« Study: OSU students blind, illiterate, and not safety conscious | Main | Welcome Planet Cycling Readers »

November 26, 2005

Proposal to decriminalize Sidewalk Cycling in Toledo, Ohio

Problem: Many Adults are afraid to ride their bike on the street, and instead ride on the sidewalk, thus breaking the law.


Allowing adults to ride bicycles on the sidewalks along Toledo's busier streets would "decriminalize" an option for many who do so now because they fear biking in traffic, Councilman Ellen Grachek says.

Maybe this nice, misguided, Lady needs to read the earlier story from Scarborough.

Local cyclists reacted to this idea in no uncertain terms.

Among comments:

a city law amendment Ms. Grachek proposes to allow sidewalk cycling if the street speed limit is 35 mph or higher would only increase the number of car-bike collisions.

"It would be a terrible, terrible mistake to put bicyclists and car drivers in a serious, multi-intersection dilemma," Terry Waltzer, owner of the Bike Route cycling shop, 5201 Monroe St., said during a hearing before council's law and criminal justice committee.

"Cars have enough trouble looking out for cyclists on the streets. If you allow cyclists on the sidewalks, you're doubling the number of intersections and doubling the chance of an accident," Mr. Waltzer said.

"Bicycles are vehicles and should be using the roadways, not the sidewalks," agreed Ron Myers, who, like Mr. Waltzer and others who spoke, belongs to a local cycling organization.

You tell 'em!

The good Lady had this to say:

City law allows children age 14 or younger to ride bicycles on sidewalks. Ms. Grachek's proposed ordinance would allow sidewalk travel for cyclists of any age on the faster streets where traffic is heaviest.

"We are not mandating that anybody has to ride on the sidewalk," she explained, but those who fear being struck from behind on a busy street will have a legal alternative. People 15 and older still could not bike on side-street sidewalks.

Oh, ok, so it's only to be on certain sidewalks, not all.

And how many people are going to actually know this, and follow the rules, or just assume the law applies everywhere in town?

All this hand ringing, and proposal making, was prompted by 1 man:

The proposal was prompted by the experience of cyclist Melvin Surprise III. While riding on a sidewalk along Alexis Road on July 22, he collided with a vehicle exiting a driveway. He was ticketed and convicted in Toledo Municipal Court, though no penalty was assessed.

"I don't feel safe in the street," Mr. Surprise testified yesterday. "When I'm driving, I know I'm not anticipating where cyclists are going to be. And with people on cell phones nowadays, they're not paying attention to [bicyclists]."

Ed-U-Cate yourself, you nimrod, before your get yourself, or someone else, injured, or killed.

Educate yourself as a car driver, and as a cyclist, and you will be a better practitioner of both.

That way no-one will get an un-expected surprise ( pardon the pun! ).

Local Cops say a big concern about the proposal is the risk of collisions on the sidewalks, especially since the law says that pedestrians have the right-of-way over any sidewalk cyclist.

So what next?

The reaction is both welcome, and not un-expected:

The next step for the proposed ordinance is a council vote. But Karyn McConnell-Hancock, the law committee's chairman, said after yesterday's hearing she was not sure when she would bring it back up before the full council.

Smart thinkin' if ya ask me. ;-D

Toledo Blade, of Ohio ( Nov. 1st ): Cyclists see danger in proposed law.

November 26, 2005 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink


There is a serious flaw in your logic. You are saying it's unsafe for anyone 15 or older to ride on the sidewalk because it doubles the number of intersections and yet we encourage children under 15 to utilize the sidewalk for riding a bike. Please someone explain the logic to me.

Posted by: Dan Gordon | May 28, 2006 9:14:07 PM

Not being an expert in such matters I'll just say that the Young Skulls Full of Mush Set, of Elementary, and Middle School age, have no business being on busy streets unless they have some knowledge concerning how to safely navigate the dangers.

The issue is a difficult one that's for sure, but I'd say that a 10 year old is safer riding along the side of the road in his neighborhood streets than riding on the street along a busy city thoroughfare.

There ARE educational efforts regarding such youthful cyclists, and that is good, but there needs to be more.

Cycling on the sidewalk, though not recommended for older teens, and adults, deemed to presumablly be at least more able to be aware of their surroundings, and even able to edumicate themselves about Safe Cycling, is still safer for children than being on the street.

Admittedly the issue is a complicated one.

Posted by: Kiril Kundurazieff | May 28, 2006 9:36:34 PM

I ride everywhere, weather permitting, and 95% of the time it is on a sidewalk.

I have 48+ years experience doing this without a single incident involving another vehicle of any kind or pedestrian!

With the high ratio of cell-phone use during the operation of motor vehicles in roadways, I feel much safer riding the sidewalks due to the likelihood of a distracted or careless driver veering over the white line on the right side of the road and hitting me.

In 2003 I rode from Florida to Findlay, OH. and two close calls were due to this scenario.

When a person is used to negotiating traffic at the intersections of sidewalks and driveways or businesses the learned experience becomes instinctual and at least in my case has resulted in a perfect safety record.

I am aware of several accidents due to bicycles on roadways, and all too often it is traumatic.

Sidewalks afford otherwise unshielded vehicles and their occupant(s),driver, a necessary buffer zone from motorized vehicles.

Posted by: Pete Kidwell | Aug 27, 2016 12:48:49 AM

Post a comment