It may not have been the answer a few concerned residents wanted to hear, but Kinnelon Mayor Bob Collins told the public Thursday that he is unsure whether the borough is allowed to remove bike route signs on three of the main thoroughfares that have some residents worried about safety.
Collins brought up the issue during his mayor's report at the meeting in reference to an accident on Fayson Lakes Road on March 17 where to the hospital after being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle driven by 20-year-old Ethan F. Wood. Collins said this was the first accident in the borough that required two medevac helicopters.
Wood's mother, Nancy, spoke at the meeting and asked if anything can be done to remove the signs, as she said her son has suffered emotional stress from the incident and she fears others who may encounter similar incidents would feel safer knowing bicyclists cannot ride on the busy roads.
"He will have this emotional nightmare for the rest of his life," she told the mayor and council.
However, the solution is not as simple as removing the signs, Collins said, as they were paid for and included in a Morris County grant that the borough already spent the money from. Part of the money was used to install lights on Kinnelon Road, Collins said.
Collins also noted that following the incident because police alleged that they crossed the double-yellow line. He said the bicyclists "created a bad situation."
"Us taking down signs is not going to change that," he said.
Still, Collins said the borough would examine the county grant application and the borough's obligations to maintain signs noting the bike routes. Councilman Stephen Cobell questioned whether the signs serve to advise motorists to be cautious as bicycists are near. Collins also said that Kinnelon's bike routes have been publicized in bicycle magazines and that even if the signs are taken down, bicyclists may come to the town to ride in the area.
In the immediate future, the mayor asked that motorists and bicyclists be respectful of one another.
"I'm going to ask our bicycle riders, as well as our motorists, to respect and share the road," he said.