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  1. #301
    MamaWheelie gizmocat's Avatar
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    Most people in my city ride on the sidewalks. The main streets are incredibly dangerous, the drivers are mostly college kids who don't look while driving, and the main roads have wide sidwalks that allow pedestrians (the few) and bicycles.
    I try to ride on side streets that have less traffic. When I'm there, I ride on the road.

  2. #302
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    I'm new to bike commuting and was amazed that road biking could be considered safer than sidewalk commuting.

    I live in Santa Monica CA; I was hoping to ride the roads the whole way to work (6mi), but the busy Los Angeles streets with fast drivers definitely make me nervous.

    I guess I was looking for an experienced commuter to give me advice on the following: I go thru a 1.5 mile of road en route that is only one lane wide, parked cars in the shoulder, and high-volume, slow speed rush hour traffic going about 15-25mph. I've been riding the sidewalk slowly in an effort to not annoy the rush hour motorists, whom I can't keep up with (I'm on a mtn bike, not a road bike, and there are stop signs every 1-2 blocks.) Fortunately there are few, if any peds en route, so I'm definitely not endagering any of them. However, it's slow going with all the stops, curbs, and ped-speed biking. I tried taking parallel side streets, but the cars go faster, and the one I'm using (Ohio St) is a designated bikepath street (and the others arent).

    Just wondering how some of you experienced bikers would handle this (besides riding as fast as the cars at 25-30mph with stop signs - I can't do it!).

    Thanks

  3. #303
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    Sidewalk bicycling

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    From John S. Allen, LAB Regional Director, New York/New England:

    "The evidence that bicycling on sidewalks and similar facilities is more hazardous than bicycling on streets is overwhelming."
    [snip]

    [i]"The average cyclist in this study incurs a risk on the sidewalk 1.8 times as great as on the roadway.
    [snip]


    "Wrong-way sidewalk travel is 4.5 times as dangerous as right-way sidewalk travel.
    [snip]
    Hi,

    I've been riding my bike for several months now for fitness and commuting. When I first got into it, I was riding on the sidewalks a lot. I then read several articles pointing out that not only is it generally safer to ride on the street, it is illegal for adults to ride on the sidewalk in my state. I switched, and discovered that they were mostly right.

    However, as I rode more I found that there are some streets which are so hazardous for bikes that I am certain the equation shifts. Furthermore, I'm convinced that in these cases it is safer to ride on the sidewalk against traffic flow than with traffic flow. The reason is that the biggest danger is getting creamed by a car turning into a side street as one is crossing. If I'm going with traffic, to be safe I need to stop at just about every such side street and make sure that nobody is going to turn into me. If I'm going against traffice, I can look ahead and time it so that no cars are coming up at the same time. Sure, cars can turn left into me from behind, so I still need to look for that, but there is more time for me to see them, and them see me.

    R

  4. #304
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Oh people you have to be kidding!!!!

    First off, check your city/town ordinances - see if it LEGAL to ride on the sidewalk. Many cities - including mine, Rochester, NY - it is against the law to ride on the sidewalk.

    Second, you as a bicyclist are a vehicle on the highway. Yes a regular vehicle. We give out John Allen's (one of his many I think) riding pamphlet to all our new club members - great read and good stuff to know.

    I commute in a busy city, and I head right into the guts of a myriad roadway of buses (bad things BTW), one way streets, people who don't know where the heck they're going and of course, the distracted driver.

    If you ride road correctly, signal, stop, ride the best choice of roads due to traffic conditions, and always if it is at least two lanes, please take up one lane! Getting over as far as you can so cars can pass will only allow you to be sideswiped.

    I ride a sidewalk only on a busy street and at a busy time when it becomes a zoo as it's a half mile long jam and they're all trying to get onto the expressway, but you should understand that by riding sidewalk you run the risk of every person leaving their house and zooming down the driveway and not seeing you. I've had this happen. I'll take road any day of the week over sidewalk.

  5. #305
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    c'mon, no-riding-on-the-sidewalk ordinances are almost never enforced by cops. they have better things to do. bike cops ride the sidwewalks. ride the sidewalk if you feel it is safe for you in your individual situation. In a busy downtown, your best bet is probably the street, anyway. sidewalks will be too crowded. Don't believe people who tell you to ride in the road no matter what/where. you do what you feel is best for you. In most situations sidewalk riding requires additional vigilance and reduced speed.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  6. #306
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    I agree: ride on the sidewalk if you feel it's safer, BUT be aware of the hazards of sidewalk riding from cars turning into or out of driveways, who come up suddenly and might not see you. IMO, sidewalk riders who are oblivious to the hazards contribute most to the statistics that show sidewalk riding to be more dangerous. To put it another way, most sidewalk riders tend to be less experienced and less vigilant than most road riders, hence tend to get into more accidents. (Similarly, I believe John Forrester admits that all-weather riders get in fewer accidents than sunny-day riders. Which demonstrates not that riding in rain/snow is safer, but that cyclists who ride in rain/snow are generally more experienced and get in fewer accidents.) So it may not be that sidewalk riding per se is more hazardous than road riding, but that the hazards are more commonly ignored.

