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Old 12-13-06, 08:16 PM   #1
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Roads closed to bicycles

I know there was a thread a couple of months ago about a town in Texas closing one of its streets to cycling....and if I remember correctly, it was challenged. I can't seem to find the thread with the search function.

Does anyone know the outcome?

My town just passed a new ordinance that allows the police department to close any streets it deems necessary to bicycles. This is an issue that came up quietly and without discussion. Something the new chief wanted "clarified". I suspect that the chief has a reason for wanting the clarification and the ordinance.

I'm just trying to figure out if I have any rights if I'm banned from any particular streets in my town, which is a very small town and has no speed limit above 35mph. Included with this ordinance is one that requires a bicycle to use a bike path when one is present...an interesting ordinance since there are no bike paths in my town or surrounding country side.

I've also added myself to the town's email list just to keep an eye on future happenings.
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Old 12-13-06, 08:19 PM   #2
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Check your state laws, which may or may not preclude local idiocy. California cyclists recently won a major victory against the city of Dana Point, which wanted to ban bicycles from a stretch of Coast Highway 101, but your state may differ ...
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Old 12-13-06, 08:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwc
I know there was a thread a couple of months ago about a town in Texas closing one of its streets to cycling....and if I remember correctly, it was challenged. I can't seem to find the thread with the search function.

Does anyone know the outcome?

My town just passed a new ordinance that allows the police department to close any streets it deems necessary to bicycles. This is an issue that came up quietly and without discussion. Something the new chief wanted "clarified". I suspect that the chief has a reason for wanting the clarification and the ordinance.

I'm just trying to figure out if I have any rights if I'm banned from any particular streets in my town, which is a very small town and has no speed limit above 35mph. Included with this ordinance is one that requires a bicycle to use a bike path when one is present...an interesting ordinance since there are no bike paths in my town or surrounding country side.

I've also added myself to the town's email list just to keep an eye on future happenings.
jwc,
If you don't mind asking which small town? (a PM would be fine) NC has a fairly comprehensive set of bicycle laws in place, but there are plenty of local ordinances that attempt to countermand those laws, and my understanding is that ordinances can only be used on private roads. I have also been told by local law enforcement that I wasn't "allowed" to ride on roads with 45 mph, etc, etc.

Aaron
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Old 12-13-06, 08:29 PM   #4
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It is a little town named Ayden...home of the Collard Festival...lol.

My thoughts were that the town couldn't contradict state law, but towns have the authority to ban trucks from certain streets, so why not bicycles?

Amazingly, to me at least, is that the town's bike laws forbid riding on sidewalks and reflect the NC's laws that a bicycle has the rights and responsibilities of any motor vehicle. In my mind, the ordinance is a contradiction of its own proclamation.
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Old 12-13-06, 08:35 PM   #5
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This is the ordinance just passed:

The Chief of Police is authorized to erect signs on any roadway prohibiting the riding of bicycles thereon by any person, and when such signs are in place no person shall disobey the same.

Line "C" was included as well.

73.08 RIDING ON ROADWAYS AND BICYCLE PATHS.

(A) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

(B) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

(C) Whenever a usable designated path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.
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Old 12-13-06, 09:05 PM   #6
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Man, that's bad news.
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Old 12-13-06, 09:09 PM   #7
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North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 160A-300. Traffic Control. A city may by ordinance prohibit, regulate, divert, control, and limit pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon the public streets. sidewalks, alleys, and bridges of the city.

North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 20-169. Powers of local authorities. Local authorities, except as expressly authorized by G.S. 20-141 and 20-158, shall have no power or authority to ... enact or enforce any rules or regulations contrary to the provisions of this Article...
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Old 12-13-06, 09:16 PM   #8
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North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 160A-300. Traffic Control. A city may by ordinance prohibit, regulate, divert, control, and limit pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon the public streets. sidewalks, alleys, and bridges of the city.

