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Rye Selectmen Pass Single-File Rule

Sam Evans-Brown

Selectmen in the Seacoast town of Rye have voted to require cyclists to ride single file on all roads in the town. The ordinance passed despite opposition from the community, and it also requires pedestrians to walk single file on Rye roads.

Similar rules are in place in Newington and Newcastle. Supporters of single file ordinances say that the narrow, winding roads on the seacoast don’t have space for two cyclists abreast.

The rule became a flashpoint after Rye’s chief of police put up a traffic sign that read, “Roads are for riding not chatting. Ride single file.”

Rye selectmen say the push to get bikes to ride single file is for the safety of the burgeoning Seacoast cycling community.

But bike-riders feel the ordinance targets them unfairly. They say it would be better to crack down on distracted driving instead.

The rule comes into effect immediately, but will be voted on again during the town-meeting next March.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.
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