SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) – If you didn’t know, it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk in many places around the city and there’s even a fine for breaking that law. But Tuesday night, the city council will discuss changing the law to make it legal to ride on the sidewalk.
“Riding down J Street — that’s pretty frightening,” said Justin Weisenburger. “The worst possibly that’s going to happen on the sidewalk, you’re going to stop too quick maybe knock somebody down and you’re going to fall off, but you’re not going to get hit by a moving vehicle.”READ MORE: Wanted Attempted Homicide Suspect In Custody After Chase, Crash In Roseville
In some areas, bikers only have the option of riding on the street. It’s illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk in the city of Sacramento– except in a “residence district.”
“Actually, it’s actually defined by a California vehicle code, not by city code,” said Jennifer Donlon Wyant, Active Transportation Program Specialist with the Department of Public Works. “It means that whether or not the block face has more than 50% of housing, which is difficult for a police officer who is citing a bicyclist in the field to determine.”
The new proposal would allow biking on the sidewalk and only ban it in certain areas.
“Where it makes sense, and doesn’t make sense for bicycles to be allowed to ride on the sidewalk,” Wyant said.
Weisenberger, who works at Mikes Bike, can see the pros and cons of both. And it depends on whether or not an experienced rider is behind the handle bars. But avid cyclist Ernie Sayo disagrees.READ MORE: COVID Omicron Variant Detected In Vaccinated Minnesotan Who Traveled To NYC Anime Convention
“I’d rather stay in the road where there’s a bike path where you can stay there, stay on the line,” Sayo said. “Just avoid chaos.”
Still, in some parts of the city, the bike lanes disappear and Weisenberger says that can create a dangerous situation.
“That’s pretty scary because cars come at you pretty close within a foot, foot and a half,” he said. “People get a little aggressive towards bikers sometimes if you’re riding on the street without a bike lane.”
By August, the city plans to finalize its bike master plan, which includes creating more bike lanes and better connectivity. Another part of the ordinance proposal is increasing the penalty for riding on the sidewalk where it’s prohibited. Right now it’s $5. Under the new proposal, the first offense would be $25, the second $100 and the third $250.
“If the person continues and continues to perhaps break the law, we want to discourage them from continuing to do that,” Wyant said.MORE NEWS: Boxer Nathan Sharp Arrested At Turlock Home In Connection With Road Rage Incident
If the city approves the plan tonight – they will release it to the public. Then it’s open for comment and a vote at next week’s meeting.