Posts Tagged ‘Kensington Metropark’

Another helmet law to bite the dust?

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Kensington Metropark

We wrote about this in 2009: Milford Township has an ordinance requiring bicyclists to wear a helmet on the paved trails at the Kensingon Metropark.

And to be more specific, bicyclists must only wear a helmet when the paved trail is 10 feet wide.

Biking on the roads at Kensington or unpaved trails? No bicycle helmet is required.

This ordinance came about in 1996 after an inline skater had a fatal crash going down a long downhill section of trail. That segment of trail was changed and made less steep to reduce speeds, but the ordinance remained.

It may not remain for much longer according to this Observer & Eccentric article.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks has asked the township to drop the regulation, in effect since 1997, because of “inconsistencies” between the Kensington trail and adjoining trails that don’t have the rule — as well as enforcement issues, said Denise Semion, metroparks chief of communications.

“When the trail was built, it wasn’t connected to all the other trails (like it is today). It was a different time back then. Now we got people enjoying a bike ride, not required to have a helmet anywhere else, and they ride into Kensington and suddenly they have to have a helmet. It’s inconsistent for cyclists, it’s difficult to enforce. And we haven’t really been enforcing it that much (anyway),” she said, likening it to having a seat belt law in some communities, but not others.

One other issue with this ordinance is people in wheelchairs have to wear bicycle helmets.

Breaking the law at Kensington Metropark

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

This has to be among the most bizarre bike ordinances.

Milford Township regulates activities at Kensington Metropark through their ordinances. Besides requiring bicycle helmets only on the paved bike path, they have an ordinance that regulates the possession of bicycles within the park.

You basically cannot possess a bicycle within the park unless you’re riding it on the road or bike path.

The ordinance prohibits people from driving to the park with bicycles on their car. It’s not clear if you’re violating the ordinance when you stop riding your bicycle.

But as poorly written as this ordinance is, it probably isn’t legal under state law. Townships can only regulate the “licensing and use of bicycles” not their transport.

Sec. 20-147. Off-the-road vehicles and motor-driven cycles.
No person shall operate or have in his possession, within the boundaries of the Kensington Metropolitan Park, any bicycle or off-the-road motor-driven vehicle, including by way of example but not by way of limitation, any minibike, moped, motorcycle, dunemobile, snowmobile, converted snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, amphibious vehicle or similar motorized device; provided that bicycles, motorcycles and other motor-driven vehicles lawful for operation under the Uniform Traffic Code may be used to provide transportation to the park if promptly parked in a designed parking lot upon arrival or if operated on the surfaced area of a roadway excluding any roadway posted for use of authorized vehicles only; and provided, further, that bicycles may be used on designated bicycle paths.
(Code 1992, 12-139; Ord. No. 107, 9, 5-9-1972; Ord. No. 107-A1, 10, 5-21-1986)

Evaluating the Health Benefit of Bicycle Helmet Laws

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

We reported earlier the need for additional study of Australia’s mandatory bicycle helmet law. That’s been done.

An interesting study was released last month which models the health benefits of Australia’s mandatory bicycle helmet law.

The bottom line: Australia’s mandatory bicycle helmet law has adversely affected overall health.

A model is developed which permits the quantitative evaluation of the benefit of bicycle helmet laws. The efficacy of the law is evaluated in terms of the percentage drop in bicycling, the percentage increase in the cost of an accident when not wearing a helmet, and a quantity here called the “bicycling beta.” The approach balances the health benefits of increased safety against the health costs due to decreased cycling.

Using estimates suggested in the literature of the health benefits of cycling, accident rates and reductions in cycling, suggest helmets laws are counterproductive in terms of net health. The model serves to focus the bicycle helmet law debate on overall health as function of key parameters: cycle use, accident rates, helmet protection rates, exercise and environmental benefits.

This study also estimated the health impact of a mandatory U.S. helmet law would cost approximately $5 billion per year.

The idea of a Michigan state law requiring bicycle helmets came up during a 2004 Senate hearing while we were updating Michigan’s bicycle laws. I noted that helmets use should be voluntary. The kid that rides his bike with or without a helmet is far healthier than the kid that doesn’t ride a bike at all. We shouldn’t throw up barriers to having more kids riding bicycles.

