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Posted on Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 12:43 p.m.

Should riding bicycles on sidewalks be banned in downtown Ann Arbor?

By Ryan J. Stanton

Mayor John Hieftje says he's considering bringing a proposal before the Ann Arbor City Council to restrict the use of bicycles on downtown sidewalks.

Hieftje says he's relayed the idea to a few different groups in the community and is awaiting feedback.

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Ann Arbor Police Officers Doug Martelle, left, and Mike Scherba watch the corner of Main and Liberty streets in July 2008 during a crackdown on enforcing traffic laws for bicycles.

"All you need to do is walk in downtown to understand that there are some times when bicycles are very obtrusive and people are trying to ride through a crowd of people," Hieftje said, pointing out he's seen it happen on State Street.

"So it's an issue that I would like to have some input on from the various conversation groups that are concerned with both cycling and the downtown. I think it's a serious issue and one we should be taking a good look at before somebody is seriously hurt."

Hieftje said he has been in talks with the Downtown Marketing Task Force and Eli Cooper, the city's transportation program manager. He also has asked the Downtown Development Authority for input.

"There are some tradeoffs," he noted. "There's the family that wants to ride to the library with their kids and they want to ride on the sidewalk, so how do you figure that in and handle that? That's a complication."

John Mouat, chairman of the DDA's Transportation Committee, gave a report last week on the results of a new survey that ranked 12 different possible projects for enhancing the pedestrian experience downtown. Minimizing sidewalk obstructions and getting bicycles off sidewalks ranked at the top of the list.

The second most popular option was getting more trees, planter boxes and urban gardening downtown. Trip hazard mitigation ranked third.

Mouat said the survey results seem to indicate Ann Arbor's downtown sidewalks are rich commodity. He said the committee will look for possible ways to implement some of the recommendations of the survey.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Sun, Jan 17, 2010 : 10:10 p.m.

As long as Ann Arbor continues with this penny ante rule making and parking enforcing- you will only get farther and farther away from that elusive goal set by the governor---TO BECOME A COOL CITY! hahahahah


Sun, Jan 17, 2010 : 10:06 p.m.

Just give up riding your bike in Ann Arbor as you are sure to die a premature death. Just keep driving your hummers and bitching about parking because you are a fool to try and bike it in AA!


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 9:20 p.m.

Malorie, I believe the article was talking about sidewalks in general and not about bike lanes, there are many streets that do not have a bike lane, I find people riding bikes at the intersection of liberty and main are suicidal, more likely to get hit by a parked door opening! also for the bike carts, it might be safer b.c they stay upright when the rider falls over, but they don't seem safe for downtown streets with no bike lanes and a motorist clipping the back end of it. they should just let people ride bikes downtown on the sidewalks and have it written that if pedestrian traffic warrants it, than you get off and walk your bike. next the mayor will be trying to reduce our sodium intake


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

I've never hit a pedestrian while riding on the sidewalk-which I frequently do, but I have been hit by cars three times in the last three years when riding in the streets. Fortunately, I'm impervious, but others might not be as robust. If a bicyclist is riding UNSAFELY on the sidewalk, it behooves pedestrians to clothesline them.


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 8:56 a.m.

I believe that bikes are a problem in the streets UNLESS there is a bike path. If no bike path exists, bikes should be on the sidewalk when available.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 11:27 p.m.

Malorie, please, I wasn't trying to insult you or provoke you. The problem with this discussion is no one is willing to see the other side. I was only asking that you consider the other side. I bike in the street. Have for many years. I only bike on sidewalks for the brief distance to get from a crosswalk ramp to bike parking. I'm one of those guys that slows down so much that pedestrians keep looking over their shoulder to figure out when I'm going to pass. No joke, I really downshift all the way and travel at a walking speed for that 20' or so. I don't usually walk my bike because then I take up the width of two people, or three when I'm pulling my bike trailer. I also walk downtown. I see both rare cyclists traveling faster than is reasonable (an ordinance violation), and pedestrians wandering all over the sidewalk, stopping for no apparent reason, and barging out of doorways without looking. I'd rather bike in the street. But please, try to put yourself in the shoes of the people on bikes that aren't riding dangerously and are afraid of biking in the road. No one is saying that people on bikes should be allowed to ride recklessly. The question should be do we ban the considerate people biking on the sidewalks to deal with the few who are reckless? I don't think many would propose banning motor vehicle use because some people drive recklessly. We already have ordinances that require cyclists to yield to pedestrians and bike at a reasonable speed. If we aren't willing to enforce those, is a ban really going to be enforced? It seems like it wouldn't be any harder to just make it more friendly to bike in the street. Then the ones who want to go fast can switch to the road.

Shirley Zempel

Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 6:29 p.m.

I was hit be a cyclist while walking on the diag several years ago. He was very indignant that I got in his way. Also I have been on the sidewalk on Main St. a few times while cyclists were trying to work their way thru crowded streets, apparently didn't even think of walking their bike! I'm also for reducing the space for eating on the sidewalk. Why should tables be two deep so it's hard to walk down the streat


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 2:08 p.m.

Many cities in other countries have physically separated bike lanes. Rather than putting the bike lanes between car traffic and parked cars, they put the bike lane between the sidewalk and the parked cars. Here's a description along with video.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 2:05 p.m.

I live downtown and use the sidewalks. I've had quite a few close calls. Sometimes it's just someone biking past inches from me while they are speeding, going fifteen or more miles per hour. The worst close calls have been at corners. Speeding bikers don't realize that someone may be walking on the sidewalk perpendicular to their racetrack. I try to remember to stop and stick my head out to look around the corner of the building. But you know how it it when you have a close call while driving. You are extra cautious for a while and then you forget the close call and stop being cautious. Too bad we don't have bike police patrols downtown any more. They might be able to ticket the dangerous speeding bikers.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 11:59 a.m.

bunnyabbot - That's called a BIKE LANE, and all of the points you explained are exactly what cyclists are COMPLAINING about right now. The bikes are SUPPOSED to ride there but the cyclists don't feel safe so they use the sidewalk (and some take over the sidewalk), which leads us to the issue in the article.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

