Police to target cyclists, skateboarders breaking downtown Portland law

Police to target cyclists, skateboarders breaking downtown Portland law »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland police will be watching for bicyclists and skateboarders riding on downtown sidewalks Thursday. People caught breaking the rules could receive a ticket.

“If I was to ride in the street, definitely probably get hit by a car,” says skateboarder Dale Martin. “There's not even bike lanes downtown. I don't think giving people tickets is fair, as long as they're not being reckless.”

Some bike riders wonder whether any punishment actually fits the infraction.

A large part of downtown Portland has been off-limits to sidewalk boarding or biking since 2000.

Police say Thursday afternoon's enforcement will focus on on downtown's transit mall, between Southwest 5th and 6th avenues and from Burnside south to Yamhill Street.

The skateboard and biking ban ordinance was expanded two years ago to include streets in Portland's West Hills that had become popular with downhill boarders and bicyclists.

The ordinance does allow bicyclists and skateboarders to ride on sidewalks to avoid hazards in the street.

That's what Gordon Tandy says he did when he commuted by bike 10 miles a day in Portland.

“I think that you have to watch what is the safest move to make,” says Tandy. “When you're riding your bicycle, that you see where you can get on the sidewalk if you have to and to watch for the pedestrians."

Still, Gordon Tandy understands police handing out tickets.

“If the police are there and all of this, they ought to know better than I would on the potential for an accident,” Tandy says.

Police say enforcement may just be warnings, or it could include tickets, depending on the situation.