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Mountain View To Ban Sidewalk Cycling and Skating

Mountain View city officials say the sidewalks along Castro Street and San Antonio Road are too narrow for people walking and bicycling to share. Photo: Eric Fredericks / Flickr

On Tuesday September 5 the Mountain View City Council took a major step towards cracking down on all forms of active transportation, reviewing an ordinance that bans bicycling, skating, and other “transportation devices” on the sidewalks of Castro Street and San Atonio Road. Skating, skateboarding, and kick scooters would be banned on all roadways in the city.

The resolution would “prohibit bicycle riding on sidewalks along Castro Street from Central Expressway to High School Way/Yosemite Avenue and along San Antonio Road from California Street to El Camino Real.” Public works staff say that pedestrian volumes here are too high to share sidewalk space with bicyclists.

The new prohibitions would also ban other “transportation devices”, meaning roller skates, kick scooters, and both non-motorized and motorized skateboards from the sidewalks of the same two streets, and ban their use on all roadways. Mountain View city staff proposed these specific prohibitions, and the city’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) “was generally supportive” of the bans when discussed at the March 30, 2106 and August 31, 2016 BPAC meetings.

The only exception to the new rules proposed by staff is for people under the age of 13 years. BPAC members proposed more exceptions, arguing that sidewalk cycling and skating should be legal for everyone who is (1) travelling 5 mph or slower, (2) travelling on a sidewalk that’s only on one side of the street, and (3) travelling on streets where the speed limit is 35 mph or greater. But city staff overruled these suggestions and recommended their original proposal to the City Council.

“Wrong-way riding on the street is the number one cause of bicyclist at-fault collisions in Mountain View and many other jurisdictions across the country,” wrote Public Works Department staff in a September 5 memo. “The same conditions contributing to collisions when bicyclists ride against traffic in the street apply to riding on the sidewalk. Prohibiting riding against traffic on both streets and sidewalks is consistent with education efforts to minimize the behavior.”

The ordinance would also ban bicycles, kick scooters, roller skates, and skateboards from all city-owned parking structures, except for the limited purpose of accessing bicycle parking. Bicycle parking is only allowed in “areas designated for bicycle parking”, and allows the city’s Police Department to seize and hold bicycles and transportation devices for up to 30 days for violating any provision of the ordinance twice within one year.

Mountain View’s cycling and skating ban ordinance will be reviewed again at the next BPAC meeting on September 27.