More and more bicycles are showing up in downtown Rockford as people take advantage and the plethora of things to do in the area. You might not realize it but there are bicycle lanes throughout Rockford, including downtown, but they're not everywhere. (Check out this map for designated bicycle routes and paths.) This might be the reason some riders choose to ride on sidewalks. Although riding a bicycle on sidewalks isn't against the law in Illinois, there are "rules of the road" for bicycles, too. Rockford Police are looking to change that.

According to Illinois Secretary of State, there are laws for riding on sidewalks, where permitted.

When walking or riding your bicycle on a sidewalk or along a crosswalk, you must obey all pedestrian signs and signals.

Bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks or crosswalks. Slow down and go around them when possible.

When approaching a pedestrian from behind, slow down and give an audible signal to alert him/her of your presence before passing them.

WREX says Rockford Police and city officials do not want people riding bicycles on downtown sidewalks. In fact, the plan is to post signs lettings riders know it is illegal to use a bicycle on sidewalks. RPD plans to strictly enforce the law, too.

Rockford city leaders and police say they're stepping up enforcement to make sure people are not using their bikes on downtown sidewalks.

It's hard to argue against it considering all the foot traffic along downtown, especially restaurant servers walking to the parking spot patios with food & drinks in hand. It's also easy to play devil's advocate and side with bicycle riders. Have you seen how people drive on Rockford streets. Even with designated bicycle lanes, people are always in a hurry and/or not paying attention. Drivers may also be confused with proper driving etiquette when encountering a bike rider.

You can read those rules here.

As of this writing, there is no exact announcement of when police will begin enforcing no bicycles on downtown Rockford sidewalks.

[H/T WREX]


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