KJMClark - I can't say I have. I use a combination of walking and riding the bus to get to both of my downtown Ann Arbor jobs. I really don't need to bike downtown to "get" why cyclists should be allowed to travel recklessly at dangerous speeds through pedestrian traffic. If you're one of the cyclists who slows way down or walks your bike through crowds and busy sidewalks, and anounces your presence when you're approaching someone from behind, then I thank you and I see why you wouldn't understand the problem (since you might believe all cyclists are as polite as you). I've had a cyclist run over my foot while I'm standing in front of my work on State Street, I've had several clip me while zooming past me from behind, and I've had countless near-misses usually due to the fact I have no idea there is a bike approaching at high speed behind me. Maybe I have bad luck. Maybe I'm accident prone. Or maybe, just maybe, this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. On the comments about the "door zone"; I see you don't consider the "door zone" of opening business doors with pedestrians coming out of them onto the sidewalk! I'm sure running into a car door would be more painful for YOU, but it's pretty scary leaving a restaurant after lunch and nearly getting run over by a bicycle. Obviously if the bike lane is obstructed, you shouldn't use it. I think it's fine for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk when it's safer, but they NEED to follow some basic rules and be courteous in order to keep everyone safe.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 11:32 a.m.

@Gary, Great post. I agree. We need more education for everyone, and the idea of making sidewalks difficult to speed on is a great idea (I wouldn't mind it, as long as I can still use the sidewalk when I'm stuck coming home in a blizzard). As others have pointed out, there are some great biking cities both here in North America as well as the uber-biking cities in Europe. We need to bring more of their solutions to our city and stop inventing the wheel, as someone else posted earlier.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 11:25 a.m.

@KJMClark in regards to having a car pass you going 20mph within inches. I will let you know many motorists think those on bikes are daredevils for riding a bike on the street in the winter to begin with. They are trying to keep their car from slipping and now have to get around you in the slush. Also, the gutters are often full of frozen water known as ice and then that gets covered with new snow or ice, why would someone ride a bike on the edge of the street on that?

gary hochgraf

Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 11:12 a.m.

I'm a cyclist, pedestrian and motorist. Education Sure you could pass a law. And it would be ignored. What's the point of that? There are more effective ways to accomplish this. Education. And the issue is much more complicated than a law can address. A deserted sidewalk at 2am is totally different from lunchtime rush. The issue of children has been brought up, but there are also new and just learning adult cyclist building up the nerve for road cycling, elderly, adult trikes, bikes towing trailers, crossing vs riding along a sidewalk, etc. Education. Not just existence, but maintenance of bike paths must be addressed. Fall leaves, brush, trash cans, and snow are common bike lane obstacles. Education. I would support a city-wide education effort aimed fairly at pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, gardeners, dog-walkers, elderly, children, etc. Look at what Toronto has done. Stress courtesy and respect over laws and regulations. Another effective technique would to make sidewalks ANNOYING to highspeed cyclists. More planters and trees, Put every other restaurant's sidewalk tables either adjacent to the curb or close to the building. Some rumble strips are hard to cycle on, but easy for feet. Just what we need, more laws. NOT! Gary


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

Malorie - do you bike downtown regularly? Please try it for a week, biking at various times, but be sure to bike at rush hour at least six times. But you'll want to bike in the street, and remember to stay out of the door zone of parked cars. I think you'll begin to understand the problem better. Downtown *is* busy, particularly at rush hours, when lots of commuters from the suburbs are rushing to get to and from work. It doesn't take many of them who think that bicyclists don't belong on the road to make biking miserable at times. You really have to be willing to deal with a good amount of regular abuse to be a road cyclist in Michigan. I've biked nearly every day for about 22 years in Ann Arbor, including biking just about everywhere in town. Downtown has never struck me as less busy or unfriendly than other areas. At times, it's worse, since there are lots of road users packed into a dense area. All of those intersections, lights, slow drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, buses, etc. tend to bring out the worst in some motorists.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

Oh geez! I forgot to say that I think the poll at the end of this article is very poorly done. The responses use language that is too biased. I didn't vote because neither response gets it right.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 10:18 a.m.

I can't much to this running commentary, but have a few ideas that I don't think have been expressed. First, Ann Arbor isn't the only city concerned about the issue of how to enforce safe bicycle behavior in an environment designed principly for pedestrians. I think we ought to take a look at city ordinances in Portland, OR, and Madison, WI, for instance. It's lamentable that an ordinance is required, as others have stated, when just common sense and the application of the concept of "due care" would take care of any car/bike/pedestrian interactions. My second thought is that perhaps a law is required so that careless bicycling could be enforced; but that a cyclist could, for whatever reason, ride on the sidewalk if conditions were appropriate. In the latter case, the law just wouldn't be enforced. In other words, a city ordinance would give an officer a tool to eliminate careless sidewalk bicycling. Whether a cyclist would be warned, issued a citation, or ignored would be at the discretion of the officer. That might not work out too badly. One final comment, kinda mentioned in jest above (or maybe it was the discussion on the discussion group??)... the only time I've ever encountered a bicyclist trying to ride on a busy city sidewalk (along Borders on a Friday night) the cyclist was a police officer! He was riding slowly, but nosing his front wheel between pedestrians and squeezing by. Didn't even have a bell!


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

All of the arguments about bike lanes not being safe and automobile drivers going too fast are moot points. It is proposed to ban biking on sidewalks in in the busy areas. Traffic does not travel at a high rate of speed in these congested areas as the road is usually as congested as the sidewalks. They're not trying to ban biking from EVERY sidewalk in Ann Arbor!


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 7:06 p.m.

AAbob43 I have a better idea. Why don't you move to Boulder? To close main st would only move the problem! You are just the type we already have on the council.

pooh bear

Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 5:31 p.m.

wow. 93 comments. this is a hot issue. sidewalk riding has become more hazardous to all concerned since they are full of tables and chairs and have waiters running back and forth across the open space left on the walk. if there were less one way streets or wider sidewalks (like they have in Europe) we could accommodate both bikes and pedestrians on the sidewalk.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 4:23 p.m.

Steps are available. Public education of rights and responsibilities through signage is a first step. The signs should not make up restrictions without a legal basis. Cyclists must yield to pedestrians if they wish to use the sidewalk. Pedestrians should expect bicyclists will be sharing the walkway and keep a lookout when they change directions or cross out from a shop or residence. The next step is to notify and enforce the existing yield provisions. The number of people causing mishaps can be relatively small. A ban is an overbroad and final option. One that still requires enforcement to be effective. Other alternatives have worked in the past. Main, State, Liberty and N&S U are car free every year for Art Fair. At times I ride and mostly walk my bike for hours over those days with care and without incident. No cars in those areas is not a problem.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 4:23 p.m.

