Eau Claire: Walk Your Wheels on Downtown Sidewalks

Lauren Fisher

The City of Eau Claire will place about 100 signs and 100 sidewalk decals in the  downtown area notifying people to “walk your wheels.” The ordinance prohibiting bicycling on sidewalks in commercial districts, including downtown, has been in place since the early 1970s, said Leah Ness, transportation engineer for the city.

However, maintaining awareness of the rule has been an issue with new students and residents moving into the city all the time. Ness believes that having signs to remind people to walk on sidewalks will encourage compliance.

Downtown Eau Claire, from Madison Street to East Lake Street and from the Chippewa River to Dewey Street, is the largest commercial district where riders are required to walk their wheels. Riders should also dismount to travel sidewalks on Water Street between Second Avenue and Sixth Avenue, and on Bellinger Street between Cameron Street and Randall Street.

“We’re trying to reduce the speed differential between the pedestrians,” Ness explained. With doors opening outward onto sidewalks and pedestrians moving at a slower pace than bikers, skateboarders, and rollerbladers, there is a risk for collision or injury.

Cyclists should travel using the streets, following the same rules as automobile drivers – stopping at signs, signaling for turns, and using proper caution – or dismount and walk their bikes through commercial districts. Skateboards, roller skates, and non-motorized scooters should not be used in commercial districts on streets, sidewalks, or parking lots.

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