Bicycles will now be allowed on the Boardwalk from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week through Labor Day.
The Ocean City Council voted unanimously to extend the riding period by three hours.
In a typical year, the tram begins operating at 11 a.m., and bicycles are not permitted. However, the council voted last month to keep the tram off of the Boardwalk for the rest of the season due to concerns over social distancing and the enforcement of mask mandates.
Following the council’s vote on the tram, John Barrett, owner of Bike World, submitted a request to extend bike hours to 5 p.m. daily. “During normal summer operations, the boardwalk tram begins service at 11 a.m. each morning. Bike hours are to cease by this time as both 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 visiting the area which bicycles can provide,” wrote Barrett.
He added that bicycle riding is a safe activity during this time of social distancing and a perfect way to exercise.
Ocean City Police Department Chief Ross Buzzuro recommended that the council allows an additional three hours, not six.
Councilmember Mark Paddack made a motion to extend riding hours to 2 p.m. on weekdays, but to keep the 11 a.m. restriction on weekends when there are more people on the Boardwalk.
Other members of the council disagreed and felt that 2 p.m., seven days a week is sufficient. A new motion was made, and Paddack voted in favor of the modified ordinance.
City Attorney Heather Stansbury was asked about how changing the time restrictions on the ordinance could impact the town legally when bike accidents occur. Stansbury pointed out that the town is often brought into litigation surrounding issues with bicycles, but that “the ordinance does not extend or heighten the town’s liability.”