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Sidewalks are primarily for pedestrians, not cyclists

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POSTED August 25, 2017 1:41 a.m.

It is not uncommon for bicyclists — often times ridden by adults — come flying off sidewalks at downtown intersections.
It’s not an uncommon complaint.
And while Manteca Police may not be around when such behavior occurs, if they are it could land the bicyclist a ticket.
It’s because it is illegal to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk as well as any motorized mode of transportation except for powered wheelchairs that include the scooters popular with many disabled individuals.
The start of the school each year typical sees a jump in incidents and complaints. The basic problems revolve around people using sidewalks while piloting motorized devices and others not yielding to pedestrains.
Last week, a teen bound for Manteca High zipped down Yosemite Avenue sidewalks on a standup motorized scooter startling several pedestrians as they emerged from businesses.
The biggest offenders for illegal use of sidewalks, though, are bicyclists.
Municipal code prohibits anyone 12 years or older from riding on sidewalks located anywhere in Manteca. That said the code prohibits anyone — including those under 12 — from bicycling on sidewalks in business districts.
“There are obvious safety reasons why the city wants to allow younger children to use sidewalks,” noted Police Chief Jodie Estarziau.
The exception for younger children doesn’t make them immune from right of way concerns. The code calls for them to yield to pedestrians and to provide an audible warning before overtaking and passing pedestrians.
Bicyclists under California law are treated much like vehicles on streets. They are required to travel in the same direction of traffic and obey all traffic laws including stops signs and traffic signals. It isn’t an everyday occurrence but police do issue tickets to bicyclists that run stop signs and red lights.
Skateboarding, roller skating and new technologies involving similar means such as hoverboards are illegal in Manteca on sidewalks in business or commercial districts.
The police chief said officers are provided with information pamphlets that they use for reference as well as provide to people when they are given warnings or issued citations regarding the illegal use of motorcycles, motor driven cycles electric bicycles, motorized scooters and pocket bikes.
 The key points include:
uPocket bikes cannot be ridden on a sidewalk, roadway, any part of a highway, bicycle path, trail or on public lands.
uA motorized bicycle when operated on streets requires the operator to have a valid driver’s license or endorsement issued under the vehicle code for that class. Electric bicycles do not require a license. Electric bicycles have fully operable pedals with an electric motor less than 750 watts. Motorized bicycles may not exceed 30 mph.
uMotorized stand-up scooters must have a seat and cannot exceed 15 mph.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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