North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 20-169. Powers of local authorities. Local authorities, except as expressly authorized by G.S. 20-141 and 20-158, shall have no power or authority to ... enact or enforce any rules or regulations contrary to the provisions of this Article...
Typical of NC. In other words, the state gives them the right to ban or limit any traffic they wish, with the exception of one street in town that is controlled by the state...which is the only street I try NOT to ride on (due to large trucks) and one of the few streets with a sidewalk, which is controlled by the town, which bans bicycles from riding sidewalks.
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Old 12-13-06, 10:17 PM   #9
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The town in Texas is Anna. There was a city council meeting some months back to discuss the ordinance, and the result was no change and the ordinance stands.

There is apparent interest in challenging the ordinance in court, but the last I knew, the police have not cited anyone for violating the ordinance so nobody has standing to pursue a challenge.
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Old 12-14-06, 12:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 160A-300. Traffic Control. A city may by ordinance prohibit, regulate, divert, control, and limit pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon the public streets. sidewalks, alleys, and bridges of the city.
But they could only have the authority to prohibit all vehicular traffic - they might not have the authority to selectively prohibit certain types of vehicles while allowing others. You may have to look at this in the context of other state laws (for example, if there's another law allowing roads to be closed to trucks) to get the full picture.
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Old 12-14-06, 05:20 AM   #11
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We have one street in our town that has bicycles banned from it. It is very narrow and dangerous to ride on because there is heavy vehicular traffic on it. The city put bike lanes on two adjacent one-way streets running in opposite directions to accomodate bikes.

Before they banned bikes on the section of roadway, we had a lot of students who would ride their bikes on the dangerous stretch of road, resulting in frustrated drivers who could not get around the cyclists on steep hills as well as frequent bicycle/car accidents.

I presume other cities cite safety issues or automotive traffic impediment issues when banning bicycles from certains stretches of roadway.
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Old 12-14-06, 05:37 AM   #12
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I dont' know what brought this change about. My dealership services PD cars, but no one has brought one in since the ordinance was finalized. We hadn't had a bike/car accident since 1999 and that was my next door neighbor hitting a wrong-way bicyclist with his right side mirror. Only minor injuries resulted and this was before the new chief came about.

The chief is from the Triangle area and I'm wondering if this is something that was commonly used in that area.

If this chief wanted to enforce cycling laws, he could have started with the most common violators in my town. I almost clipped a kid last night...no light, wrong-way on the street, no reflectors. I see this almost every evening on my commute home. Everyday, I see wrong-way cyclists and side walk riders. If he is concerned about the safety of bicycling, there are plenty of opportunities for him to start his campaign. I'm just baffled by these two changes in the ordinance.
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Old 12-14-06, 07:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jwc
I don't know what brought this change about.
...
Everyday, I see wrong-way cyclists and side walk riders. If he is concerned about the safety of bicycling, there are plenty of opportunities for him to start his campaign.
It seems there are more bad "bike riders" in your town than there are "cyclists" like yourself. There is a problem with public safety, and it looks like the authorities are positioning themselves to get them off selected streets.

Unfortunately, you're being lumped in with those who aren't riding responsibly.
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Old 12-14-06, 08:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenbiker
We have one street in our town that has bicycles banned from it. It is very narrow and dangerous to ride on because there is heavy vehicular traffic on it. The city put bike lanes on two adjacent one-way streets running in opposite directions to accomodate bikes.

Before they banned bikes on the section of roadway, we had a lot of students who would ride their bikes on the dangerous stretch of road, resulting in frustrated drivers who could not get around the cyclists on steep hills as well as frequent bicycle/car accidents.

I presume other cities cite safety issues or automotive traffic impediment issues when banning bicycles from certains stretches of roadway.
Do you agree with this ban? Did anyone try to fight it or was everyone happy with the bike lanes on the adjacent roadway?
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Old 12-14-06, 08:24 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Frankenbiker
We have one street in our town that has bicycles banned from it. It is very narrow and dangerous to ride on because there is heavy vehicular traffic on it. The city put bike lanes on two adjacent one-way streets running in opposite directions to accomodate bikes.

