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Council Adopts Ordinance Allowing Bikes On Boardwalk

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted to change rules governing bikes on the Boardwalk and rules governing child bicycle safety at their June 10th, meeting.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council approved amendments at their June 10th meeting to clarify allowances for bicycles in the downtown central business district (CBD) and to update the Town’s ordinance to be consistent with the 2001 Child Bicycle Safety Act.
According to Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin, the Town is currently working towards replacing and expanding the wooden boardwalk that runs along the oceanfront in the CBD.
Parvin explained, "During the project review the technical review committee and boardwalk steering committee discussed different forms of pedestrian travel that have historically occurred at/on the boardwalk. Historically bikes have not been allowed to be ridden on the concrete or wooden boardwalk. For safety reasons no change is proposed in this provision for riding bikes in these areas, however this amendment does create the allowance for bicycles to be walked through the pedestrian areas of the central business district."
Parvin explained the pedestrian areas have been identified as: The boardwalk right of ways located east of Woody Hewett/Canal; and from the north side of Harper Avenue up to and including Cape Fear Blvd. 
He explained, "Staff went back to the Town Code to research allowance for bikes on the boardwalk. These regulations are listed under Chapter 9 Article III Bicycle Regulations.  Upon further review it was discovered that the enabling authority in the NC General Statutes changed in 2001.  This section of our code was last updated in 1998. Specifically the General Assembly adopted the child bicycle safety act during 2001."
The current ordinance stated that children "12 years old or younger shall wear a helmet." The amendment changes that rule. Now any child under the age of 16 is required to wear a helmet when on a bicycle.
The ordinance states, "With regard to any bicycle used on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public right-of-way, it shall be unlawful for any parent or legal guardian of a person below the age of 16 to knowingly permit that person to operate or be a passenger on a bicycle unless, at all times when the person is so engaged he or she wears a protective bicycle helmet of good fit fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet."
Currently, children age 4 years or younger shall be in a restraining seat. The new rule changes that so any child under age 16 shall be:
(a) able to maintain an erect seated position, 
(b) properly seated alone on a saddle seat (as on a tandem bicycle), and 
(c) properly seated and adequately secured to a restraining seat if the person weighs less than 40 pounds, or is less than 40 inches in height, the person shall be properly seated and adequately secured to a restraining seat.
Riding bikes on sidewalks or walkways in Town is still prohibited but with a couple of exceptions.
The amendment states, "Bicycles are not allowed to be walked or ridden on the wooden boardwalk any time" and, "Bicycles are allowed on sidewalks and walkways including on the boardwalk walkways located east of Woody Hewett/Canal Drive; and from the north side of Harper Avenue up to and including
Cape Fear Boulevard.  However, during times of high pedestrian traffic which typically occurs from Memorial Day to Labor Day bicycles should be walked on the boardwalk walkways."
In April of this year Mayor Dan Wilcox explained, "Having been down there thousands of hours over the last six years and watched it when it was crowded, not crowded, daytime and nighttime. I've never one time seen an angry bike
rider trying to cause anybody problems, being reckless, trying to run into anybody. They generally get off their bikes and walk them when it's busy even when they are not asked,"
Prior to the amendment the ordinance actually prohibited people walking with their bikes on the Boardwalk.