Batavia mayor to cyclists: Halt at stop signs or get a $105 ticket
Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke has had it with groups of bicyclists who ride through town without stopping at stop signs.
Do that this summer and you may get a traffic ticket.
Schielke said he has asked police to do some special patrols aimed at bicyclists.
"Somebody is going to get hit and killed," Schielke said recently, as aldermen discussed whether to paint bike lanes on two-lane South Prairie Street when it is rebuilt. The city submitted its preliminary plans to the state transportation department and hopes to begin construction in spring 2020.
Schielke, who lives on Bailey Drive, said a neighbor videotaped a group of riders that came from south of Batavia on Hart Road, then traveled Pine Street and Prairie to get to Wilson Street. The group went through downtown out to Van Nortwick Avenue, up to McKee Street and west out of town -- and rolled through every stop sign.
"Those days are hopefully over, and we are going to start writing some $105 tickets to these folks," he said.
Cyclists' rolling through stop signs has been a hot topic on Batavia-oriented Facebook pages in the past, as has drivers' treatment of cyclists.
Scott Brasel, a member of the Batavia Bicycle Commission, said the cyclists are probably on training rides, improving their fitness for races. They reach speeds of 20 mph or more.
They can't do that on the Fox River Trail because that has a speed limit, in addition to casual cyclists and pedestrians, he said.
Joanne Spitz, also a bicycle commission member, said she was almost hit by such riders who passed within several inches of her when she was riding on the grounds of Fermilab, which invites the public to ride its grounds.
But she doesn't want their actions to hurt the bike-lane cause. She favors putting bike lanes on Prairie to encourage more casual bicyclists to ride to downtown.
"I don't want them to stop anything that might make our town safer," Spitz said.
When the city updated its comprehensive plan in 2007, bike lanes were added to it. And since federal money is being used for the Prairie Street reconstruction, the Illinois Department of Transportation must approve the construction plans, and IDOT regulations say that when a road is rebuilt in an urbanized area, it has to include accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Alderman Scott Salvati, a bicyclist, said Fermilab requires bicyclists to stop at stop signs and enforces the rules. Bicycle clubs know that, he said, and word will get out to them that they'd better do the same on Batavia streets.
"And if they don't, they'd better have a wallet in their pocket -- or wherever they hide it," Salvati said.