Posted: Aug 12, 2012 9:04 PM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
HELENA- Downtown Helena businesses are gaining support for a petition to allow bicycles on the walking mall. City code state that no person shall ride any bicycle on the mall, but downtown business owners and cycling enthusiast are trying to change that.
"I envision families being allowed to come down from the library, slowly cruising through the walking mall, parking their bikes, going in, having a great time, feeling safe and secure, and just having an amazing family outing," said Shalon Hastings, owner of Taco del Sol.
Shalon put a petition on the counter, which has since been signed by hundreds of her customers, some of whom said that weren't even aware bikes were prohibited there.
Those who would like to see bikes on the walking mall say that there should be restrictions as to where the bikes can ride and how fast. However, people who are against allowing bikes say there are already restrictions in place and people don't follow them.
One Helenan said: "I just don't think that it would work, kids don't listen to it anyways, they use their skateboards and their bikes on here now, why would they obey that?"
Then she added,"I just don't think they need bicycles on here, theres a lot of other places they can go."
Shalon believes that those other paths taken to avoid the walking mall may be more dangerous for cyclists.
"Especially for our young kids - I was reversing out of a parking space and I almost hit a young boy on his bike, probably about eight years old, headed to the library and he was following the rules, but we had created an unsafe situation for him," she said.
Safety seems to be a concern on both sides of the argument.
"If they're riding too fast, running into people...as long as there's restrictions, I don't see a problem," said a Helena man.
This issue will likely be discussed among city commissioners at an administrative meeting in the future.