Cyclists: Overgrown intersections dangerous along trailways

Many bike trails are surrounded by trees and weeds

By Claire Powell | cpowell@weareiowa.com

Published 07/27 2016 05:41PM

Updated 07/27 2016 05:44PM

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

WARREN CO.- Some cyclists say this years quick-growing trees and weeds are causing “blind” intersections along busy bike trails.

The last time Joe Madonia rode his bike, he injured his shoulder, elbow, hip and knee all down the left side of his body.

Madonia was riding along the Great Western Trail from Des Moines, through Cumming to Martensdale when he came to an intersection. He slammed on the wrong brake in order to avoid colliding with a car. That decision sent him flipping over his handle bars and into the gravel.

“If I wouldn’t have had my helmet on, I’d look like my iPod. It was shattered,” said Madonia.

Madonia said overgrown trees, weeds and corn fill his route. He added he and his niece also had to help an injured bicyclist who had a close-call and couldn’t finish riding his bike.

“Bicyclists should be cautious at all times, both parties, cars and bikes, Look at this, we have a car flying right there and didn’t even think about an intersection as far as a bicycle,” said Madonia, watching a car speed passed Rusty Spokes Bar & Grill.

Technically, the trails are the presiding county conservation’s problem to handle.

“We have 14,000 acres of parks and roughly the same staff we had ten years ago,” said Loren Lown, Polk County Conservations Parks and Natural Areas Administrator.

Lown says there are hundreds of miles of trails that they mow back several times a year. They also fill cracks, cut branches and post stop signs along the trail ways.

“At our “more clouded” intersections, most of the vegetation we get complaints about is on private land,” said Lown.

He said there is nothing any county conservation can do about private property trees or weeds. They try and cut the intersections back as much as possible but added it’s up to the car drivers and bicyclists to slow down or come to a complete stop at those intersections.

Lown said putting up lighted signs would cost the county too much money.

Conservation's rely on input from the people who use the trails everyday to tell them where the problem areas are so they can fix them.

“We want people to call. It’s a public park and we want it to be a safe experience for everybody.”

Visit the Polk County or Warren County Conservation websites to make a comment or concern about any of the park areas. 

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


comments powered by Disqus