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> Bicycling On Sidewalks, What's your opinion?
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Avonlea22 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 10:12 AM
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ZodiacAsh

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I've been having a discussion with my wife, in which we disagree, in regards to people riding bikes on sidewalks.

My feeling is that bikes do not belong on sidewalks. Sidewalks are for pedestrians.

She feels it's ok for them to be on the sidewalk.

In our city, there are many roads that literally have no shoulder. some of these roads are four lanes wide and very busy. My wife feels that the only place that people can ride in this circumstance is on the sidewalk. I disagree. Now with that in mind, I myself would never feel safe riding on such a street. Would I give in and ride on the sidewalk? Maybe, but I'd feel wrong for doing it. It's not safe for pedestrians.

So today, I'm driving her to work, and I come to an intersection where I needed to turn right. There were two people approaching the intersection on bikes, riding on the sidewalk. My wife said I should have yielded to them, and I said no. In this instance, there WAS plenty of shoulder for them to ride on, and had they been on the road in the shoulder, I would have yielded, but since they were, in my mind, breaking the law by being on a sidewalk, then I wasn't going to yield. They were far enough back that I did not cut them off, either.

What is you opinion on riding a bike on a sidewalk? It's my feeling (and I believe the law) that bikes need to follow the same rules as cars, and that sidewalks are for pedestrians, not bikes.


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Aaediwen 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 10:41 AM
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Certainly a tough call, and I really think that the city should provide bike lanes, at least in the busier parts of town. That's not something I see very often around here though. I think I've seen such a thing perhaps twice. In those instances, it'd be the lesser of two evils if they ride on the sidewalk rather than back up traffic, but if traffic is low enough that they won't get run over, then they really should be on the road instead. What's really bad is that there is no good answer. And what's worse is the city could fix that (and should). Add more bike lanes!!!!


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Avonlea22 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 10:43 AM
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QUOTE (Aaediwen @ 22-Aug-2004, 11:41 AM)
and I really think that the city should provide bike lanes, at least in the busier parts of town.

They do provide them on some streets, and are continually trying to add more, but other streets will never be able to be modified for such lanes. Just too narrow and too much traffic.
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gettin-away 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 10:54 AM
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Avonlea22, I have to agree with you. In the community where I live the sidewalks are even mark for pedestrians only. In this area bicycles are supposed to obey the same rules of the road as cars. Going with the flow of traffic, signaling turns, etc.

My daughter lives with Cerebral Palsy. She can walk, but she has a strong limp, her balance is very bad and when she is walking on the sidewalks (something she does often for exercise) she is focusing on the sidewalk. There are many cracks and uneven joints that if she isn't watching for them she can trip easily over. She's 23 years old now and I don't think her knees have healed from all the falls she has taken. In the past I have been walking with her when a person on a bicycle rides by on the sidewalk. They often come by quickly and too close. When this happens my daughter is so focused on watching her steps that she doesn't see them until they shoot by in her peripheral vision. She then jumps, loses her balance and if I can't catch her quick enough falls to the ground.

I know more and more communities are building bike paths and even adding bike lanes on the roadways. My brother is an avid bicyclist and he would never dream of taken his bicycle on a sidewalk. I heard him talk of riding through consruction zones when the road was only one lane. He talked about how nervous he was but he never considered riding on the sidewalk.

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Annabelle 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 11:30 AM
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I thought there was something about bicycles being on the sidewalk too. Can't remember. I'm losing my marbles. Got to go to Walmart and get some more.
A


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birddog20002001 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 11:36 AM
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I don't feel that bicyclist should ride on side walks unless there are no pedestrians there but also the vehicle underthe most power must yield to the one under less, example bicycles yield to peds, cars yield to bikes and peds. In North Carolina it is law that vehicles must give a minimun 3 feet from centerline of bicycle right of way but that has not prevented me from almost getting hit several times.

