I took this photo of Elaine Nesbit riding her bike in front of Tiny’s Hot Dogs/Dogs All Day this morning.
She agreed to be the poster child for a discussion about the Northfield City ordinance that makes riding bikes on downtown sidewalks a petty misdemeanor.
She claims that Division St. downtown isn’t safe for bike riding, kids especially. So does my wife. I’m not so sure.
So is this an act of civil disobedience? Do adult bikers get cited for violating this ordinance or is it mainly youth skateboarders? Should I have performed a citizen arrest and escorted her to the police?
The relevant ordinance language:
Sec. 78-136. Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Central business district means the area of the city bounded on the north by Second Street, on the south by Seventh Street, on the east by Washington Street, and on the west by Water Street and all commercial, business and public property adjacent thereto.
Operate means to ride on or upon or control the operation of a skateboard or bicycle.
Skateboard means a device for riding upon, usually while standing, consisting of an oblong piece of wood or of other composition mounted on skate wheels. The term “skateboard” includes a scooter kopen.
(Code 1986, § 980:00(1))
Cross references: Definitions generally, § 1-2.
No person shall ride or operate a bicycle, roller skates, in-line skates or skateboard upon the sidewalk or other public walkway including the riverwalk and pedestrian bridge within the central business district as defined in section 78-136.
(Code 1986, § 405:20(4)(4); Ord. No. 862, 5-21-2007)
Except as otherwise provided in this article, any person who violates this article shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor except that the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if the person has been convicted of a violation of this article within the immediately preceding 24-month period.
(Code 1986, § 980:00(3))