Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Riding on the sidewalk in a business district

There were some comments at last night’s council hearing to the effect that its against the law to ride on a sidewalk in a business district in Los Alamos. Here is the actual code. (A) does not prohibit sidewalk riding, it simply says to do so safely.  Note that in (b), there used to be some private signs in town prohibiting sidewalk riding on private property. A private posting doesn’t have force of law under 38-553, but could result in the landowner asking you to leave the premises. I am not aware of any County signs prohibiting sidewalk riding under authority of 38-553. I will copy Kyle and Charlie Trask to check.

Sec. 38-553. - Riding on sidewalks.
(a) No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district with careless or reckless disregard for pedestrians or other vehicles.
(b) No person shall ride a bicycle on any sidewalk or street when signs are posted prohibiting bicycles on the sidewalk or street.
(c) When signs are posted requiring bicycles to use sidewalks or paths adjacent to a street, no person shall ride a bicycle on the street adjacent to the sidewalks or paths.
(d) Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
(e) A person propelling a vehicle by human power across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
(Ord. No. 85-218, § 2, 1995; Code 1985, § 10.11.013)


Jimbo said...

Hi Khal,

Thanks for posting and clarifying this. The Central Park Square area does have signs posting the prohibition of bicycles (and skateboards) on the sidewalk. I don't recall whether it references the ordinance. The property owners routinely see me on my bike in that area (I get off and walk the bike if it's congested), but since I'm a tenant of the area and don't ride like a maniac, I've never had them holler at me for riding. Once again it goes to this idea of the legal versus the practical, I guess.

Khal said...

Hi, Jimbo

That is private property, so the landowner can set his own rules, subject, of course, to the rest of us voting with our wallets and not doing business there if the rules were outrageous. He/she can also post non-standard signs.

However, I concur with the concerns of having cyclists and skateboarders riding on busy sidewalks. Its never the conscientious rider who screws things up. Its the bozo and I could point some out. Also, if I were the landowner, I'd worry about my liability exposure the first time a pedestrian is decked trying to access a store.

I've done business there and have ridden to my destination, gotten off the bike and walked it across the sidewalk without insult. I think everyone involved knows the difference between someone riding a bicycle to a store as transportation and someone doing BMX tricks bouncing off of senior citizens as bollards.

In contrast to private property, if the DPW Director were to post public property, for example, the sidewalks on Central, as no riding, I strongly suspect the ordinance would be cited on the signs.