To give people some idea of the level of harassment on the roads, in the past 24 hours, biking to work and home once, I've had: - An AATA bus drive a car-length behind for the length of a football field - A motorist fly up behind me and blast their horn as they barely got over - An SUV driver pass me at about 1' distance as we went down the road at 20mph+ - At least two other motorists pass at about 2' distance. (Many states now require a 3' minimum by law to make it clear that 2' is not a safe passing distance.) Last month it was the UM shuttle driver that drove me into the curb three times in two weeks. This is how it usually is biking in the roads around here. You can expect at least one dangerous pass per day, and at least one gratuitous horn blast per month. And that's for a cyclist who always stops at stop signs and lights and carefully obeys the law. How many of you would want to bike in the street in those conditions? I completely agree that cyclists should bike in the road - I always do - but let's not pretend that we've made it a reasonable experience yet.

John of Saline

Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 3:11 p.m.

Common sense would certainly reduce the incidents. But they're always be weirdness. I was knocked over by a motorized wheelchair that shot out across a corner. That's a rare event. I don't think it needs to be legislated. I do think the guy needs to ease up on the throttle.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

@bunny, the carts behind the bikes are actually safer than having a child ride on a seat affixed to the bike. I looked into the issue with my kids. If the bike rider takes a spill the child won't. However, neither one of them is nearly as fun as riding someone on the handlebars, or bumperskiing, which these new NHITSA compliant bumpers don't allow.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 1:59 p.m.

Streets are made for cars,trucks and bikes that is why they have lights. Look up side walk! you walk on the side of the road called sidewalk. Now I have walked in town and have bikes try to pass you on either and some business door open too the outside right on the sidewalk......


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 1:57 p.m.

If non-motorized wheeled vehicles are prohibited on sidewalks, then I want shopping carts and baby strollers banned also.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 1:12 p.m.

this issue isn't the goal here folks, the real goal is to totally redo the traffic of downtown, more "alternative" transportation, more "green" transportation and getting rid of cars on mainstreet altogether. what about those stupid segway things? how is it safer to ride your bike on the street? between the lane of traffic and the row of parked cars? in the slush that is not plowed during the winter? riding your bike on the sidewalk doesn't need to be micro managed. It is a common sense issue. If someone on thier bike hits a pedestrian than they should receive a ticket, pay a fine and learn a lesson. Always I hear someone on a bike say "on the left" "bike on the left" or hear a bike bell when someone wants to pass me while I am walking. for the mayor's comments about "seeing it for himself" I have "seen it happen" for myself, courtious bike riders on the sidewalks. and it is a very good point that people with children or children wagons on bikes (which I think are dangerous anyways) will not want to have their children ride in the road.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:57 p.m.

Additional bicycles in the streets will have a calming affect on traffic to the detriment of hot-headed motorists who now rule there. Cyclists taking-the-lane to avoid vehicle door swing zones certainly will. The streets (and walks) will then become inherently more safe for all. Walks are for walking, maybe?


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

Having recently lost a good friend who was hit by a car and killed while riding his bike on a road, I can say that forcing bikers to use the road in a crowded downtown without adequate protected bike lanes (rails, curbs, barriers, etc.) will only lead to move tragegies. Rather, the approach I would take is to ban motorized vehicles in central areas such Main street south of Huron for a couple of blocks, parts of liberty and State around campus. Make these pedestrian and bike areas only. Anyone that travels to Europe will see many of these pedestrian areas filled with Restaurants, shops and PEOPLE!


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:14 p.m.

oldgaffer - They want to restrict it more because it has become a large problem. Some cyclists are very polite, anounce their presence, and travel slowly through pedestrian traffic; the vast majority of cyclists are only concerned with getting to their destination quickly. If more cyclists used common courtesy this would not even be on the table for discussion. People are getting hurt. It may be true the bike lanes need to be greatly improved, but in the meantime I hope the readers here will consider the safety of pedestrians while riding their bikes. On police who ride bicycles, police are often exceptions to the rules. I have never once seen a police officer riding a bike fast, let alone so fast as to cause a danger. To the contrary, most officers I see are riding slowly and checking out the surroundings. Officers are riding their bikes on patrol, not to get to a destination, so I assume riding on the sidewalk makes this job a lot easier.

Dan Rubenstein

Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

I'm not voting because I don't think this should be posed as an either/or question. The law should regulate what you can do on the sidewalk. You should have to stop and walk it when the sidewalk is blocked with pedestrians. Pedestrians shouldn't have to "make way" for bikes. This would allow families to use the sidewalk while still respecting walkers. Of course this would be harder to enforce than an outright ban, but enforcement would not be impossible, and, more importantly, it would codify expectations and rights. I 100% agree something should be done. Bicyclists in A2 are very often arrogant and out of control, endangering pedestrians and themselves. And this isn't "cars v. bikes." I ride a bike, too. And I see cyclists do stupid, rude things I would never dream of.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

Can we really have it both ways? Bicyclists have a right to share the roadway and follow the same laws as motor vehicles. Why should we also say that you may have rights to follow pedestrian traffic when convenient. The only accident I ever had with a bicyclist was backing out of a driveway on Hill St. near Packard. He came down the hill from State St. at a high rate of speed and my rear fender had just peeked out from a hedge of about 5ft. in height. Wham and he was flying about 30ft. through the air. I bought him a front wheel.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 10:28 a.m.

My personal opinion, now that I'm quite use to riding downtown A2 in rush hour traffic, is to keep sidewalks available for children, but also for very inclimate weather. Just last week as I was biking home, I didn't feel safe on the road because of the slick snow so I snuck up on the sidewalk (thinking I was breaking the law) and crept slowly along feeling much safer from the sliding cars. And yes, I always go slow and say things such as 'on your left' when trying to pass. Really, as many have said earlier, we just need to use common sense and not throw the baby out with the bath water.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 9:58 a.m.

Perhaps after the new underground parking is completed and there will be a abundance of parking space available, it will be possible to eliminate on street parking on State and Liberty (retail areas) and install bike lanes.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

Ann Arbor residents who visit Boulder uniformly say "we should close Main Street and make it a pedestrian mall." That would instantly make Main Street a community center, and would turn Ann Arbor into yet a greater visitor destination than it now is. That would also free up cramped sidewalks. The sidewalks never were especially wide. Then add an outdoor dining area at every other storefront, and anyone using the sidewalk is pretty challenged. In Boulder, traffic gets along ok without Pearl Street. We could manage with a few blocks of Main being closed to vehicles. The advantages would dwarf the disadvantages. But, no guts, no glory.

