Cooperation seems like such an easy thing to accomplish. Being considerate of each other’s views, needs, beliefs and working towards a mutual solution. Living in harmony.
It is unfortunate that is not always the case. Too often now we see that what “I” want supersedes all else. At times like this, those who feel wronged come to the City to help resolve the issue if it is in a public space and within the City’s purview. This is how Ordinance Number 2014-432 was born.
As our population has grown and evolved into a younger, more diverse demographic, we have seen a tremendous increase in sidewalk traffic. I use the term ‘sidewalk traffic’ as we now see more than pedestrians utilizing our sidewalks as modes of transportation continue to evolve. During a stroll down Collins Avenue you will see several skateboards, including long boards used by commuters more than tricksters, segways, scooters, bicycles and roller blades / skates.
With a limited amount of physical space and lack of cooperation, the conflict of pedestrians vs wheeled devices was inevitable. There is no simple solution. In an effort to create the safest environment to walk around our community, the City Commission found it in the best interest of those they represent to regulate the use of wheeled devices on certain sidewalks within the City.
Ordinance 2014-432, passed on June 19, 2014 amended Chapter 256 of the City Code to prohibit the use of skateboards, inline skates, coasters/scooters, and other non-motorized / motorized devices on the sidewalk areas along Collins Avenue (State Road A1A) and Sunny Isles Boulevard (State Road 826) within the corporate boundaries of the City of Sunny Isles Beach, FL. The penalty for first time violators is a verbal warning. Subsequent violations incur a non-monetary penalty of eight hours of volunteer community service. Noncompliance will result in a fine not to exceed $50 that may be imposed by the Special Master.
This City of Sunny Isles Beach Ordinances does not apply to interior streets. Users of these mentioned wheeled devices should carry them while on Collins Avenue and then can continue riding them when they move to interior streets. As a matter of fact, the City constructed an extra wide sidewalk along North Bay Road between 174 Street and 183 Street specifically to accommodate bikes, skateboards, scooters, skates, etc. with pedestrians. “Bike Path” signage clearly indicates the location of this path. The ordinance provides for an educational and warning period. For the next month, the Police Department will be getting the word out about this ordinance. The educational campaign started with a raffle and pledge cards at the Back to School picnic and informational pamphlets that will continue to be distributed for the next several months at city events and locations. Tomas, a skateboard enthusiast, signed a pledge card to commit to using the skateboard he won in a safe manner, with pads and a helmet, in the skatepark and interior streets but not on Collins Avenue or Sunny Isles Boulevard. Pamphlets were handed out to hundreds of families and Police personnel were on hand to answer all questions. To view this ordinance and others, visit the City’s website at sibfl.net.
It will take time to educate everyone on the new ordinance. But if we can all remember to cooperate and be considerate, we can share the sidewalk harmoniously by giving the right of way to the pedestrians. If you are using a wheeled device on any sidewalk, follow these simple courtesy practices: slow down as you approach a pedestrian, keep at least one ear open (free from a head phone) to hear someone approaching or yelling a warning, give the right of way to pedestrians, pass on the left and kindly advise pedestrians that you are passing on the left, give them a chance to move out of the way rather than passing close by, and stop and look both ways when crossing at an intersection. Let’s work together to achieve the ultimate sidewalk safety and become the model for ‘sidewalk traffic’ safety.