Stillwater has taken another step toward becoming more cycle-friendly.
The Stillwater Bicycle Committee was officially established Wednesday night, following the tradition of other bike-friendly communities across the nation.
Jim Bruer, committee member and Oklahoma State University academic counselor, said this is a necessary step in promoting cycling in Stillwater.
“One of the main things you need to be approved (as a bike-friendly community) is to have a cycling committee like this,” Bruer said.
Committee Chairman Keith Reed said Stillwater recently applied for the cycle-friendly title from the League of American Bicyclists.
“It’s a vital part of any cycling community,” Reed said.
The League of American Bicyclists, formerly the League of American Wheelmen, was founded in 1880 and has been responsible for defending the rights of cyclists from the beginning, according to their website.
The purpose of the group is to act as an advisory board for the cycling community in the Stillwater area, Reed said.
“This is for any issue that is cycling-related,” he said. “Any issues of public safety, infrastructure or education, like teaching people to ride properly.”
Two of the committee’s goals are getting the city to build designated bicycle lanes and filling in educational gaps for cyclists and drivers, Reed said.
One example of this is the sharrows, a combination of the words “share” and “arrow”, on some streets in town to designate that the street is not wide enough for a dedicated bike lane and a vehicle lane, he said.
“The idea is that the bicycle is going to be in the lane and that vehicles need to be aware of that and they need to respect the cyclist,” Reed said.
Crystal Wintle, committee member and co-owner of District Bicycles, 712 S. Main St., would like Stillwater to model road reconstruction after other bike-friendly cities.
“Other cities have a complete road system,” he said. “It’s friendly to all modes of transportation, whether you’re walking, riding your bike, if you’re in a wheelchair, or if you’re driving. (With these road systems) there’s room for all of those entities and room for parking too.”
Reed acknowledged that many cyclists in Stillwater are not aware of cycling rules for public roads.
“The cyclists need as much education as non-cyclists,” he said. “We are working on that.”