Proposed Sidewalk Biking Ban: Bad Bill, Good Opportunity.
Yesterday, Councilmember Jim Graham introduced a bill that would ban bicyclists from riding on the sidewalk in the District wherever there is a bike lane in the same direction. In the accompanying press release, Graham cites as a reason for the bill the death of 78-year old Quan Chu, who was struck by a bicyclist while walking with his wife. This event was tragic, but it did not take place on a sidewalk. We recognize that as more people bike and walk in the District, it is important to have clear norms for interactions between bicyclists and pedestrians to keep people safe. We also recognize that the present regulation of bicyclists on the sidewalk makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. For those who don’t know, the present system is to:
- prohibit bikes in an arbitrarily shaped “Central Business District,”
- place no signage telling anyone where that is,
- place bike parking and actual bikeshare stations on the sidewalks in that zone, then
- occasionally have MPD ticket bicyclists for using the bike infrastructure the District placed on the sidewalk in the area where the District prohibits sidewalk riding.