Town of Palm Beach News

Police Up Presence on Lake Trail

Palm Beach Police have increased their visits to the popular Lake Trail after residents reported conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists, as the Palm Beach Daily News reported Tuesday.

In December, police planned an education campaign to slow bicyclists after pedestrians complained many were going too quickly. There is a 10-mph speed limit on Lake Trail and bicyclists are required to yield to pedestrians, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News.

Now, the issue doesn’t seem to be the speed of the bicycles but the sheer number of them.

Police Chief Nicholas Caristo told a town committee that his officers are on the trail at least twice a day, and that there are more people using the trail than a few years ago.

Police officers “haven’t encountered speeding bicyclists, but are a lot more people on it,” Caristo told the Public Safety Committee. “That’s what people’s frustrations are. We do see two bikes abreast.”

Police Up Presence on Lake Trail

Many of the cyclists appear to be from out of town, biking into Palm Beach over the Flagler Memorial Bridge. This bridge was rebuilt a few years ago with wider traffic lanes, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes. There is easy access to Lake Trail from the bridge’s landing on the Palm Beach side.

Public Safety Committee member and councilwoman Julie Araskog said she knew of an incident in which a resident was hit by a bicyclist while walking on the trail.

Because the trail is classified as multi-modal, not a sidewalk, it’s legally there for shared use by bicyclists and pedestrians, Caristo said.

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The Palm Beach police department already posted additional signs reminding riders of the 10-mph speed limit on the trail and that bikes should yield to pedestrians, he said.

Caristo also mentioned that bicyclists should use the horn or bell on their bikes to call out to pedestrians when approaching them from behind, he said. He added that officers are taking every opportunity to educate cyclists about the rules of the trail.

The matter has been referred to the council’s Ordinances, Rules and Standards Committee, which will consider whether or not to tighten regulations. Mayor Gail Coniglio has called the trail a “speedway” for bicyclists suggested the council consider lowering the speed limit.

The committee, made up of Araskog, who chairs it, and Councilman Lew Crampton, meets at 9:3- a.m. Thursday, and Lake Trail regulations are on the agenda.

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Alanna Barrett

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