Posted by Will Vanlue (Contributor) on January 18th, 2012 at 10:55 am
At a public hearing on Tuesday, Sherwood police and city councilors clarified the purpose of a proposed city ordinance that prohibited the use of bicycles and other “wheeled activities” within 30 feet of a public space. According to officials, the ordinance is not aimed directly at bicycles nor will it apply to all areas of the town.
Due to weather conditions, Sherwood Police Chief Jeff Groth (who has been the driving force behind the ordinance) was unable to attend the public hearing. Captain Jim Reed spoke on his behalf and was quick to point out that the ordinance will only apply in areas where the City Manager approves signage prohibiting certain activities.
“If we turned around and enforced it to the extreme…we’d all be in a heap of trouble.”
— Keith Mays, Mayor of Sherwood
Captain Reed also explained that Sherwood Police are not expecting to write many $50 tickets, as allowed by the ordinance, but instead will focus on other methods to prevent damage from improper use of public facilities. He went on to say that the Police Department’s goal is to have people voluntarily comply with signage in public spaces. “We’re not going to be out there writing a bunch of tickets.” He continued, “That is an option but it is a last resort for us after voluntary compliance and education.”
Steven Soto, who lives with his family in Sherwood and commutes on his bike to his job in Tualatin, addressed the council and explained his frustration at the wording of the ordinance. Along with commuting, Soto rides bikes with his family and felt that wording of the ordinance marginalized people riding bicycles in Sherwood
the “public right of way” around
Cannery Square plaza.
Mayor Keith Mays agreed with Soto that the wording of the ordinance was severe and added, “If we turned around and enforced it to the extreme…we’d all be in a heap of trouble.”
After discussion between city councilors concerning how they could clarify the wording of the ordinance, Mayor Mays introduced an amendment to specifically name areas where the ordinance is not applicable. The amended ordinance, which passed without further opposition, includes the following section (the Mayor’s amendment is in bold):
D. Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit a person from:
1. Lawfully riding a bicycle, unicycle, roller-skates, roller-blades, scooter or skateboard to and from a designated bike rack or storage facility designed for that purpose; or
2. Riding or using a bicycle, unicycle, roller-skates, roller-blades, scooter or skateboard in any public place, park or greenway that is specifically designed for such use, such as roads and public right of way.
The Mayor’s amendment and Captain Reed’s words at the meeting seem to indicate Sherwood has no problem with people continuing to use bicycles in public spaces, so long as they obey posted signs.
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