Law says bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks

The in basket: The Feb. 8 Road Warrior about some odd wording on a Bainbridge Island bike lane sign jogged Jim Fairbank’s recollection of an incident with a bike on the island.
“I had to step off the sidewalk, into the marked bicycle lane to let an adult and child ride by on the sidewalk (in Winslow),” he said. “Is there a requirement to use the lanes? Seems to be a  waste of time, effort and money, not to mention downright dangerous if nobody uses the lanes.”


The in basket: The Feb. 8 Road Warrior about some odd wording on a Bainbridge Island bike lane sign jogged Jim Fairbank’s recollection of an incident with a bike on the island.
“I had to step off the sidewalk, into the marked bicycle lane to let an adult and child ride by on the sidewalk (in Winslow),” he said. “Is there a requirement to use the lanes? Seems to be a  waste of time, effort and money, not to mention downright dangerous if nobody uses the lanes.”
The out basket: Officer Will Sapp of the island police force says the city has no ordinance addressing this, so state law controls. State law doesn’t forbid bicycles on the sidewalk, but does require that they yield to pedestrians they encounter there. The proximity of a bike lane doesn’t change anything. So the adult and child broke the law by not yielding to Jim.
Whether the money used to create the bike lane was a waste probably depends on how commonly bikers use the sidewalk instead.

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