Indianapolis postpones vote on 24-hour access to bike trails

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A plan to provide 24-hour access to the Monon Trail and other Indy greenways is on hold.

Thursday afternoon, the parks board postponed a vote on the change until next month, to give police more time to study the implications.

Currently, the Monon and other greenways are closed from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. because of safety concerns.

But with the growing number of cyclists, particularly those who commute, there's been a renewed push to expand the hours the trails are open.

Benny Krown was on the trail early Thursday morning. While he knew it was closed, he said he likes the convenience, adding, "so far I haven't had any encounters with any unsafe conditions, I typically keep my head down and ride as quickly as I can."

Charlie Rivard, who owns a bike shop in Broad Ripple, said he rides often and at all hours. He thinks the Monon should be open 24/7.

"A lot of people are out at night and exercising or recreating," he said.

But mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter said in most places there are no lights nor are there the officers who patrol on bikes during the day.

Lotter said while the mayor would like to see the hours expanded, he wants to make sure any safety concerns are addressed.

"If there would be people on the trails and they would be open, there would be an expectation there would be some level of security out there, some level of the patrols and we want to make sure we can do that," he said.

Revard said there should also be an expectation of "ride at your own risk."

"I think in today's world where everyone has a camera, a cell phone, I think that's being a little too worrisome," he said. "And I don't think there's ever a time when common sense doesn't prevail. You want to be with more than one person when you're out late."

Bill Malcolm, whose bike is his main mode of transportation, also supports 24-hour access, but said you won't find him riding after dark.

"Here in the village itself, there's a lot of businesses and (with streetlights) that would be fine, but a little bit further north and south where it's not lit...I'm just a bit of a fraidy cat," he said.

Kevin Whited with IndyCog, one of the groups spearheading the change, said he was disappointed the vote was postponed, but said he was hopeful the 24-hour access would ultimately pass.

Whited noted there were 1,700 signatures in support of the move.

He also said Indy was one of the only major cities that didn't have 24-hour access for its bike trails.

It's why the League of American Bicyclists has not elevated Indy from a bronze to silver "bicycle-friendly community."