Ocean City Today

Council: education needed for bike lights, not new policy

By Katie Tabeling | Nov 30, 2017

(Dec. 1, 2017) Councilman Tony DeLuca’s efforts to reform Ocean City’s bicycle light policy flickered and died Tuesday, as the City Council opted not to involve itself in the issue.

DeLuca and his “Green Team” Committee sought to require all bicyclists to have front and rear lights that would be visible from at least 500 feet at night. This would be done by re-wording a current ordinance to require bike lights at night on every public street or road in the resort. As it is now, the ordinance affects state roads only.

However, a majority of the council said the new law would be “unenforceable.” Councilman Wayne Hartman also took issue with DeLuca’s second proposal: having police officers outfit violators’ bikes with LED lights.

“That’s taking more time away from the police department, and I don’t know if it’s something I want our police involved in to be honest with you,” Hartman said during Tuesday’s session. “Most bikes come with reflectors that meet the letter of the law.”

DeLuca wanted to provide the lights at no cost to the taxpayers, and considered working with Wal-Mart. The idea is that the Berlin store would install the bike lights on any bicycle purchased by J-1 visa students.

Hartman pointed out that program would solve some of the problem, as there are thousands of other visitors and residents who ride their bikes in the resort.

“That’ll solve 10 percent of the problem, with international students. So, if that’s the real issue, there’s quality of life task forces to handle this,” he said. “I know this has a good intent, but I don’t see how its perceivable to achieve this.”

Council President Lloyd Martin agreed, and compared it to the Boardwalk smoking ban.

“We always say, ‘education first is the way to go’ and it’s the same thing,” Martin said. “I do believe in the intent. With my kids growing up here, I didn’t want them biking in the dark, but I think an education program is best-suited for this.”

The council suggested that sponsor and volunteer groups hand out LED lights to the J-1 visa students next summer, instead of rewriting the law on the books. DeLuca will consult with the Green Team on future outreach efforts.


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