BETHEL — Selectmen voted 4-1 Monday not to send a citizen-initiated ordinance to ban bikes on streets with no bike lanes to the Ordinance Review Committee.

Town officials learned from the Maine Municipal Association that parts of the ordinance would conflict with state law and therefore would not be legal or enforceable.

Resident Rick Whitney proposed the ordinance out of concern for “human lives.” He said he has seen cyclists operating unsafely, particularly on North and Songo Pond roads and Vernon and Main streets.

Cycling safety has been discussed by selectmen in recent years but no formal action was taken.

Whitney’s ordinance proposal included the following provisions:

• Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on streets that have no bike safety lane;


• Bicyclists are  not allowed to ride side by side and must be at least 10 feet apart.

• Bicyclists older than 16 must register their bike with the town;

• Bicyclists are not allowed to wear head phones, sound-preventing device or any type of hearing distraction; and

• Bicyclists could be fined $250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent ones.

Lori Swain opposed the board’s decision, saying she had had near misses with cyclists on the Songo Pond Road.

Selectman Andy Whitney, Rick Whitney’s son, said education would be a better route to address cyclist problems.

Rick Whitney agreed, saying “education is the right idea.”

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.