Lily Guzman

Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

A ban on riding on sidewalks in busy shopping districts could be a good longer term goal for our community. In order to be ready for a ban, I think we should first create better routes within and between Downtown/Kerry Town/State Street shopping districts. The routes should be comforable for a range of riders, our families and seniors included. Until there are better facilities, I don't think this ban should be our focus. I think we should aim to get people off the sidewalk by providing them with a more desirable alternative.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

The Michigan Motor Vehicle Code allows bicyclists to use sidewalks so why should the City adopt a more restrictive ordinance? The inconvenience to pedestrians is far less than the danger facing bicyclists using certain streets where conditions of road surface, width, lighting and vehicle speed pose a hazard. Even some of our bicycle lanes are dangerous. Police officers who ride bikes usually ride them on the sidewalks.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 8:28 a.m.

The biking people I know have avoided the streets because the cars are so crammed in with parking ins and outs and turning traffic// you'll risk more serious probs by forcing bikers onto the streets. Are you going to ticket the knocked over bikers when the turning or parking drivers say " I didn't see the biker" And you say you want alternate transport modes.Go figure.

Ron Dankert

Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 8:04 a.m.

I've worked downtown for years with no problem, but have been run into twice in the last four months while leaving my front door at E. Washington and stepping onto the sidewalk. Admittedly, I was moving quickly and surprised the riders, but in each case I think the riders were either intent on other things, or conversing with another rider who was in tandem. No injury the first time, but the second resulted in a slight nick in the leg. I don't think sidewalk riding is inherently bad, but speed needs to go way down and concentration up. It certainly surprised me.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

Just last week hubby and I were almost hit by a cyclist riding on a downtown sidewalk. Cyclist didn't even let us know he was behind us as we strolled. Shouldn't bikes be on the road just like any other wheeled vehicle?

Bob W

Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 7:31 a.m.

I can't tell you how many times I have had bicyclers come up behind me, silently, with no warning and your left with a fraction of a sec. to decide whether to leap left or right.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 2:32 a.m.

Golly! This could go one way or the other. Don't want to offend anyone with a opinion!


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 1:32 a.m.

@vinty I couldn't have said it better myself. I'll just add that the only time I've hit a biker in my car was when he was using the sidewalk, and the only time I've been in an accident while biking, I was using the sidewalk.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:31 a.m.

While it is of course unacceptable that there are drivers who are not attentive to and/or not respectful of bicycle riders, the behavior of many bicycle riders in Ann Arbor is absurd. I have seen many adults riding without helmets, riding during the night without any lights or reflective materials, and not obeying traffic laws. This is unacceptable and unsafe. There is no reason why pedestrians should have to jump out of the way or have a bell rung in their ear by an adult who is afraid to bicycle in the streets of Ann Arbor. While technically a city, Ann Arbor is no New York, no Chicago, no any other city that we all know as a "city." And in those "cities" people ride with helmets, reflective gear, obey traffic laws, and do not pretend to be pedestrians. Riding bicycles on the sidewalks in Ann Arbor when you are above the age of 10 should absolutely be outlawed and it is a joke that it has not already been.


Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 12:28 a.m.

While it is of course unacceptable that there are drivers who are not attentive to and/or not respectful of bicycle riders, the behavior of many bicycle riders in Ann Arbor is absurd. I have seen many adults riding without helmets, riding during the night without any lights or reflective materials, and not obeying traffic laws. This is unacceptable and unsafe. There is no reason why pedestrians should have to jump out of the way or have a bell rung in their ear by an adult who is afraid to bicycle in the streets of Ann Arbor. While technically a city, Ann Arbor is no New York, no Chicago, no any other city that we all know as a "city." And in those "cities" people ride with helmets, reflective gear, obey traffic laws, and do not pretend to be pedestrians. Riding bicycles on the sidewalks in Ann Arbor when you are above the age of 10 should absolutely be outlawed and it is a joke that it has not already been.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 11:34 p.m.

One more comment tonight (sorry for writing a book!). The problem has always been that cyclists are harassed so much on Ann Arbor streets that banning them on sidewalks becomes a general ban. Anyone who's biked in Ann Arbor can give you a long list of times they've been harassed. Even the UM study "Successful Bicycle Planning: Adapting Lessons From Communities with High Bicycle Use to Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County" from 2001 pointed out: "Harassment of bicyclists by motorists appears to be almost totally absent in Boulder and Madison while in Ann Arbor it is a major concern at the moment." (The report is available online at Harassment is still pretty much the same problem it was back in '01. As the bicycling community has pointed out for decades now, until something is done to reduce the on-road harassment, it will be difficult to get bicyclists off the sidewalks. If we just ban them from using the sidewalks, many of them will just stop biking or ignore the law. Certainly people who don't want people biking on roads *or* sidewalks would be happy with that. There are a surprising number of people in SE Michigan that think bicycles belong only in parks, only on "bike paths", and only for kids.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 11:12 p.m.

Common sense needs to prevail. I ride a bike to work 8 months of the year. There is a bike path on Liberty until I reach downtown. Since I'm commuting around 8:00 I find the sidewalks relatively empty and use them. On my way home after 5:00, the sidewalks are pretty busy so I walk my bike along with the pedestrians and pick up the bike path west of Main.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 10:59 p.m.

