FARMINGTON, Mo. (KMOX) – A boost in cycling has increased tempers in the St. Francois town of Farmington.
“Because we’ve had this influx of people riding bicycles, we’ve also had a considerable amount of complaints,” Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said.
The complaints have come from motorists and cyclists alike. Baker says Farmington became a destination along the TransAmerica Trail when a former businessman turned the old county jail into a pit stop.
“The city didn’t want to tear it down but they wanted to renovate it so they thought they would put a bike hostel in the upstairs,” he explained. The hostel alone gets 400 visitors a year in addition to other recreational cyclists who come to town.
According to the police chief, some incidents have led to shouting matches, such as one in which a car turned into the path of bike. In other cases, motorists have had to wait miles for bikes to move out of the lane
“I’d say we have about a handful of bike-vehicle accidents a year. Most of them are not serious, thank God,” Baker said.
The issue, according to Chief Baker, is compounded by the city’s narrow streets.
“We actually have roadways that are not wide enough that you can park on both sides of the roadway, besides having enough room for a bicyclist to travel,” the chief explained.
Baker says that while most cyclists are well-versed in the rules of the road, a few novice riders need a refresher course and some motorists could use a lesson in patience.