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.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
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  • Front.teacher Leading
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  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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