West Lafayette proposes changes to bike ordinance

West Lafayette city leaders are drawing up a new rule, after realizing the city has no ordinances protecting bikers from a practice called "dooring."

Posted: May 13, 2019 11:10 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — West Lafayette city leaders are drawing up a new rule, after realizing the city has no ordinances protecting bikers from a practice called "dooring."

That's when a driver opens a car door to block the path of a bicyclist. City leaders are updating the bike ordinance to give legal definition for "dooring" - and include consequences for those who do it.

They're also strengthening the bike ordinance in other ways, and broadening it to include anyone using a street or sidewalk legally without a car.

Assistant engineer Marcus Smith said this raises awareness as West Lafayette transitions into more pedestrian friendly city.

"Pushing this ordinance through creates a conversation and it shows people we care and that this is an issue and it's something they should be looking out for," said Smith. 

Smith is also an avid cyclist who believes more needs to be done to protect people who choose not to drive to get where they need to go.

"Having our police show up and have these conversations after the fact isn't going to change an unfortunate situation."

The ordinance also makes it illegal to park in a bike lane and sets clear rules for where a cyclist can ride. The changes will go before the city council in June. 

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