Detroit looks to make biking legal on RiverWalk

It’s legal to ride your bike on most of the Detroit RiverWalk except for the portion in front of Hart Plaza.

Why? Because of this city ordinance:

Sec. 40-4-7. – Wheeled vehicles prohibited.

No wheelbarrow, handcart, automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, motordriven cycle, go-cart, unicycle, moped, solex cycle or other wheeled vehicles are permitted in Hart Plaza except as approved by the civic center department or recreation department for a scheduled event. This section shall not apply to a handicapped person in a wheelchair nor to emergency or service vehicles.

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It’s a little policy issue we shared with our wonky friends, but it wasn’t a big problem on the RiverWalk since it wasn’t enforced.

Apparently it’s more of big deal now because the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will soon maintain that portion of the RiverWalk. Currently the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) maintains the RiverWalk from the Port Authority to Joe Louis Arena. The Detroit Recreation Department is developing a maintenance agreement for the Conservancy to take the reins.

The Recreation Department is asking City Council to change the ordinance’s definition of Hart Plaza to not include the RiverWalk. They said it would be the “most direct and expedient resolution.”

Doing this solves the bicycling issue and others. For example, it’s also not legal to walk your dog or roller skate on this section of RiverWalk.

We’d rather the ordinance not restrict bicycles (or unicycles!) in all of Hart Plaza except during events, but the above proposal is a step in the right direction.

We do have to wonder why solex cycles were called out in the ordinance.


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