Ocean City Today
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Resort officials continue to search for bike light funding

Environmental commission proposes to make riding at night illegal without equip.
By Katie Tabeling | Nov 16, 2017
Pfc. Michael Dzurnak installs a light on a student worker’s bicycle in 2016. City officials are working to re-institute this program again.

(Nov. 17, 2017) Although Ocean City officials will make it illegal for bicyclists to ride at night without proper lighting, how they will secure the funding to provide the LED lights for cyclists remains to be seen.

Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer has drafted a bike light ordinance to be presented to the council next Monday night. The ordinance would require bikes ridden on all resort roads at night to be equipped with a white front light that is visible from at least 600 feet.

The current ordinance, which aligns with state law, only applies to state roads, such as Coastal Highway, Baltimore Avenue and the Boardwalk.

“The law is the state law, and the ordinance already out there. We’re just adding three words: roads, alleys and streets,” Blazer said during the Nov. 8 “Green Team” committee meeting.

But Councilman Tony DeLuca’s goal of finding grant money for the LED lights is not been rewarding. His hope is to buy enough portable lights to install them on J-1 visa students’ bikes next summer with no cost to the taxpayers.

Last summer, he said, 75 percent of the 4,000 J-1 students in Ocean City used bikes for primary transportation.

“[The lights] are something we really need. I’d like that the fine [for this violation] is the police installs the bike light for you,” he said. “It’s not good news about the grant funding. But there was an idea that Wal-Mart could install the lights before they sell them to the kids.”

Wal-Mart in Berlin is where most of the J-1 visa students buy their bikes, according to city officials. The idea is that the price of the bike would increase roughly $3 for the price of the light, although Wal-Mart officials would have no way to determine who is a student worker while making the sales.

Blazer also suggested that Ocean City could solicit funding from various organizations, like the American Legion, the Elks Lodge, Knights of Columbus, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 10, the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association and the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce.

“They may have $500 apiece in their budget to donate to a nonprofit, and we already get donations for the beach [stands],” she said. “It would just be for this year, not like every year.”

In the meantime, Blazer has ordered a set of LED bike lights at $7.49 to test if they are the type that resort officials want on the streets. If this brand is selected, it would cost $22,470 to pay for lights for the estimated J-1 visa students on bikes.

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