Bicyclists have rights on many sidewalks

Those are bike lanes on both sides of Poplar Drive, are they not? With the man on the bike symbols indicating such? Then why do pedestrians on the sidewalk have to jump out of the way when cyclists advance on them, especially when the bikes come from behind and the rider gives no warning? This could seriously impact a walker's safety, particularly an elderly walker. At the least, it probably causes lots of hurried trips home to change unmentionables. What is the citation cost for this offense, if any, or would only a Barney Fife-type cop cite a bicyclist for this? Glaring at the offending biker does not seem to be stopping this from happening.

— Happy But Jumpy Walker

We have a suspicion that referring to police officers as "Barney Fife" is not going to help you in your plight, Happy But Jumpy. That might be a place to start.

We at SYA looked into this for you, but we're not sure you're going to like what we found. According to state law, bicyclists are allowed on sidewalks unless other local ordinances exist.

There are several caveats to this, however.

ORS 814.410 says bicyclists who do not give an audible warning before passing pedestrians and do not yield right of way are committing Class D traffic violations.

"Basically (where) you just fly right by them and not tell them you're passing," said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

Also, bicyclists cannot travel faster than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a pedestrian ramp when a motor vehicle is approaching.

If you want a theoretical reprieve from sidewalk cyclists, you can head downtown. It is unlawful to ride a bike on the sidewalk in the area from Sixth Street to Tenth Street, and from Oakdale Avenue to Riverside Drive.

"In that zone, it's unlawful to ride bikes or skateboards or any wheeled vehicles on the sidewalk," said Cpl. Mike Strouse.

That city ordinance, 6.430, can net cyclists a $100 fine.

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