Bicycle Safety and Sidewalks
As bicycle and bike use are increasing there are some things both the biker and the motorist need to know. First, as we all know, in a collision between a bicycle and a car, the car is going to win every time. These collisions can result in very severe injuries, including, brain injury, back injury, broken bones, scarring, road rash, spinal injuries causing paralysis including paraplegia and quadriplegia, and wrongful death.
What is the law regarding the use of bicycles and sidewalks? In Indianapolis, there is an ordinance that gives us clues on this subject, it reads as follows:
The Revised Municipal Code of Indianapolis-Marion County can be found online.
The local ordinance(s) regarding this topic are found at Chapter 431 regarding Streets, Sidewalks and Public Ways. State Law regarding bicycles is found at IC 9-21-11.
ARTICLE VI. BICYCLES*
Sec. 431-601. Definitions.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section.
Bicycle means and includes every conveyance or device which is designed:
(1) To travel on two (2) or more wheels in contact with the ground;
(2) With a saddle or seat for the use of a human rider; and
(3) To be propelled solely by human muscular power.
However, bicycle shall not include a pedal cab, as defined in chapter 903 of the Code, or a wheelchair.
Greenway means a linear open space which is intended for the use of pedestrians and non-motorized devices, and which facilitates transportation to neighborhoods and other community destinations.
(G.O. 45, 2001, § 1)
Sec. 431-602. Operation by children under twelve years of age; responsibility of adults.
(a) It shall be unlawful for the parent, legal guardian or custodian of a child under twelve (12) years of age to suffer or permit such child to operate a bicycle in a roadway in the city while such roadway is open and used by vehicular traffic; however, this subsection shall not apply when and where:
(1) The child is at least eight (8) years of age, and is accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or custodian who at all times is in position to observe and direct such child’s bicycle operation; or
(2) The child is riding only in that portion of a roadway which is designated by signs or pavement markings as being set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles; or
(3) The street where such roadway is located is designated by the city as a play street.
(b) A child under twelve (12) years of age may operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or greenway in the city in the manner provided by section 431-603(b) of the Code.
(c) After a law enforcement officer gives one (1) warning to a parent, legal guardian or custodian that he or she has committed a violation of this section, it shall be unlawful for such parent, legal guardian or custodian to commit a second or subsequent violation of this section. A second or subsequent violation of this section is subject to the enforcement procedures provided in chapter 103, article III, of the Code.
(G.O. 45, 2001, § 1)
Sec. 431-603. Operation on roadways, sidewalks and greenways; violations.
(a) A person who operates a bicycle in a roadway shall comply with the provisions of IC chapter 9-21-11.
(b) A person who operates a bicycle on a sidewalk or greenway in the city shall do so only in the following manner:
(1) The bicycle shall not be operated at a speed, or in any manner, which constitutes a threat to the safety of either the bicycle operator or other persons, or diminishes or impairs the free use of the sidewalk or greenway by other persons.
(2) The person propelling, and each person riding upon, a bicycle shall be seated upon a permanent and regular seat firmly attached to the bicycle;
(3) The person propelling the bicycle shall not allow more persons to be carried at one (1) time than the number for which the bicycle is designed and equipped;
(4) The bicycle shall be equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving an audible signal, lamps, and brakes in the same manner as is required by state law for bicycles operated upon a highway; and
(5) The bicycle’s bell or other device capable of giving an audible signal shall be sounded not less than fifty (50) feet from any pedestrian or vehicle approaching upon the sidewalk or greenway; and
(c) It shall be unlawful for a person to operate a bicycle in a manner prohibited by this section. A person’s first violation shall be subject to the enforcement procedures provided in chapter 103, article III, of the Code, and each second and subsequent violation is subject to the enforcement procedures and penalties provided in section 103-3 of the Code.
(G.O. 45, 2001, § 1)
Secs. 431-604–431-606. Reserved.
Editor’s note: G.O. 45, 2001, § 1, adopted May 21, 2001, repealed in their entirety §§ 431-604–431-606.
Formerly said sections pertained to manner of operation; impoundment of unregistered, stolen or abandoned bicycles and enforcement of this article as to children, respectively, as related to the operation of bicycles. See the Code Comparative Table.
Please, be very careful when riding your bicycle on the road. If you have been hit by a car, while riding your bicycle, and are injured, call injury lawyer John P. Young, right away.