As Central Oregon changes from fall to winter weather conditions, the Deschutes County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) wants to remind property owners they need to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice for safety and legal reasons.

Many residents and businessowners are not aware of safe sidewalk codes in each city within the County thatensures public safety. Bend, La Pine, Redmond, and Sisters all have ordinances relating to the year-round clearing and maintaining of sidewalks. While the language varies a bit fromcity to city, the message is the same – business or property owners must removeice or snow from the sidewalk adjoining their property within a defined time tokeep pedestrian ways clear. Generally, in business districts the time limit is six hours and in residential areas it is 24 hours.

These codes not only help make sidewalks safer, but in commercial areas they encourage good business practices. When pathways areclear, the message to customers is that the business cares about safety and welcomes access for all to the front door.

The BPAC is an advisory committee of the Deschutes County Commission and seeks to improve bicyclist and pedestrian conditionsthroughout Deschutes County. Once winter fades away into spring, BPAC accepts nominations for the Safe Sidewalks Award which honors those people andbusinesses that have gone above and beyond their legal obligations to keep sidewalks free of snow and ice.

For more information about this award or BPAC, please visit: .