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Benton establishes bike dismount zones across the city

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Benton, Arkansas – Many of us are excited to go for a walk or a bike ride in the recent clear weather, but sometimes walkers and cyclists don’t get along very well.

To make everyone safer, Benton city officials established dismount zones for skateboarders, cyclists, and other riders on the sidewalks.

“We want to be as proactive as possible, and make sure that people are safe,” Benton’s City Communications Director, Matt Thibault said.

Thibault claims that after a few near-misses, local officials made the decision to enact this dismount zone regulation.

“We haven’t had any major accidents, but we’ve had some near misses with bicyclists on the sidewalks and people coming in and out of businesses,” he said.

The dismount zones, according to Thibault, should help avoid it, especially as more people visit downtown.

“All of our storefronts are full downtown. So we’re seeing an increase in foot traffic as everybody branches out and then comes down and enjoys shopping, enjoys downtown,” he said.

Locals stated they believe it to be a wise decision.

“For older people like me, for mothers with little kids, that can’t get out of the way as fast so somebody could get really hurt,” said Debbie Hobbs, a local resident.

“What I like as a new business owner here on this street, which is much busier, is that you know, my customers can come in and out without having the worry of, you know, checking both ways for bikes and stuff. And especially because a lot of people bring their children down here,” Gena Bunker added.

Mike Wilson, a rider in the area, concurred. “Most of the younger riders that the whole catalyst for why this has happened, are just thinking of riding their bikes, they’re doing their tricks are doing their wheelies,” Wilson said. “And that’s all good and fine. You know, but you’re doing it in a busy part of downtown, and that doesn’t really go well.”

The City of Benton aspires to be bike-friendly, Thibault stated. “And we want to encourage everybody to come out and enjoy downtown. And we think there’s enough room for everybody to get along,” he said.

You risk receiving a fine if you don’t disembark from your bike in the designated areas as required by the ordinance.

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