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Marseilles considers street signage to protect bicyclists

Marseilles is considering posting road signs like this one to remind motorists to give space to bicyclists.
Marseilles is considering posting road signs like this one to remind motorists to give space to bicyclists.

The city of Marseilles is considering signage to remind drivers to give bicyclists a little more breathing room on the road.

Don Dirks, president of the Starved Rock Cycling Association, spoke to the City Council Wednesday night regarding a new state law that requires motorists to leave three feet between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing.

Dirks said the group frequently bikes in Marseilles, especially along Commercial and Broadway streets, but asked the council to think of other streets where they frequently see bicyclists.

The signs, approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation, reiterate to drivers there is a required three-feet minimum needed to pass a bicyclist.

Dirks said a sign is being developed with a graphic rather than just text, but it’s unknown how long it will take for that official sign to be developed.

“Because we come through town, it’s something we’d like the council to consider. We’d certainly understand if you’d be more inclined to wait until they come out with the official sign with the graphic, but in the meantime since this one is cleared for use, we’d ask you to consider putting some of these up,” Dirks said.

The club offered to cover some of the cost of the signs if the city can handle the posts and labor associated.

The signs cost around $70 each, but the organization ordered some in bulk and received them at a lower cost.

Dirks added the city of Ottawa and the village of Naplate also are considering the signs.

Mayor Jim Hollenbeck said the council would consider the signs. He said the newer ones could be added to the posts later.

Hollenbeck added he has seen federal grants in the past that provide for bike lanes on the streets.

Dirks said his organization helped put Ottawa’s bike plan together, which helped the city get funding for its lanes. He said Marseilles can work with the nonprofit group Ride Illinois, based in Aurora, to put together a bike plan for Marseilles if the council is interested in getting bike lanes.

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