Salisbury Residents Support Proposed Md.Sidewalk Bike Bill - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Pedestrians and Cyclists Support Proposed Md. Sidewalk Bike Bill

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- If you find yourself riding a bicycle on a sidewalk anywhere in Maryland, the thought of it being illegal probably does not cross your mind. However, changes to the law may be in the works.

A proposed bill would allow anyone to ride their bikes on sidewalks unless prohibited by a local law. 

Right now, for example, Salisbury does not allow anyone to ride bikes on its sidewalks.

Most people in the city told WBOC that they would like to see the state law change because the city already does not have enough bike lanes or bike paths to accommodate riders.

Sandra Plato said she has had plenty of close calls riding on her bike around the city, but said that she will never forget the most recent incident. 

"Last month I got t-boned by a car while biking on 13," Plato said.  She walked away with minor scratches and bruises. However, she said it is one of the reasons why she wants to see the state's current law changed. 

"I would rather have a pedestrian like walk near me than a car speed by me," Plato said.  

Most people who walk on Salisbury's sidewalks said if the bill passes, they would be OK with sharing the space.

"I don't think we have as much funding for to maybe have different bike paths, so since there are already sidewalks here then why not just share what we have?" said Rafat Arefy.

"I believe pedestrians are aware of their surroundings and the bikers themselves are aware of the pedestrians around them," said Shawn Lewis. "If the bikers were to go on the street off the sidewalk that would create a hazard for drivers on the streets." 

On Wednesday, WBOC found Angela Chalk following the law by not riding on the sidewalk but she said that is not always the case when it comes to looking out for her safety.
"I use the sidewalks when there is nobody on the sidewalks with my bike because it is safer or else there is all this traffic especially with parents getting off of work," Chalk said.

Currently there is a proposal for bike lanes to be added in the city. The proposal is just an idea that's coming from a local group called Bike-SBY.

Matt Drew, who is one of Bike-SBY's organizers, said the city's public works department is working to get a design approval from the Maryland Department of Transportation. He said that a bike lane for Camden Avenue is slated to be completed this spring. 

Meanwhile, the state's proposed bill would have to get out of committee first, then pass the Senate and the House before it can become law in Maryland. 
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