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Do We Need These New Bicycle Ordinance Signs In Downtown Rochester?

I understand that we’re all just trying to be safe while sharing the road and sidewalks, but do these reminders seem a little excessive to you?

I noticed my first sign while walking to lunch on a sunny Friday afternoon. I had been hearing for months that bikes and drivers have trouble sharing the road in Rochester, and being new here myself, I couldn’t understand why. These newly painted signs on our downtown sidewalks are proof to me that this is a problem worth addressing further – for the safety of bicyclists, drivers, and pedestrians.

TSM Rochester
TSM Rochester

A news release sent via the City Of Rochester explains just why we need these signs on our sidewalks. They stated,

“Forty-five percent of all bicycle-car collisions take place in intersections with bikes riding off of sidewalks into the street. Drivers don’t expect bike traffic to come off of the sidewalk at cycling speeds. Riders are safest when bicycles are as visible as possible, which means sharing the road. The City Council is addressing the safety of all road and sidewalk users with this ordinance that was adopted at July 17, 2017 City Council Meeting.

This release also explained the penalty to bike riders who do not abide by this ordinance. They state, “Cyclists are required to walk their bicycles on sidewalks or ride their bicycle in the street when in this zone. Violations are subject to a $75 fine, plus the associated court costs.” Is $75 too much?

Is all of this even necessary? Why do we struggle with sharing the road? In my opinion, it seems like both sides (drivers and bike riders) are losing here. Anyone on a bicycle is now forced to keep up with traffic and pray that they are noticed on the road. Drivers now must prepare for more persons on the road. Sure, bicycles might be more visible thanks to this change, but why weren’t they before?

I have more questions than answers here, but I’d love to get more information from both sides.


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