Rochester’s updated bike ordinances

On September 17th, the Rochester’s City Council approved changes to the city code in regard to bicycles. The bike ordinances hadn’t been updated since the 1960s! For a full listing, see below. Of particular note is an official prohibition for cars parking in bike lanes. The city is being very upfront that enforcement will be soft and gradual and that there must be some efforts towards changing the culture and educating motorists before the prohibition is strictly enforced. The RCA and Reconnect Rochester are eager to collaborate with the city on that educational work. In the meantime, go ahead and thank council members for moving us in the right direction.

 

Amending the Municipal Code with respect to bicycle riding and bike lanes

BE IT ORDAINED, by the Council of the City of Rochester as follows:

Section 1. Chapter 34 of the Municipal Code, Bicycles, as amended, is hereby further amended to:

a. Revise Section 34-1, Definitions, to read as follows:

BICYCLE: Every two or three wheeled device upon which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a line or tricycle arrangement.

BIKE LANE: The portion of a roadway that has been delineated and marked for the use of bicycles, not including any lane specifically marked for the shared use of bicycles and motor vehicles.

CENTRAL TRAFFIC DISTRICT: The area bounded by the Inner Loop, North Union Street, South Union Street, Howell Street and Interstate 490, but shall exclude the Inner Loop, Interstate 490 and their respective frontages.

CYCLE TRACK: A pathway in the public right-of-way that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic and distinct from the sidewalk and that is marked for the use of bicycles. A cycle track may be configured for one-way or
two-way traffic.

b. Revise Section 34-6, Regulations, to read as follows:

A. Bicycle riding rules for persons 12 years of age or under. Unless accompanied by a rider over 18 years of age, children 12 years of age or under shall ride bicycles on the sidewalk, cycle track, Genesee Riverway Trail or other multi-use trail.

B. Bicycle riding rules for persons over age 12. Persons over 12 years of age shall ride a bicycle either on a usable bike lane or cycle track or, if a usable bike lane or cycle track has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along the bike lane, cycle track or right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. Conditions to be taken into consideration as potentially unsafe include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, in-line skaters, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards. Within the Central Traffic District, persons over 12 years of age shall not ride a bicycle on the sidewalk except where the sidewalk is identified as part of the Genesee Riverway Trail or other multi-use trail system, or if riding with a child 12 years old or under, or if reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions in a bike lane, cycle track or roadway. Outside of the Central Traffic District, persons over 12 years of age may ride bicycles upon the sidewalk, Genesee Riverway Trail or any multi-use trail. The prohibition against riding bicycles upon sidewalks in the Central Traffic District shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their duties.

C. Yield to pedestrians. The operator of a bicycle shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when using the sidewalk.

D. Riding in groups. Bicycles shall not be ridden more than two abreast upon a roadway. Persons operating bicycles upon a shoulder, bike lane, cycle track or sidewalk may ride more than two abreast if sufficient space
is available. When passing a vehicle, bicycle, in-line skater or a pedestrian, persons operating bicycles shall ride single file.

E. Passengers and towing. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped. The operators of bicycles shall not pull another person on skates, a skateboard or similar device and shall not pull or tow a sled, wagon or other item unless by the use of a bicycle trailer, trailing bicycle or other device designed and intended to be connected to a bicycle for that purpose.

F. Maintaining Control. Operators of bicycles must keep at least one hand on handlebars and both feet on pedals. The obligation to keep both feet on the pedals shall not apply to an operator who is unable to do so due to a condition or impairment that constitutes a disability within the meaning of federal. state or local law.

Section 2. Chapter 111 of the Municipal Code, Vehicle and Traffic, as amended, is hereby further amended to add a new subsection to Section 111-24, Standing or parking prohibited in specified places, to read as follows:

No person shall stand or park a vehicle, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers, or when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or traffic control device, in any of the following places, unless otherwise indicated by official signs, markings or parking meters:

E. Within a bike lane, a cycle track or a trail designated for bicycles or mixed uses.

Section 3. This ordinance shall take effect immediately.

Image courtesy of New York DOT

Posted in Advocacy, bicycle Rochester NY, bike Rochester, biking Rochester, cycling Rochester, General Biking, Group Ride, Rochester cycling, Rochester news, trails

Bike Week 2019 Gets Riders Out in Rochester

Cycling advocate Richard Fries, in town to serve as announcer for the Twilight Criterium, also led a slow ride highlighting bike infrastructure around Rochester.


Rochester’s Bike Week 2019 was a huge success! Thanks so much to the ride leaders and organizers for collaborating with us. Bike Week kicked off Friday, May 10th with the RCA’s annual Light Up The Night Ride. The weather was a little chilly but everyone had a good time decorating their bikes with glow sticks and riding around town. Saturday was area cyclists’ favorite day of the year: the MVP Twilight Criterium put on by Full Moon Vista. Kecia and Black Girls Do Bike went on a ROC Urban Slow Ride with announcer Richard Fries. At the same time, Jesse Peers led his first George Eastman Bike Tour of the year for George Eastman Museum. Families converged on downtown for the Criterium races in the evening.

