Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Bicycle Signage In Downtown Area?

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
Need signs for safety

The safety of bicyclists on our streets is of heightened concern these days. One of the ways in which bicyclists are endangered is by not knowing where they may or may not legally operate their vehicles.
For instance, I understand that it is not legal for bicyclists to ride on downtown Spokane sidewalks. I presume this restriction is intended to make things safer for both bicyclists and pedestrians. But I’ve never seen a sign that would alert bicyclists to this law. Nor have I seen any signs which would inform anyone — bicyclists or motorists — that they are entering or leaving what is officially “downtown.”

If bicyclists know that they can’t ride on downtown sidewalks, they should also know that they therefore can’t assume the legal status of pedestrian and that they must not ride their vehicles in a crosswalk any more than a motorist may drive in a crosswalk.

As many injuries suffered downtown by bicyclists in accidents involving motor vehicles occur in or next to crosswalks, knowing that bicyclists are not to use crosswalks would go a long way to improve the safety of bicyclists. So, city of Spokane, how about some signs?

Joe Booth
Spokane


Mr. Booth has a point. It IS illegal to ride your bike on sidewalks downtown, yet 9 out of 10 people that I talk to in the community are not aware of this law. Even a WSDOT employee that I know wasn't aware of this. A little signage might help the situation.

2 comments:

Hank Greer said...

It's my understanding the city passed this ordinance after someone stepping out from the Review building ended up in a coma after being hit by a cyclist.

The WSDOT may not be familiar with this since it's a city ordinance.

Check out the description of the retail zone (http://www.spokanecity.org/services/documents/smc/?Section=16A.04.020) where non-motorized vehicles are prohibited on sidewalks (http://www.spokanecity.org/services/documents/smc/?Section=16A.61.787). Here's a link to a map I made of the retail zone:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=206542600492803643347.0004958658ca34e45f664&msa=0&ll=47.656543,-117.426081&spn=0.020697,0.06403

I think the discussion should concern having this ban in the first place. Riding in Riverfront Park is just as congested, if not more so, than riding on a downtown sidewalk.

SRTC Staff said...

Thanks @Hank, very helpful. My comment about the WSDOT employee was just a general one to show that even some 'transportation types' aren't familiar with the ordinance.

I'm okay with having the ban because I see bicyclists weaving in and out of pedestrians on the sidewalks downtown EVERY DAY and witnessed a small child almost get flattened just a couple days ago. I see your point about Riverfront Park though too. I recognize that, as a park, non-motorized transportation within it should be encouraged. And there ARE lanes designated for wheeled vehicles within certain areas of the park. The problem is there's no enforcement to keep people in those lanes.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.