NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — The city of Newport Beach Wednesday voted to quadruple the fines for riding a bike or scooter at speeds greater than 8 miles per hour on its iconic oceanfront boardwalk.
“People are going like 20 miles per hour, you see those people,” Mike Murphy, a bicyclist, said. “They definitely should get nailed with something.”
What had been a $50 fine will now cost people $200.
“I don’t know how fast eight is on here, but I think I was definitely going faster than that,” Hannah Chipman, a bicyclist from Los Angeles, said. “I think as long as you’re cautious, it should be fine. A $200 fine would really kind of put a damper on a little day trip though.”
But some locals who have watched the COVID crowds hit their beaches all summer and into the fall say something has to be done.
“I think it’s great,” Scott Spencer, a local bicyclist, said. “There’s a lot of reckless bike riding, mainly because they’re in town, they don’t know the rules of the boardwalk, obviously, and the signs aren’t working so they have to step it up a little bit.”
“I don’t know if they were enforcing it enough,” Mike Murphy, a local bicyclist, said. “I’ve only seen two policemen on bikes in the last two months.”
Lauren and Ryan Brierly walk the boardwalk almost every evening and say it can be a little scary with bicyclists zooming past, but said a $200 fine was a bit much.
“Victimless crimes are nothing but a revenue generator anyway,” Ryan said. “If somebody got hit, then they should be responsible.”
But the city said the new fine schedule was to address a safety issue — not a budget issue.
“It’s not about trying to punish anyone, it’s not about trying to make more money for the city,” John Pope, Newport Beach spokesperson, said. “It is to address safety concerns on the oceanfront boardwalk.”
The city said it was looking into a number of solutions to safety concerns, including the possibility of expanding the boardwalk to have dedicated lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists. The new fine goes into effect Nov. 13.