Bikes, cars must share one of Wausau's busiest roads - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Bikes, cars must share one of Wausau's busiest roads

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Wausau's Grand Avenue project is halfway done. But, you might have already noticed some changes. That includes a few new symbols on the road.

Drivers, watch out. A new vehicle is hitting the road.

“Bicycles will be allowed on the roadway on Grand Ave. or the sidewalk all the way from the south city limits to the courthouse,” explained Lt. Nathan Pekarske of the Wausau Police Department.

Markings, called sharrows, are now painted along Grand Avenue. The markings are designed to make drivers aware that bicycles and vehicles must share the road.

“There will be a change and you will see a change in people using the roadway and you'll have to change your driving behavior accordingly,” said Lt. Pekarske.

The new bike spaces are part of a major reconstruction project. As part of it, the outside lanes are wider. Officials say that will help accommodate everyone.

“When a bicycle is on the roadway, motorists have to give bicycles three feet of room," said Lt. Pekarske.

But some drivers we spoke with say the change is dangerous.

“People don't always pay attention, especially when they're on their cell phones, so it could cause injuries,” said Justin Fisher of Kronenwetter.

Bikers disagree.

"Is Grand Avenue ideal? No. Is it one of the shortest ways from point A to point B depending on where you're going by bike? Yes. Be aware of cars, don't fear the cars. Get out and use it. Show them that we wanted this and that we need this and the more we use it the easier it will be for everyone to transition," said John Nowaczyk.

Nowaczyk is the owner of Sprocketz Bikes in Weston. He's also an avid bicyclist. He says these new bike spaces are a step in the right direction for the biking community.

“I'm all for this and I'm ready to help promote it. As soon as the construction is done I'll be utilizing it,” explained Nowaczyk.

While change can be tricky, everyone agrees it's all about awareness.

“It'll be new. People will have to adjust, people will have to get used to it,” said Nowaczyk.

And work together, to share the road.

Bicyclists are allowed on the sidewalks on Grand Avenue and the three major bridges throughout the city. Police say they can use that option if they feel safer.

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