Longmont repeals bike dismounting ordinance

LONGMONT, Colo. — Cities across Colorado continue grappling with how to better regulate a growing number of bicycles and e-scooters on streets and sidewalks. Many ordinances focus on safety.

But instead of enacting more rules for cyclists, Longmont council members on Tuesday scrapped an ordinance that’s been on the books for eight years. The ordinance requires cyclists on sidewalks to dismount when they get to a crosswalk. Some say that practice is safer while others argue it forces a needless inconvenience.

“I actually knew someone here in Longmont [who] got stopped by a cop because he didn’t walk his bike across the street,” said a Longmont cyclist named Brian.

The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to take the dismounting ordinance off the books.

“I think sometimes when you walk across an intersection, it’s going to be more dangerous than getting through the intersection quicker,” Brian said.

The dismount ordinance is widely misunderstood, according to a city transit official who addressed council members. He said a court has interpreted dismounting to simply mean a bike must stop and the cyclist place one foot on the ground before entering a crosswalk.

The traffic code will officially disappear on Aug.26.

Moving forward, Mayor Pro Tem Polly Christensen says the focus needs to be on moving bikes and scooters off crowded sidewalks in Longmont.

“We have to make sure that people are not bicycling on the sidewalks downtown,” Christensen said during the meeting. “They have to be fined if they are.”

Currently, there is no law in Longmont forbidding people from riding bikes on sidewalks, according to the mayor. Statewide, cyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks unless a city outlaws the practice.

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