After months of debate, Bloomington is moving forward with plans to revise its bicycle rules. The City Council voted 5-2 Thursday night to allow bicycles on some city sidewalks.
Bloomington’s Planning and Transportation Department proposed a series of changes earlier this year intended to unify city code and protect cyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders.
Bloomington Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Beth Rosenbarger says in some circumstances riding on the sidewalk may be the safest way to move around the city, and the citizens should not be penalized for that.
“The intent is honestly to decriminalize rational and safe behavior,” says Rosenbarger.
Some residents attended the meeting to express their concerns with the changes. Carol Wise is 84 years old and says she fears walking on city sidewalks if she is forced to share them with bikes.
“The only way it’s safe for people my age to walk on the sidewalk is if the bicyclists have their feet on the concrete and not on the pedals,” says Wise.
The council approved several amendments to address the problems that could arise from allowing bikes on sidewalks. One outlaws riding on specific downtown sidewalks, and another creates signage to indicate where bikes can and cannot go.