    There's also the issue which has been discussed of whether sidewalk riders get into more severe accidents than road riders, or just a greater frequency of accidents, many of them minor. To exaggerate the point, if sidewalk riders get lots of scrapes and bruises while road riders get a few broken bones and deaths, it's dangerously misleading to claim that sidewalk riding is more dangerous and that you should ride on the road.

    As far as I know, the statistics are inconclusive on this.

    Tude: Are you sure that Rochester, NY, prohibits sidewalk cycling? I'd be surprised because (1) none of the literature I've picked up at local bike shops mentions anything to that effect, (2) most of the bicycle cops I've seen were riding on the sidewalk, and (3) 80% of the cyclists I see every day are riding on the sidewalk. (Of the remaining 20%, half are riding on the wrong side of the road, and almost all are riding in the door zone.)

  7. #307
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    I stay off the sidewalks whenever possible because pedestrians are far less predictable than cars. They stumble around randomly, never look up from the sidewalk, flail their arms about with no warning, and exit buildings without looking both ways first. Not to mention cars coming from driveways aren't looking for bikes when they cross the sidewalk.

    On streets with lots of fast traffic though, a sidewalk with no pedestrians is probably safer. Unfortunately, those are usually the broken-up, uneven sidewalks covered with broken glass. :-/

  8. #308
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000
    I'm new to bike commuting and was amazed that road biking could be considered safer than sidewalk commuting.

    I live in Santa Monica CA; I was hoping to ride the roads the whole way to work (6mi), but the busy Los Angeles streets with fast drivers definitely make me nervous.

    I guess I was looking for an experienced commuter to give me advice on the following: I go thru a 1.5 mile of road en route that is only one lane wide, parked cars in the shoulder, and high-volume, slow speed rush hour traffic going about 15-25mph. I've been riding the sidewalk slowly in an effort to not annoy the rush hour motorists, whom I can't keep up with (I'm on a mtn bike, not a road bike, and there are stop signs every 1-2 blocks.) Fortunately there are few, if any peds en route, so I'm definitely not endagering any of them. However, it's slow going with all the stops, curbs, and ped-speed biking. I tried taking parallel side streets, but the cars go faster, and the one I'm using (Ohio St) is a designated bikepath street (and the others arent).

    Just wondering how some of you experienced bikers would handle this (besides riding as fast as the cars at 25-30mph with stop signs - I can't do it!).

    Thanks

    since you are in california I will refer you to the dmv website and just search for bicycle it will tell you all the laws regarding bicycles in california remmeber you are to behave as a vehicle

    (even though I don't most of the time but that still doesn't mean I ride the sidewalks)

    its all good if you have to as a last resort but I figure the sidewalk riders where I am at are just out of the street and out of my way
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #309
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    when i sidewalk ride i use the brakes alot, for those sudden stops for pedestrians and cars pulling out. usually I never hit more than 10 mph riding on sidewalks. it is inefficient with all the dips and curbs of blocks, but i mostly stay on sidewalks because i dont have enuff confidence in my crappy purple kids bike.

  10. #310
    Senior Member tomcryar's Avatar
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    God?

    I am continually amazed about how many seemingly intelligent people continue to see Mr. Allen as a god. The bottom line is--and has always been--ride where you feel most comfortable. Don't buy in to the crap about what is safe and what is not--you know what's safe for you...........doesn't matter where or when you ride--just ride!

  11. #311
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    most states including california which is where I currently reside it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk and is considered a moving violation and you can be fined up to a thousand bucks

    so yeah I think riding on the sidewalk is not good besides traffic is more fun to dodge the mildred and her walker
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  12. #312
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retem
    most states including california which is where I currently reside it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk and is considered a moving violation and you can be fined up to a thousand bucks

    so yeah I think riding on the sidewalk is not good besides traffic is more fun to dodge the mildred and her walker
    You are wrong. You are quite wrong.

    Sidewalk riding is permitted by state law in every state whose laws I've checked, including Califorinia. Many states have laws against sidewalk riding in a business district. Even so, it wouldn't be a moving violation. That would be ridiculous.

    California, by the way, doesn't even define a bicycle as a vehicle.

    Most states, including California, permit municipalities to enact local prohibitions on sidewalk riding.

    California Vehicle Code - 21206:
    This chapter does not prevent local authorities, by ordinance, from regulating the registration of bicycles and the parking and operation of bicycles on pedestrian or bicycle facilities, provided such regulation is not in conflict with the provisions of this code.

