US town proposes to ban cyclists from passing through

Riders heading for Mount Diablo State Park cause problems, say locals

by Sarah Barth   May 19, 2013 news

A town in the USA is proposing to ban all cyclists who are just passing through, with residents saying they are a nuisance and a danger.

Riders trying to get to Mount Diablo State Park regularly ride through Diablo, a sleepy town of 1000 residents because it avoids a steeper, busier road to the park.

Bust residents say cyclists ride on private roads, ignore stop signs and regularly ride two or three abreast.

"The most promising solution presented is to establish roads in Diablo as available only to local traffic," Richard Breitwieser of the Diablo Community Services District, wrote in a letter to Danville town officials earlier this month.

"Bicyclists who can't establish a Diablo residence or business purpose will be turned around."

A resident, Maryanne Cella, told the Contra Costa Times: "I don't think it's elitist; I think it's a case of a government agency responding to the people and protecting public safety."

But a local bike shop owner, John Knowles, said the alternative route was unsafe for cyclists. "We are talking about a road with high-speed traffic, no shoulders and limited sight views. It's horrible," he said.

"Danville and the county need to address the problem that Diablo Road is a wagon wheel road that hasn't changed since the days of the buggy," said Clelen Tanner, a cyclist. "I fear cyclists will be killed on it."

A couple of years ago a town in Colorado enacted a cyclist ban. Black Hawk, population 18, according to the 2000 U.S.census – which connects the Peak to Peak Highway, popular with local cyclists, with Central City Parkway, barred riders from most of its streets.

Local cycling campaign group Bicycle Colorado reported that police are now issuing fines to anyone found riding through the town, which in recent years was revived through the introduction of relaxed gambling laws in the state.

The cyclists’ organisation made a formal request that the ban be lifted, but said that the “council made it clear that they had no intention of changing their ordinance.

12 user comments

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"Bust residents" ha.

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
19th May 2013 - 16:19


Seems like the Diablo bike shop ought to put out a candy bowl with 5 cent candy in it for all cyclists passing through.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [306 posts]
19th May 2013 - 16:55


pedalpowerDC wrote:
Seems like the Diablo bike shop ought to put out a candy bowl with 5 cent candy in it for all cyclists passing through.

Sounds like a brilliant idea - alternatively (and it won't happen) said non-elitist residents of the town can be taxed to raise funds to add a cycle only lane to the alternative route.

posted by maldin [59 posts]
19th May 2013 - 17:55


Ha, merkins!

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1819 posts]
19th May 2013 - 20:19


If it's a public highway, there is diddly squat they can do about it.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
20th May 2013 - 0:11


American politics: I vehemently oppose you until I share your plight.

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

badkneestom's picture

posted by badkneestom [134 posts]
20th May 2013 - 3:06


I have ridden this "South Gate" route a few times on the way to the summit of Mount Diablo.

This article GREATLY exaggerates the danger of the road and hence the value of the short cut.
The road which will be missed by the short cut is less than one kilometer in length, and the traffic on it is basically the same as the traffic on the rest of the 18 km (11 mile) road to the summit. The only traffic on that road not going further upward are those living in about a two dozen houses on the road, and parents with their children who going to and from a small an elite private school (Athenian School). In other words, if the traffic on that 1km road is too much for you, there is no reason for you to ride up the rest of the mountain anyway because it is the same kind of traffic and blind corners, and steepness, the rest of the way up. I am just laughing at the idea of someone riding up Mt Diablo who doesn't like steep roads.
And actually the attitude of the traffic going up and down is >generally< bike friendly, with thoughtful drivers even frequently pulling over to the side to let the bicycles go past them on the way down (that's how curvy the roads are).
Go to Google maps and search "Diablo, CA, United States" and you will see the section of road going from Diablo/Blackhawk to where it joins the short cut (Cll Los Collados ?).

This kind of whining is cycling's worst enemy.

As for the idea of a community banning cyclists, in principle it's very selfish: Taken to the extreme all communities could start banning traffic from their roads, since they pay for the roads upkeep. Everybody would like to have a less busy road in front of their house because it raises the selling value of the house.

When it comes down to it, I don't really care so much about this issue so won't waste my time worrying about it and will continue to use the "normal" section of road as the vast majority of cyclists already do. But I do hate whining and that's why I posted here.

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [146 posts]
20th May 2013 - 5:55


I didn't realise there was a legal basis for banning a certain type of traffic from a highway in the United States? Sounds like the city would probably be in violation of certain state laws if they chose to do this.

posted by jackh [117 posts]
20th May 2013 - 12:25


Population 18...hmmm America Thinking 2nd ammendment Thinking
just trolling Devil

lifes goal is not to arrive at the grave in a perfectly preserved body, but to skid in sideways yelling "yeah what a ride!"

posted by wheelsucker [57 posts]
20th May 2013 - 12:32


The Colorado Supreme Court has overturned Black Hawk's ban on riding bicycles on February 4, 2013. The court ruled the town can pass traffic regulations, but said they must comply with state laws that require any municipal bike prohibition provide an available alternate path within 450 feet. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

posted by glock59 [10 posts]
20th May 2013 - 15:51


Shame we can't use the same legislation to ban certain types of vehicular traffic from UK cities

I am only as insane as the insanity around me (Jens Voigt)

posted by alronald [58 posts]
20th May 2013 - 18:56


alronald wrote:
Shame we can't use the same legislation to ban certain types of vehicular traffic from UK cities

We can and have, quiet roads are often closed off to motor vehicles permanently.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
20th May 2013 - 20:18