(Aug. 9, 2019) Ocean City government continues to make progress in its campaign to make cycling safer and more popular in the resort, according to a report to the City Council Tuesday on projects undertaken by the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.
Engineering Manager Paul Mauser brought the council up to date on committee projects such as bike path infrastructure, bike lights and bike racks, and on the priorities the committee has established.
The committee is focusing on five efforts, he said, beginning with its plan to play for Bike Friendly Communities designation through the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) application.
The bike-friendly designation makes it easier for towns and cities to receive funding for future projects, he said, adding that it also would give Ocean City an image boost as a more eco-friendly town.
The application was due on Aug. 8, but Mauser said that the committee already had completed 90 percent of it.
The next priority the committee set for itself was to acquire funding for its bike master plan, Mauser said. The group had applied for the MDOT Bikeways Grant, but MDOT told the group it did not provide funding for a general planning document.
Bike infrastructure development was also on the list, and the committee is working on projects such as the State Highway Administration’s (SHA) West Ocean City hiker-biker trail.
The last two priorities Mauser discussed were the Lights on Bikes program and J-1 student education outreach.
“Items four and five kind of tie together,” Mauser said. “A lot of them [J-1 students] … are not familiar with our bike laws, they’re riding on the wrong side of the road [and] they don’t have a light on at night.”
Mauser referred to a fatal crash that occurred in South Bethany to emphasize the importance of the bike light program.
Around 10:15 p.m. on July 4, Kelly M. Scruggs, 27, of Annapolis, was riding her bike on Coastal Highway in South Bethany and attempted to cross the median and into the road’s south lane. A car hit Scruggs, and she died from her injuries.
Reports indicated that Scruggs had not been using a functioning light on her bike.
Councilman Mark Paddack asked Mauser about the distribution of bike lights.
“The other night I was out later, coming up Coastal Highway, and I counted 24 bicycles … without lights on them,” Paddack said.
Councilman Tony DeLuca, the committee’s council liaison, replied that the committee was refocusing its efforts in bike light distribution, and that it was going to meet with members of the community to discuss new distribution strategies.
Mauser ended his update by discussing plans for bike rack test trials.
“The town encourages biking in town, we encourage biking to the beach, so we are looking to facilitate people who want to do that, by providing them with bike parking,” Mauser said.
After a short discussion about the placement of the bike racks on the streets, the council gave the committee the green light to move forward with the project.
The committee will install the test bike racks in three locations: 28th, 67th and 120th Street. The bike parking will be first come, first served, and it will have a strict no overnight parking policy