Bicycling in Grand Rapids by ghkgkyyt


									Bicycling in Grand Rapids
Bicycling is a great way to get around town. It’s a healthy way to get aerobic exercise and burn calories while going
somewhere. It uses no fossil fuels or non-renewable resources. It helps reduce traffic congestion and parking hassles. It’s
just about free. And on a bike, you can ride quiet side streets, and park right by the door.

The City’s Master Plan, adopted in 2002, offers guiding principles that influenced the preparation, content and outcomes
that were adopted as a part of the final Plan. Several of these principles address the need to offer a balanced
transportation network. Although the primary mode of travel in Grand Rapids is the private car, automobile-oriented
transportation and land use policies reduce transportation choice, adversely affect air quality and safety, and discourage
physical activity. We are a “cool city,” and we support bicycling a means of transportation, recreation, physical fitness,
and fun.

The City Code
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists (this is a state law). It is legal to
ride in the street, going the same direction as other traffic and obeying traffic signals. For the
complete City code language pertaining to bicycles, click ***here.

Bike GR map
The City has a great map that will make your bicycling life a lot easier. It’s called Bike GR: A Guide to Bicycling in and
around Grand Rapids, and it’s available at City Hall, bicycle shops, and library branches (GRPL and Kent District libraries).
The map depicts preferred and secondary bike routes, places where you should use extra caution (such as bridges and
freeway intersections), all of the established local trails, and all the parks and other open spaces in the area. There’s an
enlarged map that shows the downtown area (with bicycle rack and locker locations), and one showing all of the Kent
County road network.

Let’s roll!
If you are just getting started in bicycling, any bicycle shop can help you select the bike and accessories you’ll need. Most
shops also stock books that contain helpful information on commuting, riding in traffic, how to carry things, and how to
select a route. All you really need is a bicycle, helmet, lock, and a backpack or luggage rack. Other useful accessories
include a water bottle and carrier, rear view mirror, bright conspicuous clothing, lights for night-time riding, and a patch
kit and pump.

You can take it with you
Our award-winning bus system is bicycle-friendly: all of The Rapid’s buses are
equipped with bicycle racks. You can access local trails without riding through traffic,
catch the bus home during an unexpected rainstorm, or combine your commute with
a stop for errands or fun. You can ride the bus out to Allendale, and ride your bike
around the GVSU main campus.
It’s easy to put your bike on the bus. Make sure the driver sees you, then load your
bike on rack in front. Board and pay the fare for yourself; bike rides free! For more
information visit

Visit City Hall
Need to pay your water bill? Buy some trash bags? Ask questions about your property taxes? Ride your bike downtown
and avoid the parking fee. There is a convenient bike rack located underneath Calder Plaza on Monroe Street. It is in
front of the City-County information desk; during business hours there’s always someone watching your bike. (This is also
                                         a good place to park if you’re attending an event at the DeVos Place or
                                         Performance Hall right across the street.)

                                           Work downtown? Want to rent a bike locker? These are located at the “card
                                           access” entrance to the Government Center parking facility, on Monroe just
                                           south of Michigan Avenue. Rental fee is $3.00 per month. For information call
                                           the Department of Parking Services at 456-3290.

                                           Bike licenses
                                           If your bike gets lost or stolen, a bike license can help get it back, and it can
                                           serve as ID in the event of an emergency. Licenses are available for free at all
                                           City fire stations. You’ll need to bring in your bike and fill out a short form.
                                              Rapid Wheelmen
                                              For information on this local bicycling club, visit their
                                              website at

Kent Trails has maps and more
information about the Kent Trails linear parks.