Before they banned bikes on the section of roadway, we had a lot of students who would ride their bikes on the dangerous stretch of road, resulting in frustrated drivers who could not get around the cyclists on steep hills as well as frequent bicycle/car accidents.

I presume other cities cite safety issues or automotive traffic impediment issues when banning bicycles from certains stretches of roadway.
Was the real reason safety, or convenience? Were there really "frequent" accidents, or was the real problem the frustrated drivers? It's a pet peave of mine that safety is often cited as the reason for restricting cyclists, when safety has nothing to do with it. That's not to say that utility is not a legitimate reason for regulating the roads -- roads are built to be useful, after all.

JWC --

I notice that 160A-300 says "a city." Many states distinguish between cities and towns in their laws. You may want to find out if NC does. This section may not apply to your town.
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Old 12-14-06, 08:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Order
North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 160A-300. Traffic Control. A city may by ordinance prohibit, regulate, divert, control, and limit pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon the public streets. sidewalks, alleys, and bridges of the city.

North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 20-169. Powers of local authorities. Local authorities, except as expressly authorized by G.S. 20-141 and 20-158, shall have no power or authority to ... enact or enforce any rules or regulations contrary to the provisions of this Article...

Not good. There is specific statutory authority allowing them to limit bicyclists. I would look into whether there was an ordinance that was properly passed, did they jump through all the hoops, meeting, notice, quorum etc, and also look into whether the street is a state road, and therefore outside of the jurisdiction of the city.
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Old 12-15-06, 05:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Do you agree with this ban? Did anyone try to fight it or was everyone happy with the bike lanes on the adjacent roadway?
There are no adjacent bike lanes in this town...

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Old 12-15-06, 05:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwc
This is the ordinance just passed:

The Chief of Police is authorized to erect signs on any roadway prohibiting the riding of bicycles thereon by any person, and when such signs are in place no person shall disobey the same.

Line "C" was included as well.

73.08 RIDING ON ROADWAYS AND BICYCLE PATHS.

(A) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

(B) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

(C) Whenever a usable designated path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.
I would send a gently worded letter to the city and ask for the history behind this ordinance, and I would find out what it takes to actually put an ordinance into place as San Rensho pointed out. And until the signs actually go up...keep on riding! Many towns have ordinances that are put in place for some unknown reason and then promptly forgotten about. In my town (Dunn, NC) it is against the law to tie a horse to a parking meter....and the last time I checked we don't have parking meters...but we might get some....someday

Aaron

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Old 12-15-06, 06:05 AM   #19
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Re: agreeing with our local bicycle ban on one street.

Yes, I agree with the bicycle ban on our street. I lived on that street from 1970 through 1993. It is very narrow and in portions there is a steep embankment on one side with a decaying "sidewalk" six feet above grade and no sidewalk on the other side, Telephone poles are within one foot of the curb (I unintentionally hit one with my hand once years ago when my arm was hanging out the window as a passenger in a car. Dang that hurt.)

The street is the most heavily traveled N-S street through town and is a direct route from campus to uptown bars. Semis and drunken drivers were common. Back when 18yr-olds could get into bars, college students would ride to the bars on bikes (and back) and get into all sorts of trouble.

There was an ancient bridge at the bottom of a ravine that was just barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Very dangerous. Last year they finally bulldozed a few houses adjacent to the old bridge, tore it out and put in a wider version.

Everybody was happy with the ban. I would be very uncomfortable riding on that street even without the bicycle ban. The bicycle lanes on the adjacent one-way streets are very useful for getting from campus uptown to the "Square."

Last edited by Frankenbiker; 12-15-06 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 12-15-06, 07:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenbiker
Re: agreeing with our local bicycle ban on one street.

Yes, I agree with the bicycle ban on our street. I lived on that street from 1970 through 1993. It is very narrow and in portions there is a steep embankment on one side with a decaying "sidewalk" six feet above grade and no sidewalk on the other side, Telephone poles are within one foot of the curb (I unintentionally hit one with my hand once years ago when my arm was hanging out the window as a passenger in a car. Dang that hurt.)