    There are some local prohibitions in and around Sacramento:

    Rules for Sidewalk Riding
    http://www.sacbike.org/sacbiking/SidewalkRules.htm
    City of Sacramento - 10.76.010 Allowed in "residence districts" or where sidewalk is part of designated bike route.
    Sacramento County - 10.12.010 Prohibited everywhere unless signs expressly authorize.
    Davis - City - Prohibited only on the downtown sidewalks, a defined area shown on bike map.
    Davis - Campus - Prohibited everywhere except along A St.
    Folsom - Section 10.24.070 Prohibited everywhere.
    Roseville - Section 11.14.010 Permitted everywhere except selected sections of Vernon Street, Lincoln Street, Grant Street, Lincoln Street, Main Street and Church Street as described in the Roseville Municipal Code.

    --------------------

    In Missouri, where I live, sidewalk riding is allowed although it is prohibited in business districts (the term 'business district' is defined in the vehicle code).
    Supposedly, sidewalk riding is illegal in the City of St. Louis (where I don't live although I ride there a lot). The law is joke, as are virtually all the anti-sidewalk riding laws that misguided safety nannies manage to get passed despite a total lack of credible evidence that sidewalk riding is inherently dangerous. Such laws are anti-bicycling and anti-bicyclist, plain and simple. The city's anti-sidewalk riding law is unenforced (and probably virtually unenforceable). Well over half of the bicyclists I see in the city are on the sidewalk.

    I ride in the street (I've been called an iconoclast) but the other day, near the end of a two-hour ride in the heat (over 100 degree heat index), I rode two short blocks on the sidewalk (at about 3 mph) in the City of St. Louis rather than ride those two blocks in the right lane of a busy arterial (which is what I usually do, although almost never that slowly). I'd love it if I got a ticket for that. I'd make a point of fighting the ticket because the law it would be based on is stupid, just as stupid as the mandatory registration law the City of St. Louis had for decades and only enforced when the cops wanted to hassle people for political reasons (see the thread Cyclists Arrested for Riding Without a License).

    Support profiling and selective enforcement by the police; get your city to pass an anti-sidewalk riding law.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
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  13. #313
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Is that Ohio Ave. ? An extension of Broadway? If so you may have a problem. I don's see any reasonable alternates. Still a bit more exploring on weekends might help a bit.

    Do remember that the same things that make this area nasty on the roads also make it even worse at every intersection when you come off the sidewalk.



    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000
    I'm new to bike commuting and was amazed that road biking could be considered safer than sidewalk commuting.

    I live in Santa Monica CA; I was hoping to ride the roads the whole way to work (6mi), but the busy Los Angeles streets with fast drivers definitely make me nervous.

    I guess I was looking for an experienced commuter to give me advice on the following: I go thru a 1.5 mile of road en route that is only one lane wide, parked cars in the shoulder, and high-volume, slow speed rush hour traffic going about 15-25mph. I've been riding the sidewalk slowly in an effort to not annoy the rush hour motorists, whom I can't keep up with (I'm on a mtn bike, not a road bike, and there are stop signs every 1-2 blocks.) Fortunately there are few, if any peds en route, so I'm definitely not endagering any of them. However, it's slow going with all the stops, curbs, and ped-speed biking. I tried taking parallel side streets, but the cars go faster, and the one I'm using (Ohio St) is a designated bikepath street (and the others arent).

    Just wondering how some of you experienced bikers would handle this (besides riding as fast as the cars at 25-30mph with stop signs - I can't do it!).

    Thanks

  14. #314
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    yeah I play it safe and go by the cvc as far as bicycling where I live is concerned refer to

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/tocd11c1a4.htm

    better to not get a ticket and play it safe besides if you ride the sidewalk you are just outta my way so I can get where I am going and make my money

    I also know several messengers and the like who have been ticketed for riding on the sidewalk
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #315
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcryar
    Don't buy in to the crap about what is safe and what is not--you know what's safe for you...........doesn't matter where or when you ride--just ride!
    I used to ride the sidewalks. It was only after many near-misses I realized there was something wrong.

