HELENA – Bike Walk Montana set up in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday to help educate lawmakers and visitors about the importance of creating safe and accessible spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We’re all pedestrians at some point in our day,” says Bike Walk Montana Board Member Logan Smith. “When you get out of your car and walk into work, you’re a pedestrian. And so, making sure people are safe in all parts of their commute or their recreational rides – it’s really important to keep that in mind.”
The displays on hand in the rotunda highlighted topics such as the economic impact of recreation tourism, the needs of those with disabilities and overall matters of safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Bike Walk Montana Executive Director Doug Habermann says they promoted a bill this legislative session on safe passing distances for vehicles passing bicyclists, but it did not make it out of committee.
“Right now in the law, it’s somewhat unclear. It talks about being safe and reasonable. And what we want to do in that particular legislation is say it’s three to five feet. Create a defined distance. It’s already taught in the driver’s ed classes, so we just want to bring everything in line,” says Habermann.
Bike Walk Montana also works to get traffic calming devices in areas that need traffic to slow down to keep pedestrians safe.
They will be installing one such device in a Helena neighborhood next week.
Reporting by Melissa Jensen for MTN News