Questionable: What are the rules regarding bicycle riders on sidewalks?
I do a lot of walking and bicycle riders constantly are driving on the sidewalks, especially in the downtown business district. I know state law says they must obey the same laws as motor vehicles, but when I try to talk with these people, they insist state laws don’t apply in the city. What are the rules regarding bicycle riders on the sidewalks? Are they required to have a license for their bikes? Stevens street is designated as a bike route, so does that mean they can ride on the sidewalks? I really wish that some education could be done, because any time I bring up the subject with one of the violators all I get are threats. Why is this happening? What can I do to protect myself?
Mike – Rhinelander
We asked Mike Steffes, Rhinelander chief of police, this question. He responded:
“Seeing that the primary focus of his question surrounds the bicycle ordinance, I will focus my response on his ordinance questions. The bicycle ordinance is found in 4.02.10 and can be located on our municipal website or www.municode.com. Below are the answers about bicycle registration and riding on sidewalks.
“No person shall ride or use a bicycle upon any public street, highway, alley or sidewalk in the city unless the bicycle has been registered and tagged. A bicycle is defined as any device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels.
“Riding on sidewalks. Bicyclists exercising due care may drive and operate their bicycles upon the sidewalk, except sidewalks abutting the streets listed below, designated pedestrian-only paths, and public school grounds. No bicycle rider upon any sidewalk shall ride in such a manner as to interfere with the rights of other persons using such sidewalk, or endanger such other persons and shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians on any sidewalk being used by a bicyclist. Every person who may legally operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk must ride such bicycle in single file and at low rates of speed and all persons riding upon any public highway when traveling in groups shall ride in single file and not abreast unless unavoidable. Here are the streets bicycles are prohibited from riding on in Rhinelander: Frederick St., from Thayer to Stevens; Rives St., from Courtney to Stevens; Davenport St., from Courtney to Oneida Ave.; King St., from Brown to Pelham; Pelham St., from Courtney to King; Anderson St., from Frederick to Pelham; Alban St., from Frederick to Anderson; Brown St., from Frederick to Courtney; and Stevens St., from Frederick to Pelham. In addition, every person propelling or riding a bicycle upon a public highway shall be subject to the ordinances and laws applicable to the operator of any vehicle except those provisions which by their nature have no application.”