Actually, there are two ordinances and a few state laws that regulate bicycle use on sidewalks in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor has two ordinances about it: "10:168. Riding on sidewalks. No person when riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk shall fail to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian." and "10:171. Speed. No bicycle shall be operated at any time faster than is reasonable or proper, and every bicycle shall be operated with reasonable regard to the safety of the rider and other persons and property." The state has two laws that come to mind: "257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk. (1) An individual operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian. (2) An individual shall not operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is prohibited by an official traffic control device. (3) An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk." and "257.606 Regulation of streets or highways under jurisdiction of local authority and within reasonable exercise of police power; stop sign or traffic control device requiring state trunk line highway traffic to stop; approval; posting signs giving notice of local traffic regulations; providing by ordinance for impounding of motor vehicle parked contrary to local ordinance; bond or cash deposit. (1) The provisions of this chapter shall not be considered to prevent local authorities with respect to streets or highways under the jurisdiction of the local authority and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from: [...] (i) Regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee. [...] (3) An ordinance or regulation enacted under subsection (1)(a), (d), (e), (f), (g), (i), or (j) shall not be enforceable until signs giving notice of the local traffic regulations are posted upon or at the entrance to the highway or street or part of the highway or street affected, as may be most appropriate, and are sufficiently legible as to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. [...]" Notice that 257.606 both allows the city to have ordinances regulating the operation of bicycles, and makes those ordinances unenforceable if we don't put up signs spelling them out. The signs in downtown saying bicyclists should walk their bike have no ordinance behind them. The BCC pointed that out to the DDA when they put them up, but the DDA seemed to feel that just having the signs would cause many cyclists to walk their bikes. Unfortunately, if the signs have that effect, it's probably only for those cyclists that would have traveled at a reasonable speed anyway. Also, someone pointed out the "low-speed vehicle" sections of MCL 257. However, if you read some more, particularly the definition of "low-speed vehicle", you'll see that that *doesn't* apply to bicycles. "Low-speed vehicles" are things like neighborhood electric vehicles: "Low-speed vehicle" means a self-propelled motor vehicle". Bicycles aren't motor vehicles.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 10:34 p.m.

Some history. For the 30 or so years that Ann Arbor had a city Bicycle Coordinating Committee, this was a topic that came up every few years. (The Mayor and Council dissolved the Bicycle Coordinating Committee in the 90s.) As I recall it, the most recent recommendation went something like this: "On streets where AASHTO-acceptable on-road bicycle facilities are provided, the City should consider banning sidewalk bicycle use for bicyclists over the age of 12 unless accompanying children." The BCC also recommended putting bike lanes in on State and Liberty, and adding on-street parking on Division to compensate for the loss of car parking on one side of the street. Years later they are putting on-street parking on Division, but no bike lanes on State or Liberty. As I recall the discussion, we also recommended that bicycle police bike on the street, since they were setting a bad example for cyclists by bicycling on the sidewalk. We also recommended increased enforcement of unsafe passing and other common forms of harassment against cyclists. I could go on for several pages with common-sense recommendations from the Bicycle Coordinating Committee. It was a shame that Council and the Mayor dissolved it.

Fred Posner

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 10:33 p.m.

This idea simply is unacceptable, especially with the lack of bike lanes, etc. Maybe we should ban strollers... oh and wheelchairs too. Instead, there's no difference in having the police enforce bicyclists aggressively riding on sidewalks than them enforcing an ordinance prohibiting bicyclists. On the list of recent ideas that I've heard from A2 government, this one rates high on the 'stupid idea' list.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 10:28 p.m.

I am liking the 'common sense' application for riding on sidewalks. If it's too crowded, get off and walk your bike through the sidewalk. However, not everyone has the stones to ride in rush hour traffic in downtown. After being nudged by a moving car's mirror while I was riding responsibly in a bike lane on S. State pissed me off but it doesn't deter me from riding in traffic. I can understand it though, if cyclists don't want that hassle or potential death match against bigger four wheelers it's their prerogative to choose the sidewalk over the road. I am all for the common sense rule when cyclists are on the road or on the sidewalk. Because cyclists can be in both places they need to follow all the requisite laws already in place. Another rule/law doesn't need to hit the books for this.

Cindy Foster

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 9:54 p.m.

Let's ban talking over a certain decibel level downtown too - it can be so annoying, or better yet breathing. about we just agree to act civil and reasonable and skip the legislation.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 8:49 p.m.

The city does currently allow bikes on sidewalks: [City] 10:168. Riding on sidewalks. No person when riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk shall fail to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian. (Ord. No. 46-61, 8-14-61; Ord. No. 26-74, 8-19-74) The State Vehicle Code is even more explicit about allowing bikes on sidewalks: [State] 257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk. (1) An individual operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian. (2) An individual shall not operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is prohibited by an official traffic control device. (3) An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 8:40 p.m.

Chapter 127, Article II, 10:168 Riding on sidewalks "No person when riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk shall fail to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian." Common sense and common courtesy require that we bicycle quite slowly on downtown sidewalks, be ready to stop, and be ready to walk as necessary. The problem is not the bicycles, it's the arrogance and stupidity of mostly younger male riders and since this behavior is eternal I say we give our police carte blanche to make money out of it.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 8:16 p.m.

what a stupid idea. you want me to get off my bike and walk it through the diag. or as I cut through north campus. I ride to work in the dark and to stay away from the cars that dont pay attention, I stay as far away as i can. having been hit by a car before who ran a stop signI always assume they dont see me. when people are on the sidewalks bikers just need to use common sense and slow down. we should be looking at copenhagen or holland as guidence on how to get everyone on bikes.not keep people off bikes.

Rob T

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 8:08 p.m.

As a bicycle commuter who lives near downtown, I'd love to see cyclists off sidewalks; when on foot around town, I've been disappointed with cyclists' etiquette. By this same mark, I think Ann Arbor would do well to improve shoulder conditions since many major streets have shoulders too damaged to navigate with a road bike. Better still, I'd like to see bike lanes on the sidewalk side of street parking. This way, vehicles can protect bicycles from drivers, and not the other way around.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 8:05 p.m.

When is the Mayor going to put bicycle lanes on main street so so there is some where safe to ride?????

Ben in Ypsi

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 7:48 p.m.

The mayor does not know the law. According to the MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE Act 300 of 1949 Section 257.660 Article (6) "A moped or low-speed vehicle shall not be operated on a sidewalk constructed for the use of pedestrians." Last time I checked, a bicycle was considered a "low-speed vehicle" in Michigan. I could be wrong, but it looks like the Mayor is using taxpayer dollars to try to create a law that already exists.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 7:42 p.m.

I agree that there are more pressing subjects the Mayor should be focusing on, but having said that, I'm very confused about the law. About 6 years ago I was riding to work on the sidewalk in the rain when a bike cop stopped me. He told me it was illegal to ride downtown on sidewalks (I was riding on Washington). When I explained I didn't feel safe on the road so close to cars and parked cars, he gave me statistics that said it's safer to ride on the road and a few pointers for riding on a busy road. So did the cop not know the law or does the Mayor not know the current law? I'm confused. (Not that I'd go back to cycling on the sidewalk since the road is so much quicker).