     People who live in
     neighborhoods where they must
     drive are significantly more
     likely to be obese than those
     able to walk to destinations.
     -- American Journal of
     Preventative Medicine

Michigan’s landscape is being transformed on the
large scale by urban sprawl, and our neighborhoods,
communities and cities are paying the price.…
Michigan spends its resources building outward in
long bland strip malls…. Where we once invested
resources in beautiful and long-lasting architecture,
                                                                 Bike commuting expenses
we now settle for plasterboard strip malls tossed up
                                                                 Bicycle cost
virtually overnight. Instead of living near our jobs             average $687 median $500
and spending more time with our families, we live
far out on the fringes and sit in our cars sometimes             Annual expenses: Average $714
an hour or more as we commute to jobs in the city.               Bike purchase         $308
When you look at our major cities, with their empty              Upgrades              $102
skyscrapers, deserted thoroughfares, and empty                   Consumables (tires)   $ 76
houses, it’s clear that something has changed over               Clothing              $ 89
the last half century. We have abandoned our                     Tools/repairs         $ 89
investment in these great population centers, and                Miscellaneous         $ 50
instead are sprawling out to develop our fields and              -- Transportation Research Board
farmland. Homes and businesses are now more
spread out and use up more land, asphalt and
resources to provide the same services we used to
get locally. Convenient urban neighborhoods have                                        The average annual cost
been traded for suburbs in which you absolutely                                         to own and operate a
must climb in your car just to go get a loaf of bread                                   motor vehicle in the U.S.
or take your children to school.                                                        is $6893. This includes                                                                        gas, maintenance, tires,
                                                                                        insurance, licenses,
                                                                                        registration, taxes,
                                                                                        depreciation, and a
 Here’s a tip: rather than riding alongside the curb, stay in the travel                finance charge.
 lane and ride a door-width away from the line of parked cars. You’ll                   -- AAA Michigan
 be more visible and predictable.

Source: Street Smarts
How far are you going?

Most trips are less than five miles, a distance which is well within the abilities of even a new bicyclist. Take a look at this
map: most destinations are very close by. (How long do you spend looking for a parking space? How much time do you
spend working out at the gym?)
Grand Rapids city code pertaining to bicycles