Weather was awful for Mother’s Day so rides resumed Monday with Flower City Bike Party’s Welcome to Rochester Ride. On Tuesday, riders got their pick between the city’s Tuesday Guided Bike Tour and the Rochester Bike Kids’ Taco Tuesday Ride. The biggest ride of the week, the annual Ride of Silence, occurred on Wednesday as area cyclists rode for safer streets in solidarity with those harmed and killed while riding their bikes. The weekly Unity Rides resumed on Thursday, this time with a couple RPD bike patrol officers accompanying us.

Friday morning the RCA conducted a Bike To Work Day bagel & coffee giveaway beside the Union Street Cycle track to give commuters the chance to fuel up for their commutes. Deputy Mayor James Smith and many commuters from City Hall were present for Mayor Warren’s Bike Week proclamation. That evening, riders got to choose between the annual Beechwood Ride and the Tryon Bike Social Ride. Cyclists headed over to the Flower City Arts Center on Saturday for the free bike wash. Though the thundershowers postponed Sunday’s annual Seersucker Ride, 15 riders chose to ride anyway before the storm hit. Join us Sunday June 2nd at 10am at Abundance Food Co-op for the Seersucker Ride makeup date.

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Upcoming: Rochester Women’s Bike Festival

Don’t miss this year’s Rochester Women’s Bike Festival on 15 June! Focused on beginners, the event is overflowing with talks and workshops about how to bike safely and enjoyably around Rochester. Learn about traffic rules, gear, maintenance, routes, and more. Breakfast and lunch are included, ASL interpretation is provided, and daycare is available. Lucky attendees will win bikes from Yellow Haus, DreamBikes, and a personal donation. Admission is free, so register now. The event runs 9-4 on 15 June at the Adams Street Recreation Center, 85 Adams Street.

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In the News: Bike to School Day 2019

Rochester-area media outlets are noticing the growing momentum of bikes in our communities, if their coverage of Bike to School Day is any indicator. WHAM aired this segment focusing on the Bike to School Day event at School 23 in Rochester, and WHEC aired this segment giving an overview of the event.

It’s no accident that Bike to School Day is getting noticed–lots of schools are hosting events, and lots of community leaders are participating. At Indian Landing School in Penfield, more than 150 people rode in last Wednesday’s Bike to School Day event, including Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain and Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle. Penfield school superintendent Dr. Thomas Putnam greeted riders at the school as they arrived. At Jefferson Road Elementary in Pittsford, more than 150 people biked, including Town Supervisor Bill Smith and two members of the Town and Village Boards. At School 23 in Rochester, more than 60 people biked, including Principal John Gonzalez. The group was greeted by Interim Superintendent Dan Lowengard as they arrived at the school. At Manor Intermediate School in Honeoye Falls, 100 people biked, including Superintendent Eugene Mancuso and Principal Jeanine Lupisella. (See more about their event on this post on facebook, and this one and this one on Twitter.) In Brighton, Council Rock Primary School, French Road Elementary, and Twelve Corners Middle School all participated. Twelve Corners had about 150 riders, French Road had even more riders than last year’s count of 240, and Council Rock has expanded their event to span the whole week–nice. Big thanks go to all those leaders for their support of bike transportation!

Bike to School Day is a national event held the first Wednesday of every May, with thousands of schools participating. Its goal is to highlight biking and walking as great ways to get from place to place, not just one day each year, but every day. Biking and walking improve our physical fitness, make us healthier emotionally, reduce climate change, cost less than driving a car, and build community by putting us closer to our neighbors. And teaching our kids to go places by walking and biking lets them take on freedom and responsibility gradually and in age-appropriate ways. A kid with a bike isn’t stuck in his room with video games and social media all day!

Organizing a Bike to School Day event at your own school is really easy, and the Rochester Cycling Alliance would be glad to help–just send us an email. You can also bike with your own kids on the way to school, start a bike train with lots of kids biking to school and a few parents taking turns riding along, or let your older kids bike to school on their own. (My friends and I started in third grade.) You can also talk to your school about incorporating bikes and bike safety into physical education classes; the New York Bicycling Coalition has a curriculum ready to go.

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Rochester Bike Week 2019

It’s Bike Week in Rochester! In fact, Bike Week is so full of great events that it’s swollen to more than a week, running 10-19 May, 2019. So whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a curious new rider, you can get involved in lots of events to kick off the summer cycling season and explore Rochester on two wheels. All of these events are on the RCA Calendar, which includes more details (click the + at bottom right to get them on your calendar, too). Get a load of them:

  • The Light up the Night Ride, with glow sticks and prizes, starts 10 May at 7:30 pm at 131 Elmwood Ave.
  • The George Eastman Bike Tour, rolling through Rochester history, starts 11 May at 10 am at George’s place (900 East Ave).
  • The Twilight Criterium will race through the streets of downtown Rochester at breakneck speed on the evening of 11 May.
  • Kidical Mass will take a family ride for Mothers’ Day on 12 May at 10 am.
  • The Flower City Bike Party Ride will cruise through the southeast neighborhoods on 13 May, starting at 6:30 pm at 275 East Main St.
  • The City of Rochester will start its Tuesday Guided Bike Tours on 14 May at 6 pm at the Lake Riley Lodge in Cobbs Hill Park.
  • Rochester Bike Kids will stage their first Taco Tuesday Ride of 2019 on 14 May at 7 pm at 489 South Ave.
  • The Ride of Silence will have cyclists riding in solidarity for safer streets with better bike infrastructure on 15 May, starting at 7 pm at 275 East Main St.
  • The first of this summer’s Unity Rides will begin at 7 pm on 16 May at 855 West Main St.
  • It’s national Bike to Work Day on 17 May, and RCA will be offering free coffee and snacks through the morning at Union and Broad Sts.
  • The Beechwood Ride will tour that neighborhood on 17 May, starting at 5:30 at 530 Webster Ave.
  • Meanwhile, the Tryon Bike Week Social Ride will start at 6 pm at 80 Rockwood Place.
  • Get the grime off your ride at a free bike wash, 18 May 10 am to 3 pm at 713 Monroe Ave.
  • The Reconnect Rochester Beechwood Complete Streets Makeover will turn a dangerous intersection into a welcoming place for bikes, pedestrians, and drivers; help make the makeover happen 10 am to 2 pm on 18 May at 441 Parsells Ave.
  • Last but not least, the Seersucker Ride will take us out in style on 19 May, starting at 10 am at 571 South Ave.

Check out the RCA Calendar for links, contact information, descriptions, and more!

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Help keep bike share on Hudson Avenue

It’s April in Rochester, so our Pace bikeshare program has returned from hibernation, and bikes are back on the streets. In fact, I took my first bikeshare ride of the season yesterday, and it got me from a lunch meeting at U of R to an afternoon meeting in the East End for just $1, in less than 15 minutes, on a warm and lovely day, when I didn’t have my own bike with me.

As maybe you realize, $1 per ride isn’t enough to support the bikeshare program. Each of the dozens of Pace docks in Rochester exists because city government, businesses, community organizations, and citizens have come together to provide $9000 per year. Some docks bring customers and are enthusiastically supported by businesses whose earnings increase much more than the cost of the dock. But to really grow active transportation in Rochester, we need the bikeshare network to cover lots of places people go, and to extend to under-served populations for whom low-cost bike transportation is not just a novelty, but a true economic opportunity.

That’s why I urge you to help keep bike share on Hudson Avenue by making a donation for the dock there. Our friends at Reconnect Rochester fund the dock with a yearly campaign. You can read their well-stated explanation (and also find out about the perks of becoming a supporter). Donate here. I did!

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Canal Trail in Gates closing until Memorial Day, at least

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, the Canal Trail will be closed near I-390 in Gates from 22 April until Memorial Day or later. Cyclists are advised to find an alternate route. You can read more here.

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Support the Active Transportation Summit

The Rochester Cycling Alliance is co-sponsoring the 2019 Active Transportation Summit, organized by Common Ground Health. Scheduled for May 23, 8:30-4 at the Rochester Riverside Hotel, the summit is themed “Ideas into Motion”. It will feature consultant and activist Mark Fenton as the keynote speaker, New York State Department of State Director of Smart Growth and Planning Paul Beyer as the plenary speaker, and sixteen breakout sessions. You can learn more and get tickets here. And you can support the summit with a donation using the button below. Hope to see you on 23 May!




2019 Active Transportation Summit banner

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Speak up for cycle tracks on Main Street

The City of Rochester is planning work on two sections of Main St.: from St. Paul St. to State St., and from Goodman St. to Culver Rd. Cycle tracks (bike lanes separated from motor traffic by a curb) are included in one of the design options for each section. The Rochester Cycling Alliance supports cycle tracks for these projects! Cycle tracks promote the highest level of safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles including buses.

We hope you will take just a minute, right now, to send letters expressing your support of cycle tracks. We’ve written this draft letter about St. Paul to State, and this draft letter about Goodman to Culver, which you can use as templates to get started. Be sure to insert your own name and address where appropriate, and send both letters to the Hon. Norman Jones, the City’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, who is overseeing the design process. You could also send copies to Mayor Lovely A. Warren, Deputy Mayor James P. Smith, Councilman Malik Evans, and Project Manager Jeff Mroczek. Happy letter writing! Happy citizenship!

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Canal Path + Riverway Trail = 10,000 users weekly

We posted a few weeks ago about great new data from the Genesee Transportation Council showing just how much the Riverway Trail gets used–a lot! Now we can share preliminary data, also from GTC, about usage of the Erie Canal Path. During the week of 1 September, more than 4000 people used the Canal Path at the NY-15A bridge. Add that to the Riverway Trail numbers, and you find more than 10,000 users of these great community resources. Let’s make sure they are supported and expanded!

For all you wonks, here’s the data:
Sat, Sep 1, 2018: 800
Sun, Sep 2, 2018: 603
Mon, Sep 3, 2018: 683
Tue, Sep 4, 2018: 519
Wed, Sep 5, 2018: 400
Thu, Sep 6, 2018: 478
Fri, Sep 7, 2018: 653

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