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 7:40 p.m.

so glad the mayor and city council nit pick little stuff like this day in and day out. (what a joke)... and didn't they cut the bike cops anyway? (not like they were out of control on thier bikes anyway). ann arbor was a nicer place yesterday than it will be tomorrow


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 7:40 p.m.

I would like to know how many tickets have been issued to law breaking bicyclist in the last year. I think I know the answer! I would also like to know who the brain dead cyclist is that rides with NO lights out Dexter ave every knight. If we are going to put up signs telling motorist the bicyclist rights then we should also have signs reminding cyclist of their responsibilities!!


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 6:50 p.m.

Thankyou Alan Goldsmith. I couldn't agree more. So, our house is burning down, so let's all focus on the front gate with the squeaky hinge. Ridiculous. For what it's worth, why not let common sense, civility and courtesy govern this issue? Oh, oh, that commodity is in short supply, having inexorably ebbed away over the years....

John of Saline

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 6:45 p.m.

There are signs saying "walk your bike" at the West Engineering arch. No biker I've ever seen has toe courtesy to do so.

Wystan Stevens

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 6:40 p.m.

A city ordinance passed in the late 1950s prohibited bike riding on the sidewalks in the State Street and Main Street areas -- probably on South U, as well. Numerous signs were placed with the message "Riding and/or parking of bicycles prohibited on the sidewalks in this block." The prohibition lasted through the 1960s, but I don't know what happened after that.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

I do not to think that such a law would really matter as there seems to be little to no police enforced of any existing driving laws in Ann Arbor, be it running a red light (bike or car), turning red when not allowed, speeding, passing in the bike lane (rampant on Miller and Liberty) or blocking an intersection when the light changed (all the time on Main St.). I do wonder on the Major's lack of discussion around a plan to make the streets more bike friendly, and I wonder if this is so the City can sell more sidewalk space as they get money for all of those sidewalk cafes that already make it hard to walk around town. Now let us go after the real danger, walkers with cell phones...


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 6 p.m.

It would be nice if the roads were a bit more bike friendly. Some areas get awfully tight, or the edges of the road are all gravel and potholes.

Deb Anderson

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

While the cyclists of this town "adhere" to traffic laws the same way drivers do, I'll begin to have a little more respect. While drivers are videotaped on camera are identified, the same case isn't true for cyclists. They feel they are above the law whether they are on the street or on a sidewalk. Responsibilty is with both parties here, why is there even a problem with that?


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:52 p.m.

Wow,.. another Ann article filled with the obvious! Of course downtown sidewalks are a "rich commodity!" Why would anyone think otherwise,..?? I find myself laughing,.. In a year that saw the city and/or the DDA install all these cute little bike racks around the city, and countless articles on how to make downtown alternative commuter transportation friendly, they come up with this. Mind boggling,.. I would love to understand the socio economic makeup of the folks who voted in this survey to eliminate the bikes from the sidewalks, that would tell me a lot. Bottom line for me,... This is a city that hasn't quite mastered walking and chewing gum at the same time yet. Translation: Make Ann Arbor more bike friendly first,.. then let's discuss banning bikes from the sidewalks.

John of Saline

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

As a walker, I was struck four times by bikes while on campus a decade ago as a student. As a driver, I commonly see bikes whiz through red lights and stop signs, or going the wrong way on one-way streets, sometimes nearly getting themselves killed. The rare times that I bike, I take my time, use the sidewalk where practical, take care near pedestrians (SLOW DOWN), and obey traffic laws while in the street. Why is that such a hard concept?


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

I'm going to anger the bicyclists here, but I struggle with the notion that we should dedicate more surface area downtown to bike lanes. The bike lanes benefit very few and remove space that is usable by many for driving and/or parking. We need to think about being practical here. Additionally, we live in a state that has weather that is not conducive to biking for a significant portion of each year. It doesn't matter to me if the bikes are on the sidewalks or on the streets. Bicyclists need to obey the laws just as motorists do. They can share the existing surface area on the roads and use the bike lanes where they've already been created.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:37 p.m.

We already have a "law" in the city ordinances: a bicycle on the sidewalk must yield to any pedestrian. Have the police ever enforced this rule? My neighbor paid $110 for rolling through a stop sign. Reckless riders who don't yield to pedestrians give all bicyclists a black eye. We have a problem, and the major won't solve it by pushing families with kids into the street. We should have a huge fine for reckless sidewalk riding and take huge amounts of money from the violators. No common sense courtesy?? Ok, you pay and pay big.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:36 p.m.

Iagree. However,it can be dangerous for bikes on streets. Cars and bikes need to be educated on sharing road. fab fan


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:33 p.m.

i would like to see bikes banned from city sidewalks and more bike lanes established. i also wonder why there seems to be no ordinance regulating the use of bikes on city sidewalks and streets during winter months when snow is falling or already on the ground.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

A nameless U trains 1000's of sidewalk cyclists every year. Sounds like a town/gown discussion.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:06 p.m.

sure, as soon as cars stop hitting us, shoving us off the road and, well, killing us.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 5:03 p.m.

Bicycles should be banned from all sidewalks in populated or busy areas, not just downtown. There is a bike lane in front of my house, but very few cyclists use it. They coast down the hill on the sidewalk. I cannot tell you how many times I have been almost hit by a cyclist while trying to garden near the sidewalk or take care of the City's lawn extension. What's more, hardly any of the cyclists announce themselves--no bells, no horns, not even a voice warning. I am usually startled by a whoosh. When I ask them to let me know they are coming, some of them are very rude. Sometimes there are whole families coasting down the hill. What an opportunity for parents to teach their children courtesy and safety. I understand some people are afraid to ride in the road, but perhaps the City could do something to make the bike lanes feel safer (painting them for starters). I attended a public meeting on May 7, 2009, the purpose of which was for the City to get feedback on bike lane additions. The April 23, 2009, notice said, "Ann Arbor recently received federal stimulus funds to improve the citys active transportation system for pedestrians and cyclists. The city is seeking input on plans to add approximately eight miles of new bike lanes improving the 24 miles of existing bicycle lanes and augmenting the safety of the downtown area for cyclists and pedestrians by adding appropriate signage and pavement markings." Most of the attendees were cyclists concerned for their safety. I may have been the only pedestrian there. I haven't seen any added signage or "improvement" to the existing bike lane in front of my house. Believe it or not, spring will be here soon, and the sidewalk bike traffic will increase again. Let's make sidewalks safe for everyone, not just people downtown.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 4:59 p.m.