BICYCLES                                                          pedestrian on the sidewalk or so near thereto as to
ARTICLE 8. BICYCLES*                                              constitute an immediate hazard.
                                                                  (b)      When any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk
__________                                                        or bicycle trail, he or she shall yield right-of-way to all
*State law references: Authority to regulate bicycles, MCL        other lawful users of the sidewalk or bicycle trail.
257.606(1)(i), MSA 9.2306(1)(i).                                  (4)      When any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk
                                                                  or bicycle trail, he or she shall give an audible warning
Sec. 10.130. Definitions.                                         signal by bell or other suitable warning device, as provided
As used in this Article, the following words and phrases          in Section 10.134, to pedestrians and other lawful users of
shall have the following meanings:                                the sidewalk or bicycle trail. Such signal shall be given a
(1) Bicycle Route means a route or course of travel over          reasonable distance before overtaking or passing by such
City streets, highways or rights-of-way which has been            pedestrian or other lawful user of the sidewalk or bicycle
designated for bicycle travel by posting of signs.                trail.
(2) Bicycle Trail means a Section of roadway, sidewalk or         (5)      When any person is riding a bicycle from a sidewalk
other pathway set aside for use by bicycle and pedestrians        to a roadway, or from curb to curb within a crosswalk, or
and so designated by signs.                                       from a roadway to a sidewalk, he or she shall stop and
(3) Bicycle Path means a Section of roadway, right-of-            alight before crossing the curbline and shall proceed on
way or other pathway which is set aside for use exclusive         foot, provided, however, that the foregoing provision shall
by bicycles, and is so designated by signs.                       not apply with such rider is in a driveway.
(4) Bicycle means every device propelled by human                 (6)      No person shall ride any bicycle upon a sidewalk or
power upon which any person may ride, having two (2)              bicycle trail unless such bicycle is propelled solely by
tandem wheels either of which is over twenty (20) inches          human power.
in diameter.                                                      (7)      Wherever a bicycle trail, bicycle path or paved
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75; Ord. No. 78-57, 7-11-78)                 shoulder has been provided, bicycle riders shall use the
State law references: Similar provision, MCL 257.656 et           bicycle trail, path or paved shoulder and shall not use the
seq., MSA 9.2356 et seq.                                          street or roadway.
                                                                  (8)      When any person is riding a bicycle upon a
Sec. 10.131. Manner of Operation.                                 designated bicycle trail, he or she shall yield right-of-way
(1)    Bicyclists. Operators of bicycles on a public highway      to all vehicles turning onto streets intersecting the bicycle
shall be granted all of the rights and shall conform to all of    trail.
the rules herein established for the operation of motor           (9)      When any person riding a bicycle upon a designated
vehicles including the direction and instructions of police       bicycle trail is approaching an intersecting street, he or she
officers, traffic control signals and devices applicable to       shall slow down to a speed which will permit him or her to
vehicles.                                                         stop prior to entering the intersection, and shall make such
(2)    Number of riders. A bicycle shall not be ridden by         reasonable observations as will enable him or her under
more persons than the number for which it was originally          the existing conditions of the bicycle trail, the weather, the
designed and manufactured.                                        visibility and any other conditions then existing to yield the
(3)    Drive to right. Bicycles shall be operated as close to     right-of-way and the bicyclist shall yield the right-of-way to
the righthand side of the roadway as possible, and in             traffic on the intersecting street prior to entering the
single file only.                                                 intersecting street.
(4)    Erratic driving. No operator shall cause or permit a       (10)      When any person is riding a bicycle upon a
bicycle to curve to and fro.                                      designated bicycle trail, he or she shall obey all traffic
(5)    Hand on controls. The hands of the operator shall be       control devices and signs posted thereon, and all traffic
on the handle bar at all times except when he or she is in        control devices controlling vehicular traffic on any street
the act of signaling.                                             adjacent or parallel to the bicycle trail.
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)                                          (11)      Unless otherwise posted, no person shall operate a
                                                                  bicycle upon a designated bicycle trail at a speed greater
Sec. 10.132. Sidewalks and Bicycle Trails.                        than ten (10) miles per hour.
(1)    No person fifteen (15) years of age or older shall         (12)      When any person is riding a bicycle on a
ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk within the central               designated bicycle trail, he or she shall ride in the same
business district.                                                direction as the traffic in the lane of the street or roadway
(2)    No person fifteen (15) years of age or older shall         nearest to the bicycle trail.
ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk where traffic control            (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)
devices or signs are posted or displayed prohibiting riding       Sec. 10.133. Reserved.
thereon.                                                          Editor's note: Section 10.133, deriving from Ord. No. 75-7,
(3) (a) When any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk       adopted Jan. 21, 1975, was repealed by Ord. No. 78-57,
or bicycle trail, he or she shall yield the right-of-way to any   adopted July 11, 1978.
Sec. 10.134. Equipment.                                           Sec. 10.136. Speed.
(1)    Lights. Bicycles, while being operated during the          No person shall operate his or her bicycle in a manner or at
period of darkness shall display a white light on the front       a speed greater than is reasonable and proper under the
thereof, the lamp to be securely fastened to the bicycle          conditions then existing, or at speed greater than will
and plainly discernible from a distance of not less than          permit him or her to bring his or her vehicle to a stop
three hundred (300) feet ahead and shall also be equipped         within the assured clear distance ahead.
with a red reflector of not less than two and one-half (2         (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)
1/2) inches in diameter on the rear thereof which shall be
plainly visible at night in the lawful lights of motor vehicles   Sec. 10.137. Parking.
for a distance of not less than two hundred (200) feet to         No person shall park a bicycle upon a roadway except
the rear, under normal atmospheric conditions.                    against and parallel with the curb. Bicycles may be parked
(2)    Bells. No person shall ride a bicycle unless it is         upon a sidewalk in a rack provided for such purposes, or
equipped with a suitable bell or other warning device             against a building in such a manner as to afford the least
audible for a distance of one hundred (100) feet or more;         obstruction to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
provided, such warning device shall not be a whistle or           (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)
(3)    Brakes. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake       Sec. 10.138. Private Property.
which will enable the operator to make the braked wheel           No person shall ride a bicycle on private property unless
skid on dry, level, clean pavement.                               the rider has the permission of the owner to ride thereon.
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)                                          (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)

Sec. 10.135. Hitching to Vehicles.                                Sec. 10.139. Accident Reports.
No person upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or       When any person is riding upon a street, highway,
toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself or herself to        sidewalk, bicycle path and the bicycle is involved in an
any vehicle upon a roadway or sidewalk.                           accident resulting in injury or death to a person or damage
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)                                          to property, the rider shall within twenty-four (24) hours
                                                                  report the accident to a Police Officer or personally report
                                                                  the accident to the Police Department at the Information
                                                                  Desk at Police Headquarters.
                                                                  (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)

