Midnight Start Time Eyed For Boardwalk Bikers

OCEAN CITY — It has already been established bicycles will be allowed on the Boardwalk an hour later than normal this summer, but changes could be coming to the start time as well.

Last month, the Mayor and Council approved a proposal to move the stop time for bicycles on the Boardwalk from 11 a.m. to noon from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Last year, with COVID restrictions in place and the trams not operating, bicycles were allowed on the Boardwalk from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Throughout much of this winter and early spring in different committees and the Mayor and Council, the discussion changed from moving the start time for the Boardwalk trams to noon and allowing bicyclists on the Boardwalk for an extra hour from the existing 11 a.m. to noon. The Mayor and Council essentially approved the concept last month, although there is still some housekeeping to do to affect the change.

On Monday, there were two measures presented to complete the proposed changes in the bicycle stop time on the Boardwalk. The first was an ordinance amending the town code to acknowledge the hours of operation for bicycles and similar vehicles on the Boardwalk will now be established by resolution. That was approved on first reading.

The second was an actual resolution presented formally establishing the new bicycle hours on the Boardwalk to stop at 12 p.m. rather than the existing 11 a.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. That was presented on first reading and required no formal action from the council, ostensibly because the aforementioned ordinance had not yet been approved on second reading.

While much of the debate has focused on the bicycle stop time in coordination with the daily start time of the Boardwalk trams, the discussion switched over on Monday to a potential change in the start time for bicycles on the Boardwalk. Currently, bikes are allowed on the Boardwalk from 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day during the summer. However, Council Secretary and Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Chair Tony DeLuca said the Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC), through its Boardwalk committee, will be coming forth with a proposal to change the bicycle start time each day from 2 a.m. to midnight.

“I just to state for the record that the OCDC is coming before the bike committee,” he said. “They’re going to recommend that we move the hours from 2 a.m. to midnight, so that we have it from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m.”

DeLuca said the discussion will likely occur at the next BPAC meeting as it was recently added to the agenda.

“Now, we’re going to discuss this at the bike committee,” he said. “We just make recommendations to the council. I just wanted to let you know that’s in the process of happening.”

Confirmed OCDC Executive Director Glenn Irwin the proposal to amend the bicycle start time on the Boardwalk from the existing 2 a.m. to midnight is going to be presented to the BPAC.

“The recommendation came from our bicycle committee,” he said. “We’re going to be making a recommendation to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.”

Irwin later explained the OCDC Boardwalk Committee’s reasoning behind recommending move the bicycle start time earlier than 2 a.m.

“The intent is to allow the Boardwalk seasonal workers to be able to bike along a well-lighted Boardwalk before 2 a.m. to get home,” he said. “The committee stated that Boardwalk businesses are closing earlier in evening for the past few summers, and that an earlier bike time before 2 a.m. would be useful and safer for them.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.