Westchester Cycle Club President, David Wilson reported the following to his club members after speaking to the Village of Mamaroneck on their proposed cycling ordinance.
A new bicycle rack stands empty in Mamaroneck July 19, 2010. New bike rules are projected to keep bicyclists off the sidewalk and unattended bikes locked to racks out of the way of motorists and walkers. (Meagan Kanagy / The Journal News)
In the face of growing criticism of its anti-biking legislation, the Mamaroneck Village Board last year decided to rewrite its proposed law, which could put a cyclist in jail for 15 days for parking his or her bike in the wrong place.
We had a good showing last night, and the officials quickly backed off their proposal in the face of our common-sense argument.
We won’t know the final version of the bill until Aug. 6 as village officials address our concerns, and balance those concerns with their desire to make the downtown safer for pedestrians.
Village manager Rich Slingerland is seeking input on the measure. You can email him at email@example.com with your thoughts.
Nevertheless, the board set a public hearing for Monday, Aug. 16, at 7:30, at Village Hall, 169 Mount Pleasant Rd. We’d like to have a good showing that night.
At issue is the village’s plan to restrict bike-parking in its downtown area to designated parking areas in the village’s commercial district along Mamaroneck Avenue. There are currently four bike racks along the avenue, and plans call for 25 more hitching posts that would accommodate two bikes each.
Violating this requirement could lead to a fine of up to $250, 15 days in jail, or impoundment of your bike, if the police chief found their was “good cause” to do so.
Village Manager Rich Slingerland, who is the mastermind behind the legislation, said today he wanted to amend the ordinance to allow cyclists to park their bikes on a sidewalk against a building, as long as it didn’t impede traffic.
I’d rather the village ordinance state merely that bike parking should not impede pedestrian traffic. Bike are parking on light posts and signs now because there is no alternative. I have also recommended that the penalties be vastly reduced.
Another issue concerns children riding their bikes or using scooters on sidewalks. Many children do so to get to elementary and middle school. Under the proposed law, they would be banned from doing so throughout the business district, and on sidewalks in front of any retail establishment in the village. Parents there say letting kids ride on sidewalks in the densely populated village gives kids the opportunity to get somewhere safely on their own. The village says that’s too dangerous, but have yet to document any incidents.
David, thanks for the update and hard work on these issues.
I suggested today that the village allow children aged 11 and younger to ride the sidewalks, as is currently the rule in Bronxville.
Mark your calendar for Aug. 16. I’ll be updating you on the latest developments once I know them.
Yours riding safely,
WCC President David Wilson