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Kinnelon Mayor: Bike Routes May Not Be Changed

Collins said grant has to be examined to determine whether signs can be taken down.

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.

Zoo Keeper April 20, 2012 at 02:30 PM
In my opinion, Kinnelon should have installed the PROPER bike routes, not just signs. Riverdale is a great example of what a bike route should look like. Signs or not, everyone using the roads need to be cautious of each other and to obey the law. I would like to know what happened to the grant money, I'm sure they didnt spend it all on those signs.
Pat Caserta April 20, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I remember when Kinnelon received this grant and I remember certain people patting themselves on the back for bringing the money into the town. The problem was fairly obvious at the time; the signs went up but there really was no bike route. The danger was obvious too. Friends of mine came upon an unconscious biker in the middle of Fayson Lakes Rd a few years ago and last summer I stopped for a biker who had crashed and injured his shoulder. None of the accidents I know of were caused by motorists. It's not a bike route. It never was. If the money was accepted on the premise that a bike route would be created and all that happened was signs were posted someone pulled a fast one and should be held accountable. If it's the right thing to do, the money should be returned and the signs should come down.
Zoo Keeper April 20, 2012 at 04:03 PM
And what about the new grant for improvements to Fayson Lakes Road? I hope that the same thing doesn't happen. It's like a wolf guarding a hen house !!!
Side stepping April 20, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Ktown gov't is not used to having their business aired to the public via any media, they prefer to keep things under the radar. They definitely don't want the taxpayers in their business either. Mr. Caserta is right, take the signs down and perhaps pay off the decorative lighting with the cute flags (that are never hung) on Kinnelon Road. I have seen signs like these in other towns s.a. Riverdale and Madison but with a proper bike route attached. In regards to Mr. Cobell's remark, Kinnelonians may be oblivious, but they're not stupid, the signs are for the bikers. If the signs were for motorists, they would be much more noticeable from a car.
Zoo Keeper April 20, 2012 at 09:28 PM
As I have said in the past, how many other towns have Bike Route signs? In my opinion, this was a diversion to install the signs at a low cost while a hugh chunk of the grant money was used for something else. What gets me the most is, up until Kinnelon, there are NO signs in Butler, all of a sudden you get to the first sign, Bike Route Starts and as you travel along (Boonton Ave) and get to the Montville border, it tells you Bike Route Ends. So, what do you do up until you reach and signs and at the end? Now I understan that Kinnelon has another grant to work on Fayson Lakes Road, will the same thing happen there?
Kinnelon Neighbor April 21, 2012 at 01:02 AM
The money for the bike path came in the same grant that funded the building of the Kinnelon Rec Park. Once the funds were received from the county more money went to the Park, less to the bike path. Having said that, bicyclists used this route prior to the signs and will continue to do so if they are taken down.
Smell the java April 21, 2012 at 11:49 AM
As stated before, it seems that there are an influx of bikers on FLR over the years. I have been here for over 20 years and within the past maybe 5 have seen MANY more bikers on FLR as well as Kinnelon. I am sure several reasons contribute to this factor. Having said that, I bet most Kinnelonians agree, that the bikers are a huge distraction to residents who have to drive this road daily and would most likely rather see it discouraged overall for bikers to even use this roadway. It is narrow, winding, and has several "blind spots" and coming around a turn when you have 3-4 bikers speeding down the hill is a hindrence. It is only going to get worse as the summer comes and the lake opens and you have people walking to the lake. They will have to jockey around the bikers too. The road will never be conducive to a proper bike path, it cannot be widened without encroaching on peoples property, many of which have retaining walls installed. Bike paths in other towns are usually built way past the actual roadway, ie. the path along the Boulevard in Mountain Lakes.
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Part 1 of 2 - Kinnelon’s roadways provide a picturesque back drop for people to walk, run and cycle through. The signs are meant to alert motorist that the roadways are used by cyclist and that caution should be used while operating a vehicle on the roadway, similar to deer crossing signs on some roadways. People operating a motor vehicle in Kinnelon and our surrounding area need to exercise caution as there are walkers, runners, cyclist ,deer, bear, coyotes, various creatures and assorted vehicles on the roadways. That is an understanding we all have as we live here and should all be aware of those factors. Closing a roadway to cyclist is least likely to happen and the percentage of cyclist vs. vehicle accidents is lower than vehicle vs. vehicle or stationary object. Also not likely to happen is creating a bike path along the narrow roadways mentioned. Even with the width of Kinnelon Road, to create a bike path that must end with the narrowing of the roadway is as ridiculous as the signs notifying us that a bike route has started and ended.
