Rehoboth Beach explores becoming friendlier — and safer, for bicyclists
One of the state’s beach towns is trying to become more bike friendly.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, Delaware is the sixth most bike friendly state in the country.
And Rehoboth Beach is feeling pressure to create a more bicycle friendly city.
The city’s Streets and Transportation committee voted on recommendations to create sharrows, or shared car and bike lanes along some city streets, including the main drag, Rehoboth Ave.
The committee cited wanting to ensure Rehoboth Beach was as friendly as nearby Lewes, which is an official bicycle friendly city.
Committee member David Mann says DelDOT is also pushing for more bike friendliness statewide, and he wants Rehoboth Beach to oblige.
Mann says these new lanes aren’t designed for the experienced bikers.
“We can’t keep em off Rehoboth Ave, they keep going up Rehoboth Ave," Mann said. "The people that ride their bicycles one or two weeks a year or one month a year — those are the ones we have to save cause they’re the ones that are most at risk.”
The committee is also looking at creating bike boxes, which are large protected areas at an intersection to allow bicyclists to safely make a left turn.
Rehoboth resident Bruce Kauffman presented a plan that called for bike boxes on all the intersections crossing Rehoboth Avenue.
“All the lights at Rehoboth Ave. would benefit, and they already don’t have right on red, that’s already been turned off," Kauffman said. "Let's formalize it, let's tell the bikes, take your head start, move to the front of the line. I don’t think it would affect the flow of traffic at all but it would really get the bike traffic more, not just more safe but orderly.”
He also recommended installing one along Church Street, where he says it can be the most dangerous for bicyclists, but committee members noted that’s outside city limits, and it would be up to DelDOT to put one there.
Ultimately, the committee decided against recommending bike boxes, at the urging of Police chief Keith Banks. Banks says there are already re-designs of some nearby streets, and he wants to ensure they would not interfere with that.
Those recommendations head to the board of commissioners for final approval.
Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.