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Friday, March 30, 2012

Who Has the Right of Way?

The warm weather we have been having has brought questions about bicycles and pedestrians. “Is it legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Newton Falls? When coming towards each other, who has the right of way, the pedestrian or bicyclist?” While the Newton Falls Public Library staff cannot give legal opinions, we can direct our patron to the laws pertaining to their inquiries.

In response to the first question, section 373.11a Riding on Sidewalks of the Newton Falls Codified Ordinances states: “No person shall operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district or upon a sidewalk where signs are erected prohibiting such.”

As to our patron’s second question, there are a couple of different ordinances which pertain depending whether the situation takes place on the sidewalk or on the road. 
  • 373.01a Code Application to Bicycles states “The provisions of this Traffic Code that are applicable to bicycles apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any street or upon any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.” 373.07a Riding Bicycle . . . Obedience to Traffic Rules: “Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway. . .  obeying all traffic rules applicable to vehicles . . .”
  • 371.07a Right of Way on Sidewalk: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk.”
  • 371.05d Walking Along Highways:  Except as otherwise provided in Section 313.03 and 371.01, any pedestrian upon a roadway shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

During our search we discovered some other interesting laws applying to bicycles in Newton Falls.
  • 373.05a Signal Device on Bicycle:  A bicycle may be equipped with a device capable of giving an audible signal, except that a bicycle shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a bicycle any siren or whistle.”
  • 373.12a Bicycle License and Plate Required:  “No person shall ride or operate a bicycle on any of the streets, alleys or public highways of the City unless the bicycle has been licensed and a license plate is attached thereto as provided in this chapter.”

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