I think that it's a great idea to ban bikes from riding on sidewalks, and I actually don't think it would be a problem to have a loophole like "children and those who accompany them may ride slowly on the sidewalk." I've only lived here for a few months and I've already been hit by a cyclist. I was walking down State St near Liberty at 9 AM and there were lots of pedestrians, yet the cyclist was going extremely fast - I'm not surprised at all that he ran into someone. And no, it didn't kill me, but it was extremely painful and I didn't appreciate being covered in coffee and having to limp the rest of the way to work. I also think, though, that if we're going to require cyclists to ride on the road, we need to make sure that they'll be safe doing that. From what I've seen, it seems like the majority of drivers are not so good at sharing the road with cyclists.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 4:45 p.m.

I've ridden my bike to work many times in Ann Arbor. I began on the sidewalk, switching to the road after a time. I had been apprehensive to do so initially, then discovered that I was far safer there. Motorists, even those who are rude and shout obscenities at you, at least expect a wheeled vehicle in the road. Bicyclists on the sidewalk face constant threats from cross traffic at driveways and side streets pulling across the sidewalk that are far greater than the dangers of the road. Walking around town, I've lost count of the number of times I've had close calls with bicycles being driven at high speed and without regard for safety. Constructed properly, I would support this law. Here's hoping it would come with stepped-up enforcement for traffic laws, for drivers of both motorized and non-motorized transportation.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 4:36 p.m.

Interesting point Chris. So, bike where it is safest and use common courtesy. No laws need to be written and the city council can get on to more pressing issues.

Chris Taylor

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

After almost being killed last year while riding to work by some SUV driving jerk, I'll never ride in the street ever again. If there is a sidewalk to ride on then I'll be on it, law or no law. Drivers do not seem to care about people riding bikes. If you don't believe me then I dare you to ride down Huron St. during rush hour. Good luck with that. That being said, people should walk their bikes through busy downtown areas like South U, or Main St. where there is lots of foot traffic.

Richard C

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

Frankly, I find the downtown resturaunts that block 3/4 of the sidewalk with outdoor seating at least as much of an anoyance as sidewalk cyclists - if not more so. Yes, they're an annoyance (both the cyclists and the resturaunts.) But I've enjoyed a few dinners outdoors downtown, and I've enjoyed taking my kids downtown on bikes too. I don't see a problem that needs a heavy response here. At most, a general law about being a sidewalk hazard (applicable even to resturaunts with sidewalk permits!) should be good enough - and a general policy that the cyclist (or resturaunt) is at fault when there's an issue with a pedestrian would be good enough.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

If children under a certain age and any accompanying adults are exempt, then I would agree it's a necessary change. I see far too many college-age adults riding their bikes unsafely on the sidewalk without regard to pedestrians.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 3:56 p.m.

First of all, I find small children riding their bikes to be a non-issue. Verrry few of the cyclists I have seen downtown are children, and they're certainly not going so fast that they cause a danger. And how many parks and trails do we have in the area to ride on? Come on. I think bikes should be banned from riding on the sidewalks on just the main streets. State Street, Main Street, South U, etc. sidewalks are usually too crowded at most hours to allow for a cyclist to pass through safely. I cannot hear a cyclist coming up behind me and if I happen to move a little to my left or right at the wrong time while walking, I get hit by one. If more cyclists used common courtesy, I doubt this would be an issue right now. TO CYCLISTS OF ANN ARBOR: Please, if you see a crowded sidewalk, get off your bike and walk it or consider moving to the road. If you are coming up on a pedestrian fast, ding your bell if you have one or SAY something like "excuse me" or "heads up" loud enough for them to hear.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 3:41 p.m.

linutuxguy - I thought that too and that most agencies in metro areas allowed it since it was better than driving on a 45mph street. Downtown, I think it should be on the street and all streets should have bike lanes. So, any resolution should read "riding on a sidewalk when a designated bike or shared lake is present will be a ticketable offense unless the bicycle is moving at or a slower speed than nearby pedestrians or the bike is being lead by a leaderdog or in concert with a wheelchair or similar device"


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 3:34 p.m.

Query, if you get a ticket on your bike does it have any effect on your driving license. I see all this talk from the biking advocates that they have the same rights as cars. Logic would lead one to believe they should get points if they receive an infraction and if they don't have a license they should get a ticket for that too.

Deb Anderson

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 3:22 p.m.

I never saw a problem with it until I got hit on the sidewalk on the hill on Medical Center Drive and ended up in the ER. The cyclist yelled at me for being in the way and he verbally berrated me as I crumpled to the ground; he didn't even offer to help and he went on his merry way. The sidewalks downtown are crowded to begin with, why allow bikes too? It's dangerous.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 3:17 p.m.

I agree that children should be exempt, and any accompanying adult. Bikes should yield to individuals on the sidewalk. It is basically common courtesy, a passing fad I guess. As a former skater who had the luxury of appearing in the local skate rag "Local Chaos" back in the 80's, skate boards are a tad more dangerous than bikes, since they can become projectiles. On a side note, I really think we should ban people from looking down and being distracted by a cell phone or an ipod while they are walking. Maybe then we can de-darwanize the decline of social interaction and awareness.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

Hi Ryan, The poll on your article is pretty leading. The statement against bicyclists ("annoying and dangerous") is much stronger than the statement supporting them, which is really more passive than actual support. Something like "No - the safety of bikers needs to be considered" would probably be more appropriate. I wonder if this oversight is a reflection of your opinion on the matter (whether conscious or subconscious). I've certainly caught myself creating leading questions from time to time. I'll be interested to see the final results. Thanks,


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

Additionally, how would this ban affect university students who ride their bikes to class? At some point, it necessary for one to ride his or her bike on the sidewalk to get to campus buildings - is it realistic to expect that students would walk their bikes to class upon reaching the sidewalk, even with sufficient enforcement?


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 2:54 p.m.

