Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission doesn't want bike ordinance suspended

Thursday, July 16, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:35 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 16, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission said suspending the bicycle harassment ordinance would send the wrong message to the public.

The commission's Wednesday meeting was the first since Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade proposed that the City Council consider suspending the bicycle harassment ordinance that passed on June 15.

The commission, which was never asked to comment on the ordinance, decided to have its comments on the proposal sent to the council through commission Chairman David Heise.

"For them to suspend it or go backwards is the wrong thing," commission member Steve Kullmann said.

Heise seconded Kullmann's opinion. He said the ordinance might need revision, but that suspending the ordinance wouldn't be the right step to take. Commission member Frederick Schmidt agreed that suspending the ordinance would send the wrong message.

Commission members suggested amending the ordinance to include pedestrians and wheelchair users in addition to bicyclists.

Kullmann said the ordinance has been good because of the attention it has generated about the issue. He said cyclists are more aware people are watching them and motorists are more aware of cyclists' feelings due to the ordinance.

"It's still good that it's opened up a lot of dialogue," Kullmann said.

 Some commission members, however were not in support of weighing in on the debate surrounding the ordinance.

"I say leave it alone," commission member Chris Walthall said.

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