Fortunately Michigan does not have a mandatory bicycle helmet law, but some Michigan communities do:

  • Adrian (under 15)
  • E. Grand Rapids (under 18)
  • Farmington Hills (under 16)
  • Kensington Metropark (all ages)

Among these, the Kensington helmet requirement is quirky.

The Metroparks don’t require helmets. Milford Township has an ordinance that applies to bicyclists only at Kensington while riding on the paved trail where it’s 10 feet wide. And the helmet must meet the ANSI standard, eventhough there was no ANSI helmet standard from 1998 through 2003.

It appears you do not need to wear a helmet while bicycling on the roads or any unpaved designated bike trails at Kensington.

Trust Fund Grants for Metro Detroit

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
Proposed Clinton River Trail bridge over Telegraph Road in Pontiac

Proposed trail bridge over Telegraph Road in Pontiac

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board has recommended funding for 81 recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $48.5 million be funded for 2008.

This was the most ever awarded for Trust Fund grants.  This is due to the higher prices paid for mineral (including oil & gas) leases on state property.

“Michigan is blessed with natural resources and special places that should be protected and enjoyed for generations to come,” said Governor Granholm. “These recommendations represent ways that we can ensure that Michigan citizens and visitors will be able to enjoy outdoor recreation now and in the future.”

A Threat to the Trust Fund

The Trust Fund is set up so that it can continue to fund recreation projects and land acquisition projects after the gas and oil run out.  That’s not the threat.

The threat is the Transportation Funding Task Force who recently recommended that the Trust Fund monies be diverted into the transportation budget.  As a whole, this was perhaps their only out-of-the-box recommendation yet it only shows how out-of-touch they are with reality.

Fortunately in 1985 Michigan voters put the Trust Fund in the state constitution to protect it from bad ideas such as this.

In the words of Dennis Muchmore, the MUCC Executive Director, “Raiding the Trust Fund would be an outrageous and unwarranted attempt to circumvent the public will.”

2008 Recommended Grants – Recreation Projects

Clinton River Trail Bridge (Pontiac), $485,000. This project will construct a new pedestrian bridge, approach and ramps over Telegraph Road.  This is absolutely huge and it almost didn’t make the cut.  This is only partial funding.  Additional grant money will be required.

Bell Creek Park Non-Motorized Trailway (Redford), $450,000. This project includes development of 600 feet of elevated boardwalk across a floodplain of the Bell Branch of the Rouge River, connecting two sidewalk ends. A 75-foot long bicycle/pedestrian bridge will span the river.

Kensington Metropark-Milford Trail Connector, $315,000. The project would include 1.2 miles of paved trail from the Kensington Metropark loop trail to the Milford-Kensington Trail (at the Dairy Queen.)

2008 Recommended Grants – Land Acquisitions

DNR  Southeast Lower Peninsula Land Consolidation, $4 million. This project will acquire various properties within Southeast Michigan, but especially private land within our state parks.

Academy Preserve Acquisition (Monroe), $2,192,500. This project will acquire approximately 128 acres of open space in the City of Monroe with a portion of Frenchtown Township. The site includes an oak savannah, oak-hickory forest, lowland forest, farmland and a forested island in the River Raisin.  There you go, Erie Hiker!

Michigan Air-Line Railway (West Bloomfield), $1,452,500. This project will acquire approximately 17 acres, or 2.5 miles, of railway corridor that connects the existing West Bloomfield trail west to Haggery Road.  This is great news for a trail project we discussed earlier.

Milford Continues on the Right Path

Thursday, October 9th, 2008
Riding the Milford Trail

Riding the Milford Trail (Photo by Bill Herman)

Milford is continuing to push ahead as a major regional outdoor recreational center.  They are combining the quaint, authentic small downtown atmosphere with biking, walking, and equestrian trails as well as the Huron River.

Milford is surrounded by the nearby Milford mountain bike trail, Highland State Recreation Area, Proud Lake State Recreation Area, Island Lake State Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark.

And to sweeten the attraction, they’re working to connect all the trails to the Village.  The Huron Valley Trail and Lakes Community Trail are both nearby.

The latest progress is on the 3-mile trail connecting Kensington to the Village.  Currently under construction, it’s expected to be completed by next Memorial Day.

The Detroit News recently covered this new trail construction.  Note that the article photos were taken by longtime mountain biker Bryan Mitchell.

Detroit News:  Workers blazing a trail for biking, walking, fun