In a move to help educate users, the Centre Region Council of Governments started the Share the Path Centre Region program, kicking off with a public awareness event Thursday at Sunset Park.
Inspired by a concerned Ferguson Township resident, the program seeks to “provide users of our shared-use paths information about path rules and laws in Pennsylvania.”
“Share the Path program is an awareness campaign to improve the safe use of our expanding bikeway system for all users,” Ferguson Township Manager Mark Kunkle said.
The program was conceived in November 2012, said Centre Regional Planning Agency transportation planner Trish Meeks, when Jack Williams, of Harvest Ridge Drive, wrote a letter to the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors detailing his concerns of shared-use path dangers.
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“It is of great concern that most of the cyclers on the paths do not follow the Pennsylvania requirement of warning walkers of their approach,” Williams wrote.
“It’s important to realize that one letter can equate to a program,” Meeks said. “A concerned citizen identified an issue on the shared-use paths, he went to the township supervisors and they took action.”
What resulted was the placement of 46 signs around the Centre Region’s shared paths, encouraging all users to be respectful of those using the path. The signs also remind cyclists of some of the rules of bicycling, such as wearing a helmet if they are under the age of 12, using lights when dark and issuing audible warnings when passing.
The Share the Path aim is to make everyone aware that there are multiple uses for paths, said COG Transportation and Land Use Committee member Steve Miller.
“The focus comes from the fact that when you have multiple speeds, the best to control the conflict is the one moving the fastest,” he said. “That’s usually cyclists.”
He said everyone using the paths is “responsible for their own safety and the safety of the other users.”
Installation of the signs started about a month and a half ago, Meeks said. The signs include a QR code in one corner, taking users to a page describing the program as well as the paths of the Centre Region.
“So if someone comes along and clicks on the QR code, they’ll get a lot more information than what’s already on the sign,” she said.
Contributions from all Centre Region municipalities funded the signs, she said.
“As a community,” Kunkle said, “let’s all be a little more aware of how we can contribute to the safe use of the bikeways while enjoying them to the fullest.”