                                                                  Sec. 10.140. Theft Prevention.
                                                                  No person shall park a bicycle or leave a bicycle
                                                                  unattended in a public place unless such bicycle is locked
                                                                  or otherwise immobilized.
                                                                  (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)

                                                                  Sec. 10.141. Registration.
                                                                  No person shall ride or propel a bicycle upon any roadway,
                                                                  sidewalk or alley, or upon any public path set aside for the
                                                                  use of bicycles unless such bicycle has been registered and
                                                                  a tag is attached thereto as provided herein; provided,
                                                                  however, that no registration shall be required for a bicycle
                                                                  having wheels less than twenty (20) inches in diameter;
                                                                  and provided, further, that the provisions of this Section
                                                                  shall not apply to any bicycle owner or rider from another
                                                                  City or community who has complied with its bicycle
                                                                  licensing or registration ordinance.
                                                                  (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)

                                                                  Sec. 10.142. Registration Application.
                                                                  Applications for bicycle registration shall be made at the
                                                                  Grand Rapids Police Department or at other authorized
                                                                  locations upon forms furnished for the purpose by the
                                                                  Police Department.
                                                                  (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75; Ord. No. 81-87, 12-15-81)

                                                                  Sec. 10.143. Issuance.
The Chief of Police and other officers and employees shall       manufacturer's serial number removed, defaced, destroyed
upon proper application issue a bicycle registration to any      or altered.
applicant who is reasonably believed or known to be the          (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)
owner of the bicycle registered or otherwise lawfully
entitled to possession of the bicycle. No bicycle registration   Sec. 10.149. Permitting Violation.
shall be issued unless the bicycle is properly stamped with      No parent, guardian or other person having the legal care
the manufacturer's serial number or the owner's personal         and custody of any minor under the age of seventeen (17)
identification number which shall be the driver's license        shall allow, permit or encourage any such minor to violate
number, a State of Michigan identification number or a           the provisions of this Article.
Social Security number. No fee shall be charged for any          (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)
bicycle registration.
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75; Ord. No. 81-87, 12-15-81)               Sec. 10.150. Impounding Bicycle.
                                                                 Upon the violation of any of the provisions of this Article by
Sec. 10.144. Records.                                            any person, the bicycle used in such violation may be
All registration information shall be sent to the Police         impounded.
Department where it shall be retained for such a time            (Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)
period as the Chief of Police shall determine.                   Secs. 10.151--10.160. Reserved.
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75; Ord. No. 81-87, 12-15-81)

Sec. 10.145. Registration Tag.
(1)    The Chief of Police upon registering a bicycle shall
issue a suitable registration tag assigned to the bicycle.
(2)    Such registration tag shall be firmly attached to the
upright (vertical) frame member of the bicycle for which it
is issued in such a position as to be plainly visible.
(3)    No person shall remove such tag from a bicycle, or
mutilate or deface it.
(4)    In case of loss or mutilation the owner, by showing
proof of such loss or mutilation, shall apply for issuance of
a replacement tag at no cost.
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)

Sec. 10.146. Transfer.
Upon the sale or transfer of a bicycle, the tag issued for
such bicycle shall remain attached thereto, and the
transferor shall endorse upon the reverse side of the
Bicycle Registration Certificate issued for such bicycle the
name and address of the transferee and the date of the
transfer and shall deliver the same to the transferee at the
time of delivery to him or her of such bicycle. The
transferee, unless such person is engaged in the business
of buying and selling new or used bicycles, shall within
seven (7) days of the transfer present such certificate to
the Chief of Police so that the official records of ownership
may be changed accordingly.
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75)

Sec. 10.147. Duration of Registration.
Each registration shall be for a five-year period. Upon
expiration of a registration, a new registration shall be
made and a new registration tag issued.
(Ord. No. 75-7, 1-21-75; Ord. No. 81-87, 12-15-81)

Sec. 10.148. Concealing or Misrepresenting of Bicycles by
Removing Serial Numbers.
No person shall conceal or misrepresent the identify of a
bicycle by removing or defacing the manufacturer's serial
number nor shall any person possess any bicycle with any

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