By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento City Hall his peddling a new bicycle plan for downtown, increasing fines for bicyclists using sidewalks instead of streets.

While the city promotes itself as bike-friendly, bicycle advocates disagree.

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To see how difficult it is bicycling through Downtown Sacramento, Jim Brown with Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates took CBS13’s Steve Large for a spin. He showed that getting through downtown on two wheels can be tricky.

“Well this is a bike lane, but this bike lane happens to be used by delivery trucks, and the loading zone for the hotel so that makes it a little tougher to ride through as we’ll see,” he said.

If you want to bike to work in Sacramento, that’s just how it is. There are no buffered bike lanes like there are in other big cities. Instead, bicycles and cars move side-by-side. The constant confrontation between bikes and cars can create a battle on the streets.

Some bicyclists avoid the downtown streets by using the sidewalks, but the City Council is working to stop that by upping penalties for cyclists caught on sidewalks from $5 to $250 for a third offense.

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“Just simply fining people isn’t going to make it safer downtown; it’s not going to make it more convenient to ride a bike; it’s just going to make it costlier,” Brown said.

“The question is how do you balance the needs of pedestrians and cars and bikes,” City Councilman Jay Schenirer said.

It’s no easy journey to make the city safer while aspiring to be bike-friendly.

“If you don’t fix the streets along with the ordinance you’re not really solving the problem,” Brown said.

A committee passed the bicycle sidewalk ordinance on Tuesday, and it now heads to the City Council for final approval.

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Sacramento averages 200 crashes between cars and bicyclists a year. City records show each year one or two of those crashes are deadly.