The street is the most heavily traveled N-S street through town and is a direct route from campus to uptown bars. Semis and drunken drivers were common. Back when 18yr-olds could get into bars, college students would ride to the bars on bikes (and back) and get into all sorts of trouble.

There was an ancient bridge at the bottom of a ravine that was just barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Very dangerous. Last year they finally bulldozed a few houses adjacent to the old bridge, tore it out and put in a wider version.

Everybody was happy with the ban. I would be very uncomfortable riding on that street even without the bicycle ban. The bicycle lanes on the adjacent one-way streets are very useful for getting from campus uptown to the "Square."
Assuming I can take what you just wrote as the truth, the problem wasn't even cyclists slowing down traffic to a measurable degree but drunken college students doing stupid drunken things on bikes on a major road. Real good reason to ban cyclists

What's the speed limit on this road, btw? How about the bike laned street? The bridge problem sounds like an issue for cars only. Where's the danger for a 3 foot wide cyclist?
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Old 12-15-06, 01:13 PM   #21
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Yep, its the truth. The street is residential, but gets an inordinate amount of traffic. Stop signs, but no stop lights.

Since the street is a main throughfare between campus and bars, there were problems with intoxicated students driving cars as well as riding bicycles. The speed limit is 30 MPH on this street as well as the two adjacent one-way streets that have bike lanes.

Since they replaced the bridge with a new, wider one, there has been talk this last year of widening the entire street to make it safer. This, of course, has been met with resistance from property owners who would see their front yards (what little there is of them) disappear and have their front doors end up almost on the street.

They are currently widening another N-S residential street four blocks away to make it safer and to shift some of the traffic away from this narrow residential street.

Last edited by Frankenbiker; 12-15-06 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 12-15-06, 01:32 PM   #22
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The Anna,TX ban is on a 2-lane, 2-way highway with no shoulder. Id never ride that in the first
place. Anyway its an illegal law because its a state highway, and Texas doesnt allow cities to decide
rules of use for a state road.
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Old 12-15-06, 01:35 PM   #23
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<<Thread Hijack>>

Newsflash!!! Frankenbiker has discovered the only hill in "the cornfields of Illinois"!!

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Old 12-15-06, 01:48 PM   #24
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(C) Whenever a usable designated path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.
I think "usable" may be a useful wiggle word. If the side path is full of debris, it is not usable. Likewise, if it is filled with pedestrians, rollerbladers, etc., you may be able to argue that it is likewise not usable by bikes, especially since the law states that it is applicable only to paths designated for bikes, therefore the non-bike users are wrongly impeding you.

Less clear is if you believe the path to be unsafe, does that make it "unusable" in the eyes of the law? Bad news is, probably not. As to it's actual safety, I think that depends mostly on if it crosses a lot of side roads or turn-ins, and how those intersections are handled. If you notice a dangerous-looking side path being built, someone better either challenge the building of it, or challenge the law requiring you to use it.
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Old 12-15-06, 02:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenbiker
Yep, its the truth. The street is residential, but gets an inordinate amount of traffic. Stop signs, but no stop lights.

Since the street is a main throughfare between campus and bars, there were problems with intoxicated students driving cars as well as riding bicycles. The speed limit is 30 MPH on this street as well as the two adjacent one-way streets that have bike lanes.

Since they replaced the bridge with a new, wider one, there has been talk this last year of widening the entire street to make it safer. This, of course, has been met with resistance from property owners who would see their front yards (what little there is of them) disappear and have their front doors end up almost on the street.

They are currently widening another N-S residential street four blocks away to make it safer and to shift some of the traffic away from this narrow residential street.
A bike ban on a 30mph road? Plans to widen a 30mph for "Safety"? You've got to be kidding me. I don't mean for you to be the bearer of my frustration so I apologize for that but this is truly ridiculous.
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