Rochester's updated bike ordinances

On September 17th, the Rochester’s City Council approved changes to the city code in regard to bicycles. The bike ordinances hadn’t been updated since the 1960s! For a full listing, see below. Of particular note is an official prohibition for cars parking in bike lanes. The city is being very upfront that enforcement will be soft and gradual and that there must be some efforts towards changing the culture and educating motorists before the prohibition is strictly enforced. The RCA and Reconnect Rochester are eager to collaborate with the city on that educational work. In the meantime, go ahead and thank council members for moving us in the right direction.
Amending the Municipal Code with respect to bicycle riding and bike lanes
BE IT ORDAINED, by the Council of the City of Rochester as follows:
Section 1. Chapter 34 of the Municipal Code, Bicycles, as amended, is hereby further amended to:
a. Revise Section 34-1, Definitions, to read as follows:
BICYCLE: Every two or three wheeled device upon which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a line or tricycle arrangement.
BIKE LANE: The portion of a roadway that has been delineated and marked for the use of bicycles, not including any lane specifically marked for the shared use of bicycles and motor vehicles.
CENTRAL TRAFFIC DISTRICT: The area bounded by the Inner Loop, North Union Street, South Union Street, Howell Street and Interstate 490, but shall exclude the Inner Loop, Interstate 490 and their respective frontages.
CYCLE TRACK: A pathway in the public right-of-way that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic and distinct from the sidewalk and that is marked for the use of bicycles. A cycle track may be configured for one-way or
two-way traffic.
b. Revise Section 34-6, Regulations, to read as follows:
A. Bicycle riding rules for persons 12 years of age or under. Unless accompanied by a rider over 18 years of age, children 12 years of age or under shall ride bicycles on the sidewalk, cycle track, Genesee Riverway Trail or other multi-use trail.
B. Bicycle riding rules for persons over age 12. Persons over 12 years of age shall ride a bicycle either on a usable bike lane or cycle track or, if a usable bike lane or cycle track has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along the bike lane, cycle track or right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. Conditions to be taken into consideration as potentially unsafe include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, in-line skaters, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards. Within the Central Traffic District, persons over 12 years of age shall not ride a bicycle on the sidewalk except where the sidewalk is identified as part of the Genesee Riverway Trail or other multi-use trail system, or if riding with a child 12 years old or under, or if reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions in a bike lane, cycle track or roadway. Outside of the Central Traffic District, persons over 12 years of age may ride bicycles upon the sidewalk, Genesee Riverway Trail or any multi-use trail. The prohibition against riding bicycles upon sidewalks in the Central Traffic District shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their duties.
C. Yield to pedestrians. The operator of a bicycle shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when using the sidewalk.
D. Riding in groups. Bicycles shall not be ridden more than two abreast upon a roadway. Persons operating bicycles upon a shoulder, bike lane, cycle track or sidewalk may ride more than two abreast if sufficient space
is available. When passing a vehicle, bicycle, in-line skater or a pedestrian, persons operating bicycles shall ride single file.
E. Passengers and towing. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped. The operators of bicycles shall not pull another person on skates, a skateboard or similar device and shall not pull or tow a sled, wagon or other item unless by the use of a bicycle trailer, trailing bicycle or other device designed and intended to be connected to a bicycle for that purpose.
F. Maintaining Control. Operators of bicycles must keep at least one hand on handlebars and both feet on pedals. The obligation to keep both feet on the pedals shall not apply to an operator who is unable to do so due to a condition or impairment that constitutes a disability within the meaning of federal. state or local law.
Section 2. Chapter 111 of the Municipal Code, Vehicle and Traffic, as amended, is hereby further amended to add a new subsection to Section 111-24, Standing or parking prohibited in specified places, to read as follows:
No person shall stand or park a vehicle, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers, or when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or traffic control device, in any of the following places, unless otherwise indicated by official signs, markings or parking meters:
E. Within a bike lane, a cycle track or a trail designated for bicycles or mixed uses.
Section 3. This ordinance shall take effect immediately.

Image courtesy of New York DOT

Winter Biking Tips

A query came into the website asking help on biking through the winter. Gary’s answer would seem to have value to a lot of our riders especially considering the time of year, so we’ve posted it for everyone’s convenience. Any readers who have their own suggestions or experiences are urged to leave them in the comments section. 
I highly recommend studded tires. When I was younger and more reckless, I used to ride in the winter without them, but would occasionally take a spill on ice. I feel much more confident with studs. The downsides are that the tires are heavy and have lots of rolling resistance  My ideal setup is to have one bike with studs (for days with freezing weather) and another without, for the warmer days. Studded tires are no better than knobbies on snow; what they’re really meant for is to deal with ice.
I would look for tires with carbide-tipped studs. A couple of companies (Innova and North45) make tires with steel studs, but those can wear down completely in a single season. The carbide studded tires cost more, but can last for several years (I’ve been using one pair for four years now).
Studded tires are expensive. In the past, I’ve been able to save money by ordering from, a German online retailer. But you usually have to put together a very large order to avoid crushing shipping fees, and I have no idea if the exchange rate is still favorable. I think Towners carries studded tires locally, but I don’t know about other shops.
I’ve ridden several years with plain glasses, but started using goggles last year since my eyes water in temperatures below 15 degrees or so. I had to do some experimentation to find goggles that wouldn’t fog over. If you’ve had problems with fogging in the past, I would stay away from cheap goggles. I use a pair of Scott goggles with an anti-fog coating that seems to work well and that fits over my prescription glasses. They even have a tiny fan that turns on in high humidity conditions. (That might be overkill — it’s my understanding that the amount of moisture in one’s breathe is highly variable and you might not fog up in conditions that would bother me.)
Keeping my feet and hands warm is a big problem for me (but might not be for you). I use these Bar Mitts on my road bike:
But if you have a flat-bar bike, a good pair of mittens will work nearly as well. If not mittens (which interfere with dexterity), I would recommend “lobster gloves” like these:
If you use non-clipless pedals, I would recommend warm-weather boots in the coldest conditions. If you use clipless pedals, then you can buy winter cycling shoes (they tend to be quite expensive — $200 to $300) or neoprene overshoes. Some people cycle in the winter with clipless sandals and heavy socks, but I’ve never tried that.
You might also want to take a look at the icebike website:
The content hasn’t been updated in several years, but there is still some useful information there. Also, there’s a related icebike mailing list that is still active:
Hope that helps.