Clarence Hogan and Sid Halsor are on the same page. They both want bicyclists to continue riding around Harveys Lake but they also want them to be safe.
As mayor of Harveys Lake Borough, Hogan wants cyclists to know they are required to follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Halsor, a cycling enthusiast who participates in weekly rides at the lake, wants the same.
“I am not against bicycling,” said Hogan, who doesn’t cycle but walks the road around the lake. “I just don’t want to see something happen.”
The issue of cyclists was raised by a borough resident at a recent borough council meeting, prompting Hogan to meet with Police Chief Charles Musial to make sure motorists and cyclists traveling Lakeside Drive are safe.
“State law requires cyclists to ride no more than two abreast on state roads,” said Hogan. “Lakeside Drive becomes a whole lot narrower if you come upon a group of bicycles. We’re just trying to get cyclists to ride single file.”
Halsor, who participates in regular Wednesday evening rides coordinated by Mike Tomalis and leaving from Grotto Pizza at the lake, said the problem of cyclists riding more than two abreast occurs when the ride first starts.
“In the beginning of the ride, there’s a lot of socializing among the riders,” Halsor said. “Beyond the lake, the group thins out.”
A resident of Dallas Borough but a Harveys Lake taxpayer and a member of that borough’s Environmental Advisory Council, Halsor said there are sometimes as many as 40 riders on the Wednesday evening rides.
“It’s challenging to manage a large group of riders,” he said, reporting that prior to the beginning of the ride, Tomasik talks about the route the group will take, reviews safety issues and reminds cyclists they should not ride more than two abreast while on Lakeside Drive.
“We need to be vigilant about letting riders know they should not be more than two abreast,” he said. “But a lot of motorists don’t give us the required four feet on a pass, either.”
Hogan, who says he is only looking out for the safety of bicyclists and motorists, says cyclists must follow the same rules of the road as operators of motor vehicles. Cyclists must stop at stop signs and must obey the speed limit of 35 miles an hour on Lakeside Drive.
“Our police officers have pulled a couple of cyclists over for running stop signs,” Hogan said. “They have issued warnings but no citations. We just want to get the warning out to them that they are being watched.”
Musial thinks that, because of cell phones, the issue of cyclists on Lakeside Drive may be blown out of proportion.
“As soon as someone sees something, like a cyclists going through a stop sign, they’re on their cell phone with 911,” he said, reporting there have only been two incidents involving a bike and a motor vehicle in the 13 years he’s been with the borough police department with only minor injuries reported in both of those incidents.
“Bicycles have a right to the roadway but they have to follow the rules of the road,” Musial said. “And motorists have to have consideration for bicycles, under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.
“I probably travel the lake road more than anyone in the borough,” Musial added. “I”ve never had an issue with a biker not moving to the furthest right when I come upon them.”
Musial said most motorists are aware that cyclists use the lake road so they slow down; however, some motorists are in too much of a hurry and don’t like slowing down when they come upon a cyclist.
“Motorists need to know that cyclists have a right to the road, too,” he said.