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Published April 20, 2012, 10:27 PM

Bike lane debate continues to rage across the metro

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The Fargo-Moorhead airwaves are being taken over this week by a debate over bike lanes. Opinions quickly spread through the city after some fireworks at Monday's commission meeting.

The Fargo-Moorhead airwaves are being taken over this week by a debate over bike lanes. Opinions quickly spread through the city after some fireworks at Monday's commission meeting.

Dave Piepkorn – Fargo City Commissioner: “And then you put a bike route on a truck route. Yes, 10th and University are as well. I don't know how to describe it, but if you worked for me, you wouldn't work for me.”

That exchange was between Commissioner Dave Piepkorn and city engineer Jeremy Gorden

Bike lanes have been suddenly appearing in Fargo for the last couple of years. That's because it's part of a comprehensive bike-friendly plan; a plan passed by metro cog, a board commissioner Piepkorn is actually on.

Dave Piepkorn – Fargo Commissioner: "I’m supportive of bikes but these the bike lanes on our main arterials, this isn't common sense this is not a good use of our tax money to put bikes on those mains."

A point voiced by Piepkorn and lots of people on talk radio this week, people saying these proposed bike lanes wouldn't be safe on North 10th and University. We took a poll on Facebook today and 80% said they think it's safer riding on a sidewalk than a street. The experts say that's misconception, you're actually 4 times more likely to be in an accident.

Jeremy Gorden – City Engineer: “Is it a safe project? In my opinion it is, we've got the room we've got the street width and if you can put bikes on the street and give them their own piece of the pavement and stripe it and sign it I totally think it is."

Experts in Minneapolis, the #1 rated bike friendly community in the country, agree with Gorden. The city has miles of bike lanes on roads that are far busier with faster speed limits than Fargo's north 10th or University. They say their stats show there are 50% fewer bike-vehicle crashes when bike lanes are placed. This chart shows how the number of bicyclist has sky rocketed and the number of crashes has plummeted as more lanes are striped.

Gorden adds where the bike lanes would go on University has a-third less traffic than spots farther south, and the fact it's a one-way is safer than two-way traffic.

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