Bill Barker says "it's something we wish we didn't have to do." But efforts made over the last several years to get bicyclists to slow down, be more considerate, and avoid adjacent paths didn't seem to work.
So starting this Saturday, May 28, bikes will be banned from the main path that runs the length of Picnic Point, on the UW-Madison campus.
"We were sending a mixed message," says Barker, chair of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve Committee, which made the change. "We were saying it's okay to bike on this path but not on these other ones. Now we're saying, 'You can't bike here at all."
Gary Brown, director of the preserve, says there's been no recorded accidents but "a lot of close calls" involving bicyclists. He was "definitely surprised" at the uniformity of agreement at a public meeting in March that Madison has plenty of better places to bike.
Tony Fernandez, a city project engineer who's helped plan many a Madison bike path, sent a personal note to the committee, urging it to "greatly restrict or prohibit bike access to Picnic Point." He said the path's "extreme narrowness" leads to inevitable conflicts with walkers.
"I never thought I'd be on this side of a biking issue, but I say no wheels on Picnic Point."