Are pedicabs allowed to be on Seattle sidewalks?

Q: I see pedicabs on the sidewalks in downtown Seattle often. Sometimes they cause problems with pedestrians. Is it legal for pedicabs to be on the sidewalk? 

A:

Yes, but not if they interfere with pedestrians, Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said.

He points to section 11.44.120 of the Seattle Municipal Code, which addresses the issue.

“Every person operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk or public path shall operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of pedestrian traffic, grade and width of sidewalk or public path, and condition of surface, and shall obey all traffic-control devices,” the section reads.

“Every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.”

If a pedicab or any cyclist violates that law, the fine is $115. But if you report a problem, that doesn’t necessarily mean the operator will be ticketed.

“We need to see the violation in order to take enforcement,” Whitcomb explained, noting that’s been the case for years.

Enforcement of the sidewalk rules is largely complaint based. If police are told of problems Whitcomb said they can do enforcement of areas to address the issues. Police did not immediately have statistics on the number of people ticketed for the $115 fine.

A related SMC ordinance, 11.44.060, states that bike riders on a sidewalk “shall not ride more than two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.”