Different parts of the city require different bicycling needs. Riding on the sidewalks downtown on say Main, Liberty, William, state, or s. university is much different than riding on the sidewalk down Washtenaw or even Packard, n. University, or State. North University is an insane street to ride a bicycle on, there are tons of busses coming in the street as well as tons of foot traffic on the sidewalks, i never feel safe riding there. There should not be a general ban on bicycling on the sidewalk downtown, rather specific areas of high pedestrian traffic that have ample bicycle pathways where bicycling on the sidewalk is prohibited. People in cars get very angry when a bicycle holds them up. I feel better bicycle lanes need to be implemented in the very busy sections of street where bicyclists can impede cars. There are many spots where there are no bicycle lanes and traffic is consistently over 20mph.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

I've tangled with a bike on the sidewalk, coming up from behind as I was turning to my left to enter an establishment. Luckily the guy behind me and prevented serious injury. A bicycle is a vehicle just like a car. If more cyclists were willing to obey the traffic laws along with vehicle operators things would be different. There are numerous occaisons when cyclists blow through a red light when oncoming traffic clears and nearly collide with pedestrians in the right of way. They [bikes] have every right to be on the road, and if cars do not respect this, ticket the car driver as being reckless, then publish a listing of the reckless car drivers and it won't happen after that. And as far as small kids, they should be allowed to ride [if they have training wheels only] on the sidewalks downtown, otherwise they and their parents should walk their bikes on the congested downtown sidewalks.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 2:43 p.m. many of you have seriously been downtown lately? Do you think that there is actually room for a separate path/lane for bicycles? Nor do I think it's wise for bicycles to be on sidewalks, unless walking them. Especially when most people would ride their bicycles - in the warmer months...when restaurants have outdoor seating. We don't need a law - just common both sides.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 2:38 p.m.

I am an avid bicyclist and I agree with d and michela. A2 does have a lot of good bike lanes but more are needed, especially if a silly idea like this is passed. Its silly for a bicyclist to travel fast on a sidewalk, but during busy times its far safer if pedestrian traffic is not too heavy. I also support the AAPD in bicycle traffic enforcement. I always obey all traffic laws and I think more tickets should be issued for bikers who violate them. Bikes do face an extra danger on the road in heavy traffic. I would not have an issue with walking my bike on the sidewalk but to make it illegal to ride on it is just another thing about A2 that adds to my going elsewhere. Put a bike speed limit on the sidewalk, but don't bar them. Would have been nice to see some comments from the AAPD bike officers on this, but I don't expect good reporting from this news service. Put a picture of bike officers up, but don't bother to get a comment from a source who really knows the issue. Nice going


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 2:29 p.m.

I bike and drive through town on my way to work and walk downtown on weekends. I agree that bikes on sidewalks should be prohibited at least on the main streets downtown - Liberty, Main, Washington, etc. However, the city needs to provide safe bike routes downtown. They could do this by removing the parking meters on the surface streets and making the space into bike lanes. Money would not have to be spent on the new solar meters and more cars could utilize the new library structure and the other existing lots and structures. It would be great to see Ann Arbor be more progressive in these areas. Solar meters are cool and convenient, but the bottom line seems to be revenue, not improving services for city residents.

laurie in ypsi

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 2:09 p.m.

Well...I guess I already did think bikes were not allowed on the sidewalks. In all my time downtown, I have not encountered a problem. However, for those that think a pedestrian getting hit by a bike is less dangerous than a bike getting hit by a car has obviously never been or seen someone hit by a bike. I witnessed a bike / pedestrian crash in Central Park in NYC. Everyone was badly hurt. But remember that a cyclist has protective gear on that a ped wouldnt have so the cyclist faired better even though he went over the handlebars onto the concrete. Given the way traffic moves downtown...snails pace most times of day, I say get the bikes out into the street and make more room for pedestrians to walk safely.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 2:05 p.m.

Make it safer ie bike lanes everywhere and I'll gladly get off the sidewalk. If the sidewalk is crowded I'll risk the street for now, but another "cider house rule" is not needed...just common sense!!


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:56 p.m.

I would support this measure only if it took effect after bike lanes (or even better, bike paths separate from the street) were installed in all downtown streets.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

More laws - that is what we need.

Charley Sullivan

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. In almost 20 years of coaching on Argo Pond, almost every time my athletes have had problems on their bikes, it's been when they've been riding down sidewalks instead of in the road. And almost every time I've had a near run-in with a cyclist, it's been when they've come shooting off the sidewalk into a cross walk. NOW, that said, drivers of automobiles need to realize that bikes in the road have the right to be there, and to traveling in the lane, and at the speed they go, and we just have to be patient and safe with them. When I've asked my athletes why they were on the sidewalks, they invariably say because they feel safer out of the traffic that just goes past them too close and too fast.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:43 p.m.

Did the mayor think about how this would impact A2 Bicycle Officers? That could be a sticking point! Also there should be an exlusion for small children, those bike lanes are dangerous for adults, children shouldn't be forced to use them.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:39 p.m.

Wonder if this would applice to law enforcement on their bikes? Did the mayor think this one through?

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:37 p.m.

I actually witnessed a bicyclist riding pretty fast on a sidewalk on South University back in November run directly into a young woman who was walking, knocking her down. I don't know the extent of her injuries, but she certainly limped away in some degree of pain after giving the guy a piece of her mind. So these accidents do happen.

Thick Candy Shell

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

@d, why do you need your own lane? You are allowed the road as is everyone else. In downtown, this is actually a good thing......bikes can travel faster than cars.

Chuck Warpehoski

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

I think that bicycles moving at pedestrian speed are OK on downtown sidewalks. Bicycles moving faster are not. To make that work we also need the street infrastructure so new cyclists can feel comfortable in the streets.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

They banned skateboards some 20 years ago, and they're far less dangerous in my opinion.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

"I think it's a serious issue and one we should be taking a good look at before somebody is seriously hurt." I would contend that a pedestrian getting hit by a cyclist is statistically less dangerous than a cyclist getting hit by a car. ""There are some tradeoffs," he noted. "There's the family that wants to ride to the library with their kids and they want to ride on the sidewalk, so how do you figure that in and handle that? That's a complication." says the Mayor. I suppose the family with kids likes the sidewalk because its safer?


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

This is a bad idea. Little kids need to be able to ride downtown on the sidewalks (e.g. to get to the library). Their parents need to ride alongside them. If you're going to leave a loophole to allow that, then you might as well not have the rule. Any adult with any confidence to ride a bike will likely be in the street anyway.


Mon, Jan 11, 2010 : 1:01 p.m.

I'm surprised this isn't already disallowed- I thought as a general rule bicycles were prohibited from sidewalks except when being walked.