RMA responds to law against biking on the Boulevard Bridge

There is a law against riding bike across the Boulevard BridgeJames River News Hub had a large amount of interest and comments on a recent post asking how many people regularly ignore the Richmond law against riding bikes when crossing the Boulevard Bridge. The Richmond Metropolitan Authority provided a response: 

[Richmond] City Police and RMA Special Police Officers, regardless of property ownership, can enforce the law prohibiting the riding of bicycles on the Boulevard Bridge pedestrian walkway. According to state code 46.2-904:

“No person shall ride a bicycle….on a sidewalk, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles….is prohibited by official traffic control devices.”

The official traffic control device in this case, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Safety Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), is the regulatory signage, which states that riding a bicycle on the pedestrian walkway is prohibited by law.

The walkway is limited in terms of accommodating both the pedestrian traffic, as well as bicyclists riding their bikes. This can create a potentially unsafe condition for both the pedestrian and the cyclist.

The fine is up to the discretion of the judge in the case should it go to court, although according to the state code the civil penalty will be no more than $50. Court costs are $57.

Riding a bicycle in the actual roadway could also present a safety issue, particularly given fact that the Bridge does not have sufficient room for a shoulder.

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2 responses to “RMA responds to law against biking on the Boulevard Bridge

  1. I will ride a bike coming from the southside in the vehicular travel lane because you can get up a lot of speed coming down the hill. Coming from the north, though, I take the sidewalk and dismount whenever approaching a pedestrian. I’ve never had a problem, but I am waiting for the day I get a ticket.

  2. I regularly bike northbound in the northbound vehicle lane early in the mornings. I reach speeds over 30 mph down the hill and maintain 20 mph across the bridge on a mountain bike. I regularly get yelled at by the toll booth attendants that I am not allowed to ride in the vehicle lane. But there is no law against it that I have been able to find. The law prohibiting bike riding is only for the pedestrian sidewalk. I politely tell them this as I pass the toll booth. Traffic is usually light when I ride, so I’m not too concerned over creating a hazard as cars can typically pass me with no difficulty. It’s not particularly safe, but honestly, Richmond has no safe roads for cyclists. Richmond, VA is an extremely unfriendly town for cyclists, probably the worst in the nation. If VDOT would simply pave shoulders instead of ending the road at the white line, cyclists would have a safe place to ride. This would also benefit motorists as they would have a place to pull over should their vehicle break down or get a flat tire.

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