NewsPublic AffairsGovernment / August 29, 2014

Parks Board Considering Safety Concerns Of 24/7 Greenway Access

Sam Klemet
Parks Board Considering Safety Concerns Of 24/7 Greenway Access

The Indy Parks and Recreation Board wants more time to consider a proposal that would allow people to ride bikes on greenways at all hours.

Currently, riders can bike on trails from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. The proposal calls for expanding access to 24 hours.

But, Parks Board member Joseph Wynns says before the city makes any changes, it has to better evaluate the potential safety ramifications.

"If you go 24 hours, you are opening up and you are inviting me to come and if I come, the thing is, do you have the amenities to protect me? Do you have the lights? Do you have all the amenities?," he said.  "So, we have to be very careful when we invite someone to use something, we can protect them."

Kevin Whited with IndyCog understands those issues, but doesn’t think the greenways pose any more of a threat than city streets which are open for riding at all times.

"There are obviously safety concerns.  We would be less than honest if we were not concerned about that," he said.  "But, we feel, and I think that can probably be statistically proven, that it's much more dangerous to ride on the roads than to ride on the Monon and maybe get mugged, maybe get assaulted."

He thinks as the city’s biking culture grows, so too should the hours when riding is allowed.

"There are a lot more people riding bicycles and a lot more people riding bicycles for transportation," said Whited.  "There's also going to be people that just want to be able to do their workouts at night or run at night on the trail."

Whited says expanding greenway access to 24 hours will raise the city’s standing with the League of American Bicyclists.

The parks board is expected to take another look at the proposal next month.