Did you know that it’s perfectly legal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk in New Westminster?
Well, strictly speaking that’s not true, but it’s perfectly legal to ride your bicycle on most of the sidewalks in New Westminster.
British Columbia’s Motor Vehicle Act Section 183(2)(a) states:
A person operating a cycle must not ride on a sidewalk unless authorized by a bylaw made under section 124 or unless otherwise directed by a sign.
Section 124(1)(v) states:
The council of a municipality may, by bylaw not inconsistent with or derogatory to this Part, provide for the following:
the use, in places, under conditions and in circumstances specified by the bylaw, of sidewalks and crosswalks by persons riding cycles.
That means that municipalities in British Columbia have the power to allow people to ride their bicycle on sidewalks. New Westminster exercises this power through the Street Traffic Bylaw No. 6027, 1991. Sections 501.2 and 501.3 state:
501.2 A person operating a cycle on any sidewalk, footpath, or walkway in the City shall operate the cycle only in such a way that it will not interfere with a pedestrian lawfully on or using said sidewalk, footpath or walkway.
501.3 No person on a cycle shall operate the cycle on any sidewalk, footpath, or walkway set out in a Schedule attached to and forming part of this bylaw.
So there you have it. Section 501.2 states that you can operate a cycle (which in New Westminster is defined as “a device having any number of wheels that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride”) on any sidewalk in New Westminster, as long as you don’t interfere with pedestrians.
But there’s also Section 501.3 which refers to a Schedule attached to the bylaw. That would be Schedule 7 – Sidewalks, Footpaths and Walkways Where Cycling, Roller Skating and Skateboarding is Prohibited. There are nine stretches of street listed in that Schedule. Instead of listing them, I made this handy Google Map showing the roads along which you are not allowed to cycle on the sidewalks.
The roads are mostly in commercial areas with high foot traffic. The only exceptions to this are the small stretch of Twentieth Street (there are some small strip malls here but hardly any foot traffic) and the Waterfront Esplanade, which strictly speaking isn’t a road or a sidewalk.
There you have it. You’re allowed to cycle on most of the sidewalks in New Westminster. Just remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way, so don’t go mowing people down. And pedestrians, remember that for most of the streets in New Westminster bicycles are allowed, so don’t get shirty when you see one coming towards you.
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