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Bicyclists can ride in Scottdale business district

| Monday, June 16, 2014, 6:06 p.m.

Except in extreme cases or bad behavior, those riding bicycles in the downtown business district of Scottdale Borough will not get cited for violating a borough ordinance.

Borough officials are studying an ordinance that bans bicycling in the downtown business district. And while they study the ordinance, Mayor Chuck King has asked the borough police department to hold off enforcement.

In 2010 council passed an ordinance that prohibited the use of bicycles, scooters, skateboards, roller skates and roller blades in the business district.

But now, the Coal and Coke Trail Committee is working to bring the trail into the downtown area and is hoping that the portion of the ordinance prohibiting bicycles could be amended.

Borough Solicitor Jerry Yannity said the borough has three options — to suspend enforcement of the ordinance except in extreme cases as a stopgap measure while the ordinance is under review; invalidate the ordinance by repealing it and taking it off the books and then look at putting together an ordinance that better suits the borough's needs; or make amendments to the current ordinance.

The stopgap measure is now in place and a committee is looking into possible amendments to the ordinance.

Councilman Donald Stansak believes any bicyclist should be allowed on any street in the borough, but he doesn't feel bicycles belong on the sidewalks in the business district.

“If there's a fast-moving bike coming down the sidewalk and someone steps out of a store, there's a good chance they're going to get hit,” he said.

Yannity said it's almost a given that if an individual uses the streets to ride on and stops to visit a store, it's more than likely the bike will have to access the sidewalk at some point.

Some ideas that may be looked at in regards to the ordinance is if there should be an age limit for individuals accessing the sidewalks with their bicycles or if individuals should push their bikes when accessing the sidewalks.

The borough would like to consider setting up bike racks in strategic locations so that those enjoying the bike trail can park a bike in a safe location in the downtown area and then easily access stores on foot.

“(The borough) really needs an ordinance that can grow with it as the bike trail usage goes up without council having to rewrite it every four years,” Yannity said.

Rachel Basinger is a contributing writer.

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