Palatine took a step toward becoming a bicycle friendly community Monday, when the Village Council approved a bike plan, supporters said.
"This was the first step to do that," said Wayne Mikes, owner of , 155 N. Northwest Highway. "That was our goal-to make Palatine a bicycle friendly community. We have a lot of other steps."
Mikes was part of the Greater Palatine Bicycle Task Force, a grassroots organization that was heavily involved in the development of the plan.
Harry Spila, Palatine's director of community services, presented the plan to the Village Council Monday. He said encouraging bicycling has many benefits–exercise opportunities for residents, tourism and transportation.
"It meets transportation needs," Spila said. "I was really surprised by a lot of the public input we got–how many people use bicycles to go shopping or to school or to go work."
Palatine received an to fund the development of the plan. Spila said the grant and the interest of residents drove the process forward.
Spila said the such as trails already maintained by the Palatine Park District, bike lanes, and designated bike routes on quieter residential streets.
One of the most important aspects of the plan will be improved education for bicyclists and motorists.
"Lot of people are really not aware of what the rules of the road are for bicyclists," Spila said. "And motorists are not familiar with what their rights are either so there is a lot of conflict at times between bicyclists and motorists."
Moving forward Palatine will begin implementing some of the easier aspects of the plan–such as striping for bike lanes. Spila said other aspects of the plan could take years, however, and he suggested the development of a bicycle advisory committee.
Mikes said the improvements outlined in the plan will not be costly to the village.
"Our goal from day one was minimal cost," Mikes said. "We were trying to keep this down to the rock bottom. If we could do it through grants that would be great."
Mikes said striping, or the village creating their own signs could generate some minimal cost. Also, Spila said Palatine would seek out grant opportunities.
"One of the things we found is these grants are available...you're not eligible unless you have a bike plan," Spila said.
Mikes and Spila also said Palatine would like to work with other communities to make it possible for bike routes to link up. Another possibility is working with Community Consolidated School District 15 to create safe bike routes to schools.