One time just on the outskirts of town driving my bike from work a semi passed me going about 70 he was within 3 feet I was moving along a pretty good clip but semis produce a lot of wind displacement (often onhighways you can see idiots drafting them because they want to be T. Cruise in Days of Thunder) they also produce a wind wake and vaccum on the side of the truck. Anyways this wind pushed me away and put me alittle off balance then the vaccum hit and sucked me into the truck, in that .1 second I remember fighting the steering and just getting out of the suction as his last set of wheels passed me. I would have been ground beef but I got lucky. If the trucker would have given right of way or even just obeyed the speed limit there woulod have been no issue.

Also a lot of cars out here in the country tend to honk their horns at night to let me know they are comming up behind me, I know you are there just don't hit me, and the ones comming in front of me politely turn on their bright lights so I can see them, many people just don't consider the needs of a bicyclist when driving.


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KreeRohan 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 01:55 PM
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As I read these posts, I kept thinking, "lack of courtesy". Seems each year,
we as a society lose just a tad more respect for others. Of course, I live in S. California. cool.gif That could explain a lot wink.gif

My eldest son just had his first experience with a bicyclist on the sidewalk. He started middle school a week ago and has started walking part of the way home. He was walking on the sidewalk and had an older kid come up from behind him on a bicycle. He didn't hear the other boy approaching him, so didn't move out of the way. So, the older kid slammed his arm and shoulder into my son's shoulder to move him out of the way. Wouldn't it have been easier, and less pain full sad.gif , if the other boy had just opened his mouth and said, "Excuse me."?

I think, lack of respect and lack of common sense are the culprits. There are road rules for a reason. If the rules are followed, people stay alive and we have less little irratating moments that add up to, ultimately, road rage.

I agree with birddog. yeilding to the least powerful is just courteous and safer.

That's my two cents...
So, who's next?

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MDF3530 
  Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 02:20 PM
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The instances of which I think it is okay for bikes to be ridden on the sidewalk:

1. Small children learning to ride a bicycle.
2. When the sidewalk is wide enough to accomodate both bikes and pedestrians.
3. When there is no clearance, or not enough clearance, between the traffic lanes and parking lane or curb.

The City of Chicago has gone out of its way to accomodate bicycle riders. I believe there is something like 150 miles of bike lanes on city streets. Also, all Chicago Transit Authority buses have been equipped with bike racks, and riders can take their bikes on CTA trains (limit 2 per car).


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single speed 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 07:32 PM
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QUOTE (MDF3530 @ 22-Aug-2004, 02:20 PM)
The instances of which I think it is okay for bikes to be ridden on the sidewalk:

1. Small children learning to ride a bicycle.
2. When the sidewalk is wide enough to accomodate both bikes and pedestrians.
3. When there is no clearance, or not enough clearance, between the traffic lanes and parking lane or curb.



Good point MDF. However, bicycles do not belong on a sidewalk. In Texas, bicycles are considered vehicles, and as such, must comply with the laws relating to motor vehicles. That said, bicycles belong on the road. Drivers must treat cyclists as another motor vehiclle when they encounter one on the road. Unfortunately, this is Texas, and the courtesy issue comes into play. Some drivers consider bicybles a nusance, rather than another vehicle, and treat them that way.

We as cyclists must remember that in order to gain the respect of vehicles, we must obey the law. That means stoipping at stop signs, waiting for stop lignts, keeping to the right of the road, and signaling for turns. Eventually, driver attitudes will change. I have been riding for fourteen years. Thanks to the popularity of the sport of cycling, more and more Texans are riding, and I have seen driver attitudes vastly improved.

Coincedentally, on one of the two times that I have heen hit by a car, I was riding on the sidewalk. In hindsight, I should have avoided the busy street that I was on (Camelback Ave, in Phoenix), and taken the street with a bike lane a few blocks away.

FYI- The driver's insurance fixed my bike, paid for my minor injuries, and I recieved a couple of cool scars.



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maggiemahone1 
Posted: 22-Aug-2004, 08:47 PM
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I don't think bicycles belong on sidewalks. Too dangerous for the pedestrians, especially for the elderly and children.

