Organized bicycle groups sought permission to use the Sarah Long, or Middle Bridge to cross the border. But the Maine Department of Transportation has ruled that out, saying that the bridge railings are too rusted out. Instead, crews will be installing metal barriers to protect motorists from hitting them. That work will result in a bridge too narrow to accommodate bikes. Josh Pierce, President of the Seacoast Area Bicycle Riders group, says he's not surprised at the ruling. He also says that many bike tour groups will probably bypass the region.
“If I didn't live here, I wouldn't come here to ride a bike through New and Maine this year or next, I would go somewhere else. And I'm sure that a lot of people will change their plans because of it.”
Pierce says both states will see a negative effect from the decision, since bike riders spend money on rooms and meals, generating tax revenue. The Memorial Bridge, which was the only route open to bicyclists, isn't slated for reconstruction until July of 2013.