Friday, January 21, 2011

Woman riding a motorized bicycle killed in crosswalk

An article in this morning's AZ Republic reports that a 52-year old woman was riding her motorized bicycle on the sidewalk and proceeded into a crosswalk where she collided with an automobile. The article cites "Authorities" as saying riding a motorized bicycle on the sidewalk is illegal. I hope that was an accurate quote from City or State law. I have been told by a motorized bicycle vendor that there is a Federal Law that puts motorized bicycles (less than 20mph and 100watts power) under the same status as human-only-powered bicycles. The searching I did on this yielded that that Federal Law is applicable to consumer protection laws and policies, not traffic laws. Can anyone elaborate?

Actual article is at


Gene Holmerud said...

Phoenix City Code, Section 36-116 says:

"Every person propelling a pushcart or any device propelled by human power and having one or more wheels sixteen or more inches in diameter, shall be subject to all provisions of this chapter applicable to the driver of any vehicle, except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application."

However, 36-113 says:

"Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk he shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian."

Since it is illegal to drive a vehicle on a sidewalk per another section, by implication, 36-116 says using a bicycle on a sidewalk is also illegal. But, paragraph 36-113 implies using a bicycle on a sidewalk. Looks like a contradiction to me. Such contradictions can mean that a law cannot or will not be enforced, which is what we have. Sigh.

azbikelaw said...

much more about motorized bicycles here

azbikelaw said...

That all being as it may...
The real issue is about the crosswalk, not the sidewalk. The issue of whether of not it is illegal to ride in a crosswalk in Tucson (where it is expressly ILLEGAL to ride on the sidewalk) was analysed in detail by the city attorney's office and they concluded that it was LEGAL. See here under "crosswalk addendum".
(this particular discussion was all about general bicycles)