Brother Rosenberg owns Brother's General Store on Broadway downtown. It's a cool place with an old-timey feel and some really good food and confections.
Brother is sick and tired of his customers having to dodge bicyclists riding up and down the sidewalks of Broadway. Several have come very close to being run over, he said.
Brother said it's against the law to ride on the sidewalks, and he's called the city to ask why that ordinance isn't being enforced. He said he was told by City Manager Isaiah Hugley that because there are no signs prohibiting bicycles on the downtown sidewalks, they couldn't enforce a ban on them.
Well, I found myself in Mayor Teresa Tomlinson's office last week on some other business, so I decided to ask her if she knew anything about this issue. I explained about Brother's and Hugley's exchange and she said she did not think the absence of signs would make any difference, if riding on the sidewalk is against the law.
If it's against the law, it's against the law, and ignorance of the law is no excuse, she said.
In other words, murder is illegal even if we don't have signs all over the place telling people not to kill other people. (Although that might not be a bad idea in some places.)
Anyway, she decided to confirm this, and she did. After a series of brief phone calls between the mayor, city manager, city attorney and the chief of police, it was determined:
Riding a bike on Broadway's sidewalks is against the law.
No signs are necessary for the police to enforce the law.
Police are going to enforce the law.
Later, I looked up the section of city code dealing with bicycles and sidewalks, and I think I found the source of the confusion. It does mention having to put up signs to make riding on sidewalks illegal.
Article XII, Section 20-12.9, states that, "The chief of police is authorized to erect signs on any sidewalk or roadway prohibiting the riding of bicycles thereon by any person and when such signs are in place no person shall disobey the same."
And there are no such signs on Broadway.
However, that code section also states flatly that, "No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district." And Broadway from 10th to 14th Street is certainly that.
Let me say here that I've got nothing against bicyclists. I am one, on occasion. My wife is an avid cyclist. Some of my best friends are cyclists, as are some of my co-workers, one of whom is in fact an occasional violator of Article XII, Section 20-12.9. But I'm not naming any names, because I wouldn't want Chuck to get into trouble.
Cognizant Readers will recall that last week we reported on an unauthorized garbage dump that was approaching landfill status in the woods of Dinglewood Park, which runs along 13th Street just west of Weracoba.
When alerted to this, Parks and Recreation Director James Worsley said he'd send out a crew to handle it, and he did.
On Thursday, I drove over to Warren Williams Drive, which also runs alongside the park, near where the dump was found. There sat a big pile of about 20 garbage bags containing the dump.
I noticed amid the bags a couple of aluminum baseball bats, and I considered rescuing them. But then I remembered that possession of such weapon can be considered a felony.
Anyway, on Friday, a crew had removed the pile of trash and presumably taken it to a real landfill.
Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or firstname.lastname@example.org.