If cyclists using the Westmoreland Heritage Trail want to be treated like cars, they need to act like cars.
That was the general sentiment among Murrysville officials after hearing from residents about the safety situation where the trail crosses Trafford Road.
“Stop signs are not optional,” Murrysville Chief Administrator Jim Morrison told council members Aug. 21. “Bicyclists must obey the signals on the bike path.”
A quick look at several Murrysville-area Facebook group pages shows comment threads with residents discussing proper procedure when using a trail crossing, and detailing close calls they’ve experienced or witnessed.
Threads include comments about cyclists riding out into oncoming traffic expecting it to stop, as well as motorists stopping unnecessarily and backing up traffic to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross Trafford Road.
“People don’t necessarily think of it in these terms, but when you’re riding a bike, you’re riding a vehicle, and you’re subject to the laws of the road,” council President Josh Lorenz said.
According to state law, while motorists must yield to cyclists or pedestrians who are already in the crosswalk, those cyclists and pedestrians are required to yield the right-of-way “to all intersecting traffic that may be close enough to constitute a hazard during the time when you are moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways.”
“We’re getting a number of complaints about it,” Morrison said. “It has to stop. Someone’s going to get hurt.”
An already-busy intersection — Trafford and Pleasant Valley roads just off Route 22 — now sees even more daily traffic with the addition of the trail.
“Exercise caution,” Lorenz said. “We have amazing facilities there, and everyone needs to keep their eyes and ears open and do what they’re supposed to do, when they’re supposed to do it.”