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Sidewalks are for Pedestrians

Pedestrians use sidewalks to travel safely along busy city streets. During the summer months sidewalks are congested with pedestrians, cafes and vendors. When cyclists, in-line skaters and scooters are also involved, conflicts arise that could be prevented.

There are many hazards involved when cycling on the sidewalks. If a cyclist hits a pedestrian, the injuries can be severe. Seniors are especially vulnerable and can fall merely by being startled. Anyone with a visual or hearing impairment is at increased risk.

A City bylaw allows cyclists with a tire size of 61cm or 24 inches or less to ride on the sidewalk. The intent of this bylaw is to allow young children to cycle on the sidewalk while they learn to ride. The bylaw is based on wheel size because it is difficult for Police to enforce age-based bylaws, as most children do not carry identification. This is a municipal bylaw and rules vary in communities across Ontario.

The Cornwall bylaw states that riding a bicycle with tire size over 61cm (24 inches) on sidewalks is prohibited, as is riding/operating a bicycle (or roller skates, in-line skates, skateboard, coaster, toy vehicle) on a sidewalk without due care and attention and reasonable consideration for others.

Many cyclists ride on the sidewalk because they are afraid of cars. But choosing to ride on the sidewalk does not eliminate the risk of a car and bike collision. Cycling on the sidewalk is a contributing factor in 30 per cent of car and bike collisions. Collisions occur when cyclists ride off the sidewalk into the roadway or when motorists are exiting a laneway or driveway.

Using Crosswalks as a Cyclist
Cyclists are considered vehicles, according to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. When approaching an intersection where the cyclist needs to make a left hand turn, the cyclist has two options.

  1. Move into the appropriate lane to safely cross the intersection and turn left as a vehicle in the flow of traffic.
  2. Dismount and walk their bike across the crosswalk as a pedestrian.

Cyclists must not cycle through a crosswalk and must stop behind the white stop line. Being in front of the white stop line is illegal, and can be dangerous too, as placing yourself in the intersection may create a conflict for vehicles behind you that want to turn right.

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