    If I had only read about it earlier, I could have saved myself the trouble of almost being a statistic for someone else to read about.
    No worries

  16. #316
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcm
    I agree: ride on the sidewalk if you feel it's safer, BUT be aware of the hazards of sidewalk riding from cars turning into or out of driveways, who come up suddenly and might not see you. IMO, sidewalk riders who are oblivious to the hazards contribute most to the statistics that show sidewalk riding to be more dangerous. To put it another way, most sidewalk riders tend to be less experienced and less vigilant than most road riders, hence tend to get into more accidents. (Similarly, I believe John Forrester admits that all-weather riders get in fewer accidents than sunny-day riders. Which demonstrates not that riding in rain/snow is safer, but that cyclists who ride in rain/snow are generally more experienced and get in fewer accidents.) So it may not be that sidewalk riding per se is more hazardous than road riding, but that the hazards are more commonly ignored.
    You make a very good point marcm. While I don't ride on sidewalks, I'm pretty sure I could do it anywhere all day long without getting into a wreck. It sure would be a lot slower than riding in the street though.
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  17. #317
    MamaWheelie gizmocat's Avatar
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    The one fallacy in the 'drive in the street argument' is this:

    ANY driver is responsible for his vehicle at ALL times. A car pulling out of a driveway MUST look on the sidewalk for ANY approaching object. A pedestrian is just as likely to be hit on the sidewalk by a lousy driver as a cyclist. I don't see any difference.

    I was crossing a street in my own neighborhood and was actually in the middle of it. An approaching car did not even slow down--she was too busy talking on her cell phone. I was able to jump away from the front of the car and pound on the hood. "She didn't see me".
    I was directly in front of her for the entire time, big as life and twice as ugly.
    This idiot has many sisters and brothers driving out there, and all the precautions in the world will not protect against really determined stupidity.
    People here routinele ride on sidewalks since many streets are minefields and the drivers catatonic.

  18. #318
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    c'mon, no-riding-on-the-sidewalk ordinances are almost never enforced by cops. they have better things to do.
    you probably won't get caught cooking meth either. try that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gizmocat
    The one fallacy in the 'drive in the street argument' is this:

    ANY driver is responsible for his vehicle at ALL times. A car pulling out of a driveway MUST look on the sidewalk for ANY approaching object. A pedestrian is just as likely to be hit on the sidewalk by a lousy driver as a cyclist. I don't see any difference.
    Responsibility is one thing. The difference is that drivers often don't expect, and don't look for, fast moving objects on the sidewalk. It's much easier to see a nearby pedestrian than a cyclist 20 feet away. Also, drivers pulling out of a driveway are busy checking the ROAD for traffic, so they rarely take more than a quick glance at the sidewalk (for pedestrians) before diverting their attention.

    The sidewalk cyclists I sometimes see who ride with their eyes straight ahead, even when crossing the street (at a walk signal), I think must be suicidal. That, or they have good guardian angels.

    Quote Originally Posted by gizmocat
    People here routinele ride on sidewalks since many streets are minefields and the drivers catatonic.
    True, but in my view, sidewalks are also minefields, and bumpy minefields at that

  20. #320
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcm
    The sidewalk cyclists I sometimes see who ride with their eyes straight ahead, even when crossing the street (at a walk signal), I think must be suicidal. That, or they have good guardian angels.
    Sorta like the roadie boys riding in traffic, deep into their drop bar areo position, staring straight down at their own front tire, occasionally lifting their head to peek forward? Always struck me as an unsafe way to ride in traffic, or the sidewalk, or the MUP.
    Saw two accidents occur that way; one cyclist deep in the drops ran right into the side of a left turning car, the other rode right into an open car door that had been open for quite awhile. Both would have easily been avoided if racer boys looked where they were going, instead of being so dang efficient and speedy.

    See? We all have anecdotes to show that the other guys are real dopey.

  21. #321
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Sorta like the roadie boys riding in traffic, deep into their drop bar areo position, staring straight down at their own front tire, occasionally lifting their head to peek forward? Always struck me as an unsafe way to ride in traffic, or the sidewalk, or the MUP.
    Saw two accidents occur that way; one cyclist deep in the drops ran right into the side of a left turning car, the other rode right into an open car door that had been open for quite awhile. Both would have easily been avoided if racer boys looked where they were going, instead of being so dang efficient and speedy.

    See? We all have anecdotes to show that the other guys are real dopey.
    Those guys don't know how to ride then. When i am in my drops i am looking strait ahead and not down. I have looked down at my wheel after hitting something to look for damage and don't have near the control to ride strait. Don't have any point of reference.


    Forgot to mention its also not efficient at all helmets are not made to be aero in the least when the top if in to the wind. In fact they will be more like air breaks

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Sorta like the roadie boys riding in traffic, deep into their drop bar areo position, staring straight down at their own front tire, occasionally lifting their head to peek forward? Always struck me as an unsafe way to ride in traffic, or the sidewalk, or the MUP.
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Saw two accidents occur that way; one cyclist deep in the drops ran right into the side of a left turning car, the other rode right into an open car door that had been open for quite awhile. Both would have easily been avoided if racer boys looked where they were going, instead of being so dang efficient and speedy.

    See? We all have anecdotes to show that the other guys are real dopey.
    Perhaps so, but my point was not that sidewalk