Indiana studying statewide bike path

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) Should Indiana have a 500-mile bike path around the state? A state task force is looking into the idea of connecting bike paths across Indiana and that is an idea it is entertaining.

The General Assembly created the Indiana Bike Trails Task Force this past year. While the group only met for the first time a month ago, the plan for a 500-mile bike path is one that generated excitement.

Indiana has more than 1,500 miles of path for biking. But state officials and cyclists say too many remain unconnected.

“Our parents live in Lebanon and they have a bike trail that they love to use but it doesn’t really get you anywhere it’s just for biking,” said Robin Hedge, who was biking in Indianapolis.

But there’s potential. The state has identified possible new paths all over the state. Wednesday morning the task force discussed ideas, including the 500-mile idea.

“We have a one-time opportunity here to inspire people to think way out of the box,” said Paul Grayson, who serves on the task force.

Supporters said the trail would have potential for a marketable bike event and could take you around the state.

But many questions remain. Many of the trails would need to be built and where would they go? Would the trail be a loop? Who would pay for it? And how much would it cost?

Plus, a 500-mile path wasn’t the only idea discussed.

“Need to understand how to put the mechanisms of doing things in place before we know what to do,” said Dean Peterson, another member of the task force.

The group has its work cut out as it tries to nail down a plan that could be bold but must also be possible.

The task force will be meeting as a whole again in December but will also meet separately in smaller groups.

The task force will make recommendations to lawmakers in July 2019.