Louisville Bicycle Club

Louisville Bicycle Club Newsletter — September-October 1997

More On Bicycle Law

by Robert M. Klein

How many times have you seen teenagers and adults riding their bikes on the sidewalk? Have you had to dodge a food delivery person on a bike while you were walking in downtown Louisville? Ever wonder if they were breaking the law?

After Earl Jones’ excellent article about the state law of bicycles and traffic, I decided to track down the local ordinances on the subject. While the City of Louisville has passed some laws concerning the operation of bicycles, and some of the small cities in Jefferson County may have ordinances (I couldn’t find any), Jefferson County has not enacted any laws on the subject; therefore, most, if not all small cities, and the unincorporated areas of the county, do not have any laws other than the state laws to guide the bicyclist.

City of Louisville ordinances provide that no person over 11 years of age or older may operate a bicycle on a sidewalk. No person regardless of age may ride on the sidewalk in the Central Business District. Also prohibited is the riding of a bicycle in a public park or playground except on a roadway or in a parking lot except within a designated bikeway that the Works Department is supposed to mark with signs. Curiously, the ordinance states, “No operator of any bicycle shall carry another person on such bicycle.” Of course, this is meant to prohibit the “toting” of another person, but, technically, this could mean that tandems are outlawed in Louisville. The question would be whether the operator is carrying the other person. So, I suppose it’s against the law for the stoker to slack off. That’s sure to start a lot of arguments!

The penalty for any of those violations is a fine of not less than $6 and not more than $50. While I think it is safe to assume that not many citations are issued for these violations, the law does give all of us some ammunition to help us educate and warn people that we see riding in an unsafe manner.

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last updated: 2 September 1997
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