Pedaling along the sidewalks in downtown Waukesha sounds like a perfect summer afternoon activity, but there's one problem: It's actually illegal.

The city's department of public works has issued a news release reminding residents that, according to city code, bikers shouldn't be using the sidewalks in Waukesha's Central Business District, which encompasses the downtown area.

According to the release, bicyclists who cruise the downtown sidewalks pose a danger of collision with ambulatory customers patronizing downtown businesses and residents who use the sidewalks to access their apartments or homes.

Biking on sidewalks outside downtown is allowed. Residents can find a complete copy of the city code book at www.waukesha-wi.gov/267/City-Code-Book.

The city's public works department will soon be installing signs along the sidewalks downtown to remind wayward bicyclists to use the street instead, the release said.

The signs will be strategically placed to address specific blocks for a period of time, and will later be moved to other locations, eventually covering all downtown streets.

According to the release, the city's police department will also be watching for wayward bikers. Officers "will look for violators of this ordinance and address the situation appropriately," the release said.

While the city did not address a related issue that sometimes is a source of confusion, bicycles, under state law, are considered "vehicles," and must abide by the same traffic laws when using streets. By the same token, drivers of motor vehicles must share the road with bicyclists. Only in places designated to be illegal for bicycle traffic, such as interstate highways, are bicyclists restricted from road use.

For information on that element, go to the state website at http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/bike/rules.aspx.

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