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Part 2 of 2 - Bottom line is Kinnelon is a beautiful place to cycle through. Cyclist need to obey the laws as do motorists. All need to use caution and cutting loose on Fayson Lakes Road, although is a great rush for a cyclist, it is just not a safe thing to do. People were held accountable in the recent accident as summonses were issued to the cyclist. But a driver has experienced understandable trauma because the cyclist were reckless. I’m all for working the problem but greater awareness to our surroundings will bring a quicker and safer experience for all who use our roadways.
Zoo Keeper April 21, 2012 at 02:28 PM
HELLO What do bike route signs really do? NOTHING ! For example, on Boonton Ave there is a starting point and an ending point, up until then in neighboring towns there are NO SIGNS. A responsable and prudcent person would realize there will be walkers and bikers on any given roadway. If you want to walk or jog, I would suggest going up to Silas Condit Park or over to the high school track. If cycling is such an issue, maybe the grant money could be invested in a veladrome. This issue is getting to be lame like beating a dead horse!!!!
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Part 1 of 2 - Hello to you as well. “Bike Route” signs are intended to bring awareness to people on the roadways that the roadway has been designated a "Bike Route". That is their intent and the signing of the roadway was part of a grant the town was issued. The signs will only do what they are intended to do. If people choose to ignore or look away when they see them that is their choice. But you can’t take away their intent. Reasonable prudent people must realize many things while operating a motor vehicle on the roadway as do pedestrians and cyclist. But the world is full of people who are not as reasonable and prudent as you claim and “accidents” do and will continue to happen. Walking / jogging in Silas Condict park is an option but the roadway eventually ends and one would need to take up trail hiking or trail running to enjoy the park to its fullest.
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Part 2 of 2 - The high school track is closed to the general public from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or later if there is a school event utilizing the field or track. Now the argument being presented is if these signed roadways are legitimate bike routes and or if it is reasonable for these roadways to be considered bike routes. The most appropriate response to increase the safety on the roadways being spoken about is greater awareness to all who use the roadways. I do not think a veladrome is the answer and I would guess the grant money has been already spent on the project it was applied for. Besides no room for a velodrome. If the issue is lame to you and the horse is dead, don’t respond to others opinions. Or is that something else you desire to take away from people?
Zoo Keeper April 21, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Unfortunately you just don't get it ! Have you been reading all of the posts on all of the topics of biking in Kinnelon? As I have stated numerous times, there are no bike routes signs in surrounding towns. And, like i stated before, do you have to "walk" you bike to the starting point of the signs and once again"dismount" when you get to the end? In my opinion, a proper bike route would be a path next to the roadway that bikers can ride on safely. No an EXCUSE to put up signs for a so called bike route. When there is litigation against Kinnelon, maybe someone will listen, even the horse.
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Trust me I get it. Based on your approach I stand corrected. Now where was that wall I was banging my head against?
Steve April 21, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I disagree. We're not talking about the casual bike rider perhaps riding to the lake or the deli but race bikers who ride 2 or 3 abreast and are going way too fast to enjoy the scenic views. Riding FLR everyday, to and from my home, I encounter them and it is most difficult trying to pass them going over the causeways and the tight turns on FLR-especially the one where this recent accident occured-yes there have been others! Mr Von Schalscha is stating the obvious, we all need to be aware of our surroundings no matter what we're driving-but this is about prevention. Unlike other parts of town like the Estates, FL itself is a neighborhood filled with many narrow, winding roads. FLR is part of this neighborhood. I don't have a problem with the race bikers riding on Kinnelon Rd to Powerville to Boonton and then finish on Cutless, it's just as pretty, although even parts of these roads are unsafe. Maybe they can move the signs to the Estates, it is a long, wide road. Because it's a dead-end, it doesn't have much traffic, has hills to challenge the biker, and has many scenic vistas to admire. We know we can't lawfully keep the bikers off FLR but maybe deterring them would be a better answer such as rumble strips. As far as the grant, if I recall the signs were put up (every 20 ft?), I surmise they were a stipulation of the grant and plopped in without any fore thought of the future, sort of like the poor planning for rec. fields.
Steve April 21, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Yes, in this instance, it was the cyclists fault. They are probably not from this area and weren't even aware of the impending hair pin turn. You bring up an interesting point that should be looked into further. The exact number of accidents vs. cars vs. cyclists vs. stationary objects- BUT only on FLR. I'm sure there are a lot that you are not aware of and some, as personally witnessed, that aren't even reported. As far as the stationary objects, most are probably due to DUI's.
