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Street Walkers Legal in Cincinnati
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- Last week's freezing rain has literally forced Cincinnatians "to the streets."
If you drive anywhere in the city, you're likely to dodge pedestrians who are forced onto the road because sidewalks are covered with ice and snow. In Price Hill Monday morning, Mary Perkins and Sarah Turner pushed 3-year-old Julianna Turner in a stroller up Mayfield Avenue. They had a close encounter with a driver in a honking Ford.
"We're going to the grocery store. It's ridiculous," Turner said. "The stroller won't go through the sidewalk."
With 5 other children at home, the grocery store trip was necessary. But even if the two were merely out to get some exercise, walking in the street is legal. Cincinnati's Municipal Code for pedestrians is pretty simple.
"If sidewalks exist that parallel a roadway, the pedestrian has to use those sidewalks," Cincinnati Police Traffic Unit Commander Lt. Bruce Hoffbauer told Local 12 Monday morning. "But if the sidewalk does not exist or it is somehow covered, destroyed or under construction the pedestrian now can use the roadway."
"Street walkers" have to walk as close to the side of the road as possible and be on the side facing oncoming traffic. It's not ideal, but it's the law.
It happens all over the city because clearing your sidewalk is not required by law. Cincinnati's Municipal Code requires property owners to keep sidewalks in repair and "free from nuisance." Ice and snow may seem to be a nuisance, but Ohio's Supreme Court has ruled that homeowners/property owners aren't required to shovel snow.
Police encourage drivers and walkers to use common sense. As of Monday morning, Cincinnati Police said they'd had no traffic reports of injuries suffered while walking in the street.