EDMOND — Edmond Police Department Lt. Chuck Linhardt has traveled more than 7,000 miles on his bicycle, just for fun.
He occasionally rides his bicycle on the job at the Edmond Police Department. Through the years, Linhardt, a 30-year veteran officer, has written many tickets to people violating the bicycle laws in Edmond.
Linhardt said he thinks he might be writing more tickets to bicyclists after city leaders recently amended the bicycle ordinance. The new, stricter rules go into effect April 27.
“I don't want to write tickets to anyone,” Linhardt said. “That is why we are trying to get an early start for a safe riding season and forever more.”
Linhardt and members of the Edmond Bicycle Committee started looking at changing the city ordinance last year after bicyclist Alan Spencer was hit on July 17 by a motorist in the 12500 block of Midwest Boulevard. Then, Oklahoma City bicyclist Clyde Riggs was hit the next day in the 5200 block of E Britton Road. Both men died.
Edmond council members on March 28 unanimously adopted amendments to the ordinance, which was originally written in 1954.
The new Edmond ordinance is now stricter than Oklahoma state law. In Edmond, drivers can get a ticket if they don't stay three feet away when passing a bicycle, whether there is an accident or not. State law requires the three-foot rule, but there must be an accident before a ticket can be issued.
Violators can be fined up to $500.
Rules for cyclists
Bicyclists must ride to the right and cannot ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a path or trail. Bicyclists also must abide by all traffic laws and ride with traffic.
Another change is that bicyclists can now ride on sidewalks, except in the downtown commercial area.
“This is a good deal for everyone,” said Jan Ramseyer Fees, Edmond planning director and city liaison for the bicycle committee. “There are responsibilities for both the bicyclists and the motorists. It is to help both sides.”
Signs reminding people about the three-foot rule are being placed on police cars and throughout Edmond to help educate people about the amended ordinance.
“I want everyone to follow the ordinance,” Mayor Patrice Douglas said. “It is important that there is education on both sides.”