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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

O'Fallon mulls Grand Prix bicycle race

The Metro-East Cycling club wants to put on the second annual Grand Prix bicycle race on May 30 in O'Fallon, but the Belleville News-Democrat reports that some aldermen think the club has to do more to insure the safety of participants and spectators before they will back the event.

"Last year, there were teenagers standing in the street stopping and directing traffic," Ward 5 Alderman Dennis Renner said during an O'Fallon City Council Community Development Committee meeting. "The council tightened restrictions on charities collecting money at intersections because they were afraid someone was going to get hurt. So how can we allow teenagers to stand in the street and direct traffic?"

Organizer Steve Schmidt says the club will require volunteers to be at least 18 years old this year and will be given swimming noodles to make them more visible, but Alderman Michael Bennett isn't convinced the swimming noodles are enough to make them visible.

Police Chief John Betten was skeptical about the race last year, but he has no qualms about allowing the race this year. "I had not seen how one of these events is orchestrated or how they come off. But it went surprisingly well and seeing it helped put a lot of those fears to rest," Betten said during the meeting.

The full City Council will vote on allowing this year's race at Monday's council meeting. Last year, the race drew about 250 participants and spectators, and race organizers hope to draw 400 people this year.

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 1:01 AM

Swimming noodles? Whatever happened to wearing brightly colored vests?
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