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Part 1 of 3 - I am not speaking of casual bike riding to the lake or deli. I am very aware of the sport / exercise enthusiast cyclist that use our roads. I am also aware of why FLR is appealing to them. It is because of the same reasons you describe that represent a danger to their style of riding. No, they do not seek the danger and possible contact with a motor vehicle. They seek the rush of the climb, negotiating the winding roadways and the sections that pass through the reservoirs. It’s beautiful and unless you have experienced this from the saddle of a bicycle you understandably would not understand. I am an avid mountain biker and have many friends who are “roadies” that ride through our great town, so I get it – I get the rush. But you are correct that I am stating the obvious which is what I am asking you all to look at. Frantic posts with no remedy other than to prohibit cyclist from a roadway which you recognize is not likely to happen solve nothing.
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Part 2 of 3 - Moving the signs to the Estates is fine if you want to make this a discussion of your neighborhood vs. mine, but I don’t believe the roads of the Estates provide the route appeal to cyclist. Although you are correct there are beautiful views here as there are in your neighborhood, our town as a whole in fact. Speaking to rumble strips; the town most likely will not install them on any roadway as they present an obstruction for the snow plows. We recommended having them installed along the main artery into the Estates a few years ago to combat speeding. We were denied and the police department correctly conducted speed enforcement to bring awareness to drivers along our roads. There are many laws that govern cycling in the state of New Jersey. The one of your most immediate and correct concern is riding side by side. The law states to travel no more than two abreast when traffic is impeded, Title 39:4-14.2(e). Now for anyone to successfully enforce that, good luck. I imagine you would want a group of children riding their bikes without helmets to the deli to be exempt from the law and the law that governs the use of helmets? Or would these children be prohibited from FLR too.
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Part 3 of 3 - A bicycle is a bicycle, casual, sport, race or what ever. If you want to analyze the number of accidents along a roadway file an OPRA {Open Public Records Act} request with the police department. But I say work the issue with awareness and you will have greater success. Take down the signs unless it will forfeit the grant. There are only a few left anyway and I am sure they were not knocked down by a reckless cyclist. Me - I will stay in the woods with the deer, coyotes and bears.
Zoo Keeper April 21, 2012 at 08:48 PM
SOLUTION Build the proper bike lanes! Riverdale has done it.
Zoo Keeper April 21, 2012 at 08:51 PM
West Milford recently put in speed bumps on one of their roads (they do get snow as well) SOLUTION Build the propere bike lanes !
Zoo Keeper April 21, 2012 at 08:55 PM
according to a report on Patch, the police did say there were many bicycle accidents not involving cars. All you need to do is to go to the police spokesperson or even better, to the Mayor and Council. I know for a fact, all of the signs are still intact on Boonton Ave. And while you are in the woods, maybe you can find that "dead horse".
Robert Von Schalscha April 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
OK Taxpayers Unite II. Here is what I propose. The next Mayor and Council Meeting in Kinnelon is May 18th at 8:00 p.m. I will be there wearing a grey t shirt with the LIVESTRONG logo and my right arm has a bunch of tattoos on it. I have a baseball game to coach in Tri Boro at 5:30 p.m. so if I am a tad late please be patient. In the time between that I will gather some information on bike routes and file a couple of OPRA request with the town on MVA's and the stipulations of the grant. From you I request the street or streets in Riverdale where the bike routes you speak of are. Oh yeah West Milford does get snow but Kinnelon denied the request for speed bumps. I'm not saying other towns don't have them just that Kinnelon denied our request.
pedalsformoney April 21, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Here is a thought, Our town is strapped for cash and us taxpayers all bear the burden. Why not post some police on nice days at the locations that are high risk, issue summons for violations to both motorists and cyclists that break the law and raise some money. After sever hundred tickets word will get out to follow the law. Isnt that what the police are supposed to do?
Zoo Keeper April 21, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Great idea !
Janet April 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM
the thought was "rumble strips" not "speed bumps' . If a race biker is doing it for the "rush" isn't that usually compared to drugs? Than we can say they're not using their best judgement and operating a motor vehicle under influence and do you really want that type of driver on our roadways? especially roads that are narrow and winding and that our children and families use to walk or bike to the lakes on FLR?
Zoo Keeper April 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Riverdale Newardk-Pompton Tpk I menti0ned this previously
Robert Von Schalscha April 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Janet - The installation of "rumble strips" would have minimal impact on a cyclist using the roadway. Rumble strips are typically installed along a roadway at certain distances to slow down motor vehicle traffic not deter cyclists. The accident that occurred took place in a section that is densely populated and I don't think the good people along FLR want to listen to the hum and rumble that is created when a vehicle drives over a rumble strip twenty-four hours a day. Plus approval for rumble strips would not be easy and without legally preventing cyclist from FLR it would open the town to liabilities should a cyclist be injured in a fall that was caused by a rumble strip. Equating the rush of cycling to the mind altering use of illegal drugs is stretching a point a bit too much.

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