Cyclists should use bike lanes not sidewalks

Those are bike lanes on both sides of Poplar Drive, are they not? With the symbols of the man on the bike indicating such? Then why do pedestrians on the sidewalk have to share with bikes and jump out of the way when bikers advance on them, especially when the bikes come from behind and give no warning?

What is the citation cost for this offense, if any, or would only a Barney Fife-type cop cite the biker for this? Glaring at the offending biker does not seem to be stopping this from happening.

— Happy but Jumpy Walker, via email

Are you sure you just weren't scowling hard enough? We're not the most avid cyclists here at Since You Asked, but the right angry face would keep our clumsy cyclist selves off the sidewalk.

To answer your questions, we first checked Chapter 6 of the Medford City Code, which covers streets, highways, public parking and public rights of way, and here's what it had to say about bikes:

6.430 Operation of Bicycles, Skateboards and Scooters.

(1) No person shall operate a skateboard, scooter or bicycle on a sidewalk within the area bound by Bear Creek, the north right-of-way of Sixth Street, the west right-of-way of Oakdale Avenue, and the south right-of-way of 10th Street, except where official signs mark a designated bicycle path.

Translated from legalese to plain English, that means the ordinance covers the downtown Medford area.

We checked with Medford police Sgt. Ben Lytle, who told us the fine for not complying with this ordinance is $150. Any police officer can issue the citation, but Lytle told us that volunteer community service officers also help enforce the statute.

"(The ordinance) contributes to the overall safety and atmosphere down there," Lytle said.

Poplar Drive falls outside of the area covered, but you're not out of luck Mr. or Ms. Jumpy Walker.

"If the bike lane is available, then that needs to be used," Lytle said.

He told us there usually needs to be a cause to take enforcement, such as an impaired cyclist or a collision.

Lytle encourages you to call the police station if you feel unsafe.

"We would want to be made aware of any dangerous situations involving bicycles," Lytle said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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