DC Laws: Comparing with other cities

10 May

I’ve mentioned before (see Post on Proposed Legislation and citizen action) that the Business Petition to Ban Sidewalk Bicycling notes, among other things, that most cities do not allow bicyclists to ride on sidewalks. And, having lived in several cities, I know that is true. But how true? At the request of some of you who are interested in doing something, I’ve started more formal research on the subject and will try to post that in the future. But one city I investigated early, simply because in my support letter supporting the business petition, I wanted to use the line : ” from New York to San Francisco, bikes are prohibited from riding on the sidewalks.” I knew NYC law well, having lived there, but not San Francisco. I found the info I needed and more.

And I wanted to share with you an eminently sensible view from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition site. They are advocates for bicyclists but recognize that sidewalks are meant for pedestrians. Now the SF law is that it is against the law for anyone 13 years of age and older to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. But they add:

San Francisco is a bustling, vibrant city with people going in many means of travel: bus, streetcar, foot, bike, skateboard. This inevitably means that some conflicts will occur as we all converge in public space. …Our position is clear that sidewalks are for people to walk. Our advocacy work is largely focused on making our streets safer for bicycling, so that more people choose to bike on the street and fewer people feel the need to sometimes travel on the sidewalk out of fear of using uncomfortable, highly-trafficked streets.

The SF bike coalition even has a fine poster that shows emphasizes San Francisco law entitled : WALK YOUR BIKE ON THE SIDEWALK and showing figures of the reasons why: a man with a cane and a woman with a small child in hand flanking a sensible bicyclist walking his bike.

In DC’s case, of course, the law doesn’t protect people walking on sidewalks like SF’s does. But, if we can get our law changed to this reasonable approach, I for one would be willing to go to bat for more bike lanes and other protections for bicyclists. But FIRST change the law to protect our most vulnerable–pedestrians walking on the sidewalks.

Now I’m going to try something here to see if it works ( I still haven’t mastered Links on WordPress) but I’m going to give you the Internet address so you can see the SF Bike Coalition site for yourself. It’s worth it.

http://www.sfbike.org/?sidewalks

It didn’t turn blue, or anything I’m used to on email. So you may have to type it in yourself on a search. sorry about that.

Have a good weekend and STAY ALERT AND STAY SAFE.

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