OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Mayor and Council has voted to extend the hours bicycles are allowed on the Boardwalk from the current 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. after a request from a local business owner.
For years, bikes have been allowed on the Boardwalk until 11 a.m. each day from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 11 a.m. cutoff time coincided with the daily start time for the Boardwalk tram, which has been suspended this summer due to COVID concerns and social distancing.
With the Boardwalk tram not running, Bike World owner John Barrett asked the Mayor and Council to consider extending the amount of time each day the bicycles are allowed on the Boardwalk to 5 p.m. However, City Manager Doug Miller said the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) reviewed the proposal and recommended a 2 p.m. stop time for bikes on the Boardwalk.
“During normal summer operations, the Boardwalk tram begins service at 11 a.m. each morning,” Barrett wrote in his letter to the Mayor and Council. “Bike hours are to cease by this time as both the tram and bicycle operations together leave little room for general foot traffic. Due to COVID-19, the Boardwalk tram has been suspended for the 2020 season. There is a need for safe transportation for those who are locally employed or those visiting the area which bicycles can provide.”
The council was generally amenable to the concept of extending the allowable bicycle hours on the Boardwalk, but could not immediately agree on the time. Councilman Mark Paddack made a motion to extend the hours to 2 p.m. on Monday through Friday and leave it a 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, but that motion died for the lack of a second.
Mayor Rick Meehan agreed with Paddack there could be different hours on different days of the week.
“As somebody who rides a bike on the Boardwalk a lot, the motion was valid, especially for the weekend,” Meehan said. “The crowds gather much earlier on the weekend with all of the day-trippers.”
Council Secretary Mary Knight then made a motion to follow the OCPD’s recommendation to extend the allowable bicycling hours on the Boardwalk to 2 p.m., seven days a week.
Paddack asked Knight to consider amending her motion to include a 2 p.m. stop time on Saturday and Sunday and a 4 p.m. stop time during the rest of the week. Knight, however, stuck with her original motion for 2 p.m., seven days a week. That motion ultimately passed on a 6-0 vote with Councilman Tony DeLuca absent.
The measure was passed as an emergency ordinance and became effective immediately. It will remain in effect through Labor Day, at which time the rules for bikes on the Boardwalk are relaxed.