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Jul 23, 2014 9:42 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Bike Lanes Removed Following Safety Concerns

Jul 23, 2014 10:21 AM

Safety is the main priority, Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said, one week after bicycle riding was banned on a portion of Hampton Road in an effort to make it safer for pedestrians, bike riders and drivers.

While some might find it inconvenient, the mayor said, the best option for Southampton Village is to not allow bike riding in the high-foot-traffic areas of the village business district. Instead, bikers will have to either walk their bikes or find an alternative route through the business district.

The village removed a portion of the Hampton Road bike lane in early May when the street was repaved to make way for diagonal parking along the stretch of road from Main Street to Southampton Town Hall. The move added parking spaces to the busy stretch.

Bike riding has been banned in Southampton Village on Main Street and Jobs Lane for roughly 30 years, Mr. Epley said. And while bike lanes were considered as part of a recently updated village master plan, there is no obligation to install the paths along highly trafficked areas, he said.

“What we are asking, and it is strictly from a safety standpoint, is that when you are in those areas, just get off your bike and walk it,” the mayor said. “It is for your own safety—that is all that it is.”

According to Mr. Epley, the village had been considering removing the bike lane along the portion of Hampton Road for several years, after realizing the best way to create more parking in the area would be to convert the long-standing parallel spots into diagonal parking, a move that was made in May. However, the village had to wait until this year to make the change because the bike lane was installed as part of an approximately $400,000 traffic grant in 2005 that also paid for traffic lights and crosswalks throughout the municipality. Earlier this year, the grant expired, giving the village the opportunity to make the switch.

“It is very dangerous to have a bike lane go behind diagonally parked cars,” Mr. Epley said. “It is already hard enough to pull out when vehicles are traveling down the road—you add a bike that you can barely see, and it becomes a safety issue.”

Although bikes are not allowed on Main Street, Jobs Lane or on Hampton Road from Main Street to Town Hall, Mr. Epley says there are still ways to traverse the village on bicycle, adding that riders can still ride on Hill Street up to the movie theater, where they can turn left onto Culver Street, and make another left onto Windmill Lane. From there, bikers can continue to Jagger Lane, which becomes Post Crossing, and turn right onto Elm Street, and back on to Hampton Road, which does have a bike lane east of Town Hall.

Mr. Epley said that while he agrees that there should be more bike lanes in the village, he believes the change was the best course of action for the village, and he said it is supported by the Southampton Village Police Department.

“There are still plenty of opportunities for people to ride their bikes that are safer,” he said. “But with the volume of activity on Hampton Road, Jobs Lane and Main Street, if I was a bike rider, I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of that. And if it was my children, I wouldn’t want them riding there.”

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Bicycles are not the problem, the dedicated lanes were not designed and implemented intelligently. Stupid does not have to win!
By Onwatch (2), Eh on Jul 23, 14 11:28 AM
The signs for no bicycling are not visible enough for people unfamiliar with the regulations to know where bicylcing is prohibited.
By metsfan2 (146), southampton on Jul 23, 14 12:16 PM
Most major cities and towns, including NYC, are creating bike lanes and promoting cycling as a healthy form of transportation EXCEPT Southampton Village.

Why don't we remove the cars from the village to make it safer (and put the mayor in one of them)?

Imagine what the village would be like if everyone rode their bikes in and out and there weren't any cars to mess it all up.

May I also suggest the mayor hop on a bike and try it out - you may like it.
By scottso (16), southampton on Aug 6, 14 6:50 AM