A new edition to Third Avenue and Church Street in Thatcher is causing a bit of confusion for motorists and bicyclists alike.

The City of Thatcher has been working on an improvement project over the past couple of years. Engineers have created a roundabout and new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and pavement have been added.

What’s causing confusion, however, is a new lane, one designated for bicyclists.

“This is the first bike lane that has been added to the Town of Thatcher,” said Thatcher Police Chief Shaffen Woods. “As of right now, I don’t know of any immediate plans to add some more bike lanes, but it would not surprise me if more bike lanes are created.”

Even though the pavement has markings and arrows that direct cyclists which way to travel, some aren’t abiding by them.

“Our officers have noticed that there’s a lot of bicyclists that are frequently using the bike lane, but they’re traveling against traffic, where legally in a bike lane on a marked roadway, you’re supposed to travel the same direction as traffic,” said Woods. “So basically some bicyclists maybe don’t know the rules on how to use a bike lane on a roadway.”

They have not yet given any tickets to motorists or bicyclists, but they are stopping people and educating them on the appropriate bike lane rules.

“When Eastern Arizona College begins the new school year, many students who ride bikes will be frequent users of the bike lane,” said Woods.

Woods also said having the bike lane will make the sidewalks safer for pedestrians who won’t have to worry about dodging bikes while walking up and down the path.

“We want people to be aware that there will probably be bikes in the bike lane and not on the sidewalk,” said Woods. “We want people to be safe and know the proper rules of riding in the bike lane and know your surroundings while driving or riding a bike.”

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