Chapter 12.55


12.55.010    Findings and Purpose.

12.55.020    Definitions.

12.55.030    Speed Limit.

12.55.040    Unsafe Activity.

12.55.050    Direction of Flow.

12.55.060    Special Restrictions.

12.55.070    Penalties.

12.55.010 Findings and Purpose.

The City Council finds and declares that:

A.    The Upper Newport Bay is an ecological reserve which includes approximately eight hundred twenty-five (825) acres of wildlife habitat, including over one hundred sixty-five (165) species of birds, twenty (20) species of mammals, seventy (70) species of fish and over two hundred (200) species of native plants. It is one of the few remaining unspoiled and undeveloped habitats available to wildlife of all types. The Upper Newport Bay is an estuary, a coastal wetland where salt water from the ocean mixes with fresh water from inland sources. The estuary is a spawning ground for many fish and a winter home for migrating birds. It acts as a filter for pollution from the inland waters and provides a buffer for floodwaters during heavy rains.

B.    Within the Upper Newport Bay reserve there is currently an eighteen (18) foot wide, asphalt paved mixed-use trail shared on a daily basis by, among others, walkers, joggers, hikers, bicyclists, sight seers, birdwatchers, rollerbladers and vehicle traffic for scenic and recreational purposes at differing speeds and frequencies. There are no dwellings on either side at the trail, no vehicular cross traffic is allowed and the trail allows for only one direction of vehicular traffic. There is a double yellow line which separates the one way vehicle traffic from other uses of the trail.

C.    Due to changing weather, frequency and intensity of use, changing irregularity of surface conditions due to natural settlement, drainage and erosion, stress from traffic and interaction with other controlling State and local agencies, it is difficult to inspect and maintain the trail to reduce or eliminate substantial risks of injuries to users, thus potentially exposing the City to liability.

D.    These provisions are necessary to protect for the health, safety and welfare of those using the trail.

E.    It is the purpose and intent of the City to provide access to the Upper Newport Bay to promote safe recreation and scenic opportunities to users and to preserve and protect the ecological reserve and its habitat. The City Council, after due consideration of the probability and gravity of potential injuries to persons using the trail as well as the practicability and cost of protecting against the risk of such injury, has determined that the provisions of this chapter represent reasonable measure to protect users from injury. (Ord. 99-22 § 1 (part), 1999)

12.55.020 Definitions.

“Bicyclist” means any person operating any device propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears and having one or more wheels.

“Pass” means to travel to the left of the double yellow line of the trail.

“Pedestrian” means any person on foot.

“Rollerskaters” means any person wearing rollerskates as defined in Section 12.57.010 (B) of this Code, rollerblades or any similar device.

“Skateboarders” means any person riding a skateboard as that term is defined in Section 12.57.010 (A) of this Code.

“The Upper Newport Bay Recreation and Scenic Trail” means that asphalt paved mixed use portion of Backbay Drive adjacent to the Upper Newport Bay between Shellmaker Road on the South and Eastbluff on the North.

“Vehicle operator” means anyone who drives or operates a motorized vehicle of any type or size, whether a truck, car, motorcycle, motorscooter, motorized bike or any similar vehicle. (Ord. 99-22 § 1 (part), 1999)

12.55.030 Speed Limit.

No bicyclist, rollerskater, skateboarder, pedestrian or vehicle operator shall exceed fifteen (15) miles per hour while on the trail. (Ord. 99-22 § 1 (part), 1999)

12.55.040 Unsafe Activity.

No bicyclist, rollerskater, skateboarder, pedestrian or vehicle operator shall engage in any activity on the trail which creates an unreasonable risk of injury to any person. (Ord. 99-22 § 1 (part), 1999)

12.55.050 Direction of Flow.

A.    No bicyclist, rollerskater, skateboarder, pedestrian or vehicle operator shall pass any other person except when it is safe to do so.

B.    All motor vehicles shall keep to the right of the double yellow line. (Ord. 99-22 § 1 (part), 1999)

12.55.060 Special Restrictions.

A.    The Traffic Engineer shall have the authority to establish other special restrictions on bicyclists, vehicles, pedestrians, skate boarders, and/or roller skaters such as localized speed limits less than fifteen (15) miles per hour.

B.    No person shall fail to comply with signs posted pursuant to subsection (A) of this section that establish special restrictions on vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, skate boarders and/or rollerskaters using the trail. (Ord. 99-22 § 1 (part), 1999)

12.55.070 Penalties.

A.    Not withstanding any other provisions of this Code, any person violating the provisions of Section 12.55.030, 12.55.050 or 12.55.060 shall be guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

B.    Any person violating the provisions of Section 12.55.040 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00); provided, however, the violation may be prosecuted as an infraction pursuant to the provisions of Section 1.04.010(A). (Ord. 2023-22 § 563, 2023; Ord. 99-22 § 1 (part), 1999)