St. Petersburg, Florida -- It's been a topic of transportation debate for years. Bicyclists sharing sidewalks with pedestrians pose safety concerns in every major city, but in St. Petersburg, the problem has grown since the city's pedestrian activity has increased over the past several years.
Downtown resident Thom Sousa reached out to me after his dog, Lucky, was clipped by a passing bicyclist who Sousa says, "didn't even stop. [They] just kept right on going."
Originally from New York, Sousa believes St. Petersburg bicyclists belong on the roads -- not on the sidewalks.
However, St. Petersburg Police Department Public Information Officer Mike Puetz says that the city ordinance does allow for legal sidwalk cycling, but that cyclists are expected to use "prudence" and give pedestrians the right of way.
Police officers are authorized to issue tickets to cyclists on sidewalks, but whether or not the cyclist is being prudent comes down to the officer's judgment.
Sousa says he doesn't feel that the ordinance goes far enough. He references a recent weekend when downtown St. Petersburg hosted three large outdoor events at one time and says that the sidewalk bicycle traffic was "out of control".
Changes to the existing ordinance would have to be made by the mayor and the St. Pete City Council, so we will see that they are made aware of the growing problem and look into options that will satisfy both cyclists and pedestrians.
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