Bikes on sidewalks discussed at council meeting 9.26

Written by David Green.

Morenci police chief Larry Weeks told an audience at Monday’s city council meeting that he’s heard about problems with bicyclists on downtown sidewalks ever since he arrived here five years ago.

Reaching a solution isn’t an easy thing for him and for many residents with whom he’s spoken.

“I’m not comfortable confronting an eight-year-old child and saying, ‘Get off the bike or I’ll ticket.’”

At the same time, he said, he hesitates to force young bicyclists into the downtown street traffic.

It’s not eight-year-olds that are the problem, an audience member answered during a question-and-answer session.

Laws should be enforced equally, Weeks said, noting that being struck by a bicycle can cause an injury no matter how old the rider.

Resident Doug Erskin said he’s witnessed teenage bike operators doing tricks on downtown sidewalks and damaging the decorative flowerpots.

He said he spoke to a police officer, but didn’t see any action taken.

Chief Weeks he said hasn’t made enforcement of the ordinance a priority, but his department can take a more proactive approach if that’s what council wants.

He said he believes he has some discretion in enforcing ordinances. Resources are people, he said, and he will have to shift priorities to increase sidewalk patrolling.

Due to budget cutbacks, Weeks said, his department has fewer officers than five years ago and can’t do what he believes to be proper drug surveillance.

“There’s a give and take to everything we do,” he said.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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