Lawrence’s Bicycle Advisory Committee met Tuesday night to discuss, among other items, an old law that no longer reflects what is occurring in the city — the law that makes it illegal to ride a bike on some sidewalks.
“This is really the first step at taking a look at something we have that needs to be rewritten,” said Jessica Mortinger, Lawrence transportation planner.
The ordinance that’s been on the books since the late 1970s states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk within any business district within the city or upon any sidewalk within a distance of 100 feet from any store or business place or place of assembly or where specifically prohibited by posted sign.”
Committee members discovered the law while investigating the bicycle parking situation in downtown Lawrence. Mortinger found that the downtown area provided riders with 304 places to park their bikes. That number doesn’t include parking meter ovals, which are also available to use for bicycle parking.
According to Megan Gilliland, Lawrence communications manager, “The BAC feels very strongly that bicycling should remain prohibited on the sidewalks in Downtown Lawrence.”
But members believe bicyclists should be allowed to ride on the sidewalks in other parts of the city.
“There are some places where bicyclists feel it’s safer to ride on the sidewalk; we wanted the law to reflect what the practice and reality is on the streets,” Mortinger said.
So group members are asking for a review of the law and looking for a recommendation to update the ordinance. The request has been forwarded to the staff attorney.
The advisory committee will meet next in October to discuss the matter further.