Rockford leaders to crack down on bikes on downtown sidewalks - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford leaders to crack down on bikes on downtown sidewalks


The beautiful weather today made for the perfect conditions to get out and ride a bike.  But city leaders say if you're over 16 years old, the sidewalk in downtown Rockford isn't an option. 

While riding downtown, you might notice the no parking or loitering signs but city leaders say there's a new sign to look out for.

It's been illegal for years -- so why add signs now? That's because some business owners say they're starting to get fed up with people breaking that law.

"I see this on a constant basis all day long," Jim Phelps, the owner of Phoenix Traders says. 

"It's just because the doors are so close to our sidewalks and so if you step out of a business, you're not necessarily expecting someone to be there on their bike," Jeremy Carter, a traffic engineer with Rockford says.  

Now, leaders say they're cracking down on those who choose to push the pedal in those spots with extra signage and education tools. If that doesn't work, police say they will step in. 

"We will end up stepping up enforcement and issue citations for people riding their bikes on the sidewalks," Assistant Deputy Chief Mike Dalke with the Rockford Police Department says.  

We spoke to a bicycle group, I Bike Rockford, which says it understands the rule, but wants more options for riders in the road. 

"Not every space in downtown can accommodate a bike lane, but it can accommodate things like sharows," Ashley Sarver, the president of I Bike Rockford says. "Sometimes, it could be a completely protected bike lane that's separate from the road."

Those accommodations aren't there yet-- but enforcement on the sidewalks is moving forward. It's something bicyclists need to keep in mind next time they're headed downtown. 

City leaders say you can expect to see more signage around town within the next week or two. 

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