Just my 2cents worth!
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Mailagnas maqqas Dunaidonas 
Posted: 23-Aug-2004, 01:21 PM
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I've been commuting by bike for 30+ years, and agree with what appears to be the consensus that bikes have no business on the sidewalk. My experience has been that if I operate the bike like any other vehicle (taking into account that it is human powered), the vast majority of vehicle operators will treat me like any other vehicle operator. Of course, those who are a danger to themselves and others under any circumstance are especially dangerous to bikers simply because of the disparity in size/speed.
Part of my current commute is a busy street with 4 narrow lanes. I stay about 18 inches from the right side of the righthand lane, and have been honked at in anger maybe once every 3 to 5 years.
FWIW, you may want to do a google search on defensive cycling--here's one defensive cycling page.


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freekenny 
Posted: 25-Aug-2004, 01:30 PM
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O'siyo,
Here! Here! to all that believe bikes have no business on the sidewalks cheers.gif Too dangerous especially for one that is leaving their favourite fruit/veggie market bag.gif but, thats another story wink.gif If I can't ride my Harley on the sidewalks then to all that ride bicycles, ride on the street and as always, keep the shiney side up and be safe biggrin.gif
~Sty-U red_bandana.gif


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Irish Stepper 
Posted: 25-Aug-2004, 06:26 PM
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Whenever my boys and I go out for bike rides in the neighborhood, I have them ride on the sidewalk, while I ride beside them on the street. They just don't have the control over their bikes yet to be safe on the road. However, they also know that when they come up to someone who is walking on the sidewalk, they pull their bikes into the grass and stop until that person passes. cool.gif When we come up to a person who is walking the same direction as us, I ride ahead and let that person know they're coming. Most people have no problem as long as you give them notice. Especially, since this neighborhood is very family oriented with lots of little ones. smile.gif

As for adults and older kids...I fully agree that they belong on the street.


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CelticRadio 
Posted: 25-Aug-2004, 07:07 PM
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Seeing as I am out of breath, because I just came in from a bike ride!!!

I would say that sometimes bikes don't belong on the roads. In New England as well as other rural communities, there are very small 2 lane highways that have little room - but every weekend the bikes are out. I am so afraid that either I am going to hit one or I am going to be in an accident hitting another car trying to avoid them!

What I do is I ride my bike on the road, but when I go on the main street I sometimes drive on the sidewalk - only if no one is on the side walk - just be cause I don't want to be run down by an 18-wheeler. If someone is up ahead, I get off the sidewalk.

I usually bike in the evenings when there is not much traffic. Also I have a childs seat on the back, so if I have my little one on board I take it slow and easy and might go up on the side walk if I feel a little endangered, then continue once the traffic passes.


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susieq76 
Posted: 26-Aug-2004, 10:30 AM
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I guess I would have to be in the minority on this one. I live in the backwoods in North Carolina, and the cyclists here in these areas tend to gather in groups to cycle down the country roads. Those roads are already somewhat dangerous. Add cyclists (especially packs) and it becomes deadly. These cyclists do not yield, they cut people off, they ride in the median sometimes, and generally exhibit selfish and very dangerous behavior. When I honk to let them know I am coming, so they can move to the side of the road and let me pass (these are curvy roads, keep in mind), they will give me the finger, or just ignore me. They tend to do this on many of the country roads in the Triangle area here, and I rarely meet a courteous biker on the road. I believe in yielding to them, but they also should realize that if I hit them, there could be a lot of damage. I am not at all opposed to bikers, just impolite ones cool.gif Of course, the drivers around here are loony, too! They have been known to stop in the middle of a busy street to talk to someone - no emergency blinkers on, nothing.

That is my cheap two-cents worth! I don't mind the biking, and would love to do it myself, it's just the disregard for rules we were taught as early as kindergarten that bug me (and it's definitely not just the bike riders who do this, either, but all the folks sharing the road). wink.gif


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