Jonesboro Roadways: When Will They Make Room for Cyclists?

MAY 25, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:30 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The statistics are surprising. Most may think bicycle riding is a fairly safe sport, but across the nation, over 600 cyclists are killed on the road each year. The talk of bike lanes has been on the city's to-do list for years to prevent this problem from happening here and now the city wants your input on the issue.

"It's definitely an issue. It's a growing issue and it's something that the city really needs to address," says Jason Wilkie, the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Jonesboro.

The issue is the lack of space on the roadways for cyclists, something you might think is not that important, but you'd be surprised at the number of people that take interest in cycling.

"People are thinking healthier. They're trying to get out there and they're using bikes as a way to become more fit," says Wilkie.

In recent years, the concerns towards America's problem with obesity have grown tremendously and cyclists say their sport is one of many factors contributing to the fight against unhealthy lifestyles. But it's hard to enjoy that sport they say when there's not a safe place to ride on the roads. This issue has been addressed to city officials and now they've released this bikeway and walkway use questionnaire, but what is the real purpose behind this study?

"I think it will bring out the fact that there are more people out there riding and running and interested in these bike lanes, then most people will realize," says Jeff Owens, the Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation for Jonesboro and an avid cyclist.

They say the results from the survey can only help the city understand the importance of these lanes.

"It will provide more recreational opportunities and a safer venue for people to go out and ride and run," says Owens.

Cyclists are hoping roads like Lawson that already have plans for expansion, will have bike lanes and walkways as well.

"I think what we're going to see is bike lanes on future roads and future improved roads," says Jason Wilkie.

However, like any city, Jonesboro operates on a budget, and Wilkie says they will do what they can to improve the roads for cyclists.