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Puyallup considers prohibiting cyclists from sidewalks

(KIRO 7)

You hear plenty of stories about new laws and lanes to accompany cyclists, that it’s a bit surprising when the opposite occurs. Puyallup is looking it into banning bicycles from numerous sidewalks in the downtown area.

If passed, the ordinance would prohibit bicycles from all sorts of surfaces, including sidewalks, alleys, public paths, public parking lots, basically anywhere you’d have to ring your bell so you don’t hit pedestrians, reports The News Tribune. It wouldn’t apply to bicycle cops, medical personnel, and kids 12 and under, who will now rule the sidewalks.

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Bicyclists aren’t getting banned from the city altogether, as they’ll still be allowed a few feet over on the street, and they can still walk alongside their bicycles in humiliation on the sidewalk.

While Bellingham also has a similar sidewalk bike ban, cyclists are by no means being hounded off sidewalks all over. State law allows bicycle riding on sidewalks, but does allow individual municipalities to make their own laws, as Puyallup and Bellingham clearly have.

In Seattle, cyclists can careen down sidewalks just as long as they do so in “careful and prudent manner,” making sure to always yield the right of way to pedestrians like cars must do on the road. Whether that actually happens is up to pedestrians to determine.

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This isn’t the first time that Puyallup has made sidewalk cycling illegal. Up until 2014 it was banned, but the Puyallup City Council voted to change it because cyclists said they felt safer on sidewalks than roadways. But now that pedestrians don’t feel as safe with them there, it’s back to the streets.

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