, family and colleagues who were engaging in the simple act of riding a bike. Our focus at Bike Cleveland is to make our roads safer for people on bikes, and we have been working with anyone that shares that goal. If you need help making your community more bicycle-friendly contact us at

Background: See the previous calls to action and the original ordinances presented to the Bay Village City Council Environment, Safety and Community Services committee here.

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