Agate Pass Bridge and bicycles


The in basket: M.S. Marimon writes to say, “My husband and I moved to Bainbridge Island over 34 years ago. At that time, the Agate Pass Bridge was posted ‘Bike Riders Must Walk Over the Bridge.’ 

“That sign disappeared long ago and many times we have had to watch carefully for bike riders that insist upon riding over the bridge. We are considerate with our driving, especially where they are no bike lanes, but it is an accident waiting to happen with the heavy commuter traffic traveling north from Bainbridge.

“What will it take to have the sign posted?” she asked. 

The out basket: Probably it would take a major shift in government and societal attitudes toward bicyclists, who have grown more numerous and politically influential in the past three decades. Increasingly, they are encouraged to serve as alternatives to automobiles, even and perhaps especially during rush hour.

But there is more direct reason for the sign’s removal at Agate Pass, says T.J. Nedrow, a transportation planner for the state and the go-to guy for bicycle issues here. 

“We would all like to better accommodate both the cyclist and the traveling motorist crossing the bridge,” he said, “To date we’ve been able to do little more than continue to analyze opportunities, provide education measures and respond to inquiries and complaints.

“We’ve stopped short of prohibiting cyclists on the roadway,” he said. “For starters, access to the sidewalks has been made difficult with recent safety improvements (made with motorists in mind).  Bridge railing safety improvements have also made it more difficult to walk the bikes across the bridge.  

“The sign that was removed stating bikes had to be walked across the bridge was unenforceable since it wasn’t codified in (state law).  

“(We) researched the possibility of constructing a cantilever shared-use path section to the bridge but found the historical nature of the bridge to trump that notion. The additional weight was a serious concern for the bridge folks, as well. Lastly, we had no funding.

“Yes, the section of highway does present challenges to the cyclists using the roadway,” he said,”but to my knowledge we’ve not had a recordable car/cyclist collision accident. And the complaints have fallen off fairly significantly.  

“One could conclude that the mixture, when it does occur is being dealt with due consideration to the bicyclists (on) the roadway. That said, the cyclist would be prudent to wear highly visible clothing, ensuring that they are seen cycling upon the roadway section on the bridge.”

2 thoughts on “Agate Pass Bridge and bicycles

  1. These people have lived on Bainbridge for 34 years? You would think they would be quite familiar with the many signs that say “Share the road” and has a picture of a bike, a horse, and walkers. This is not only a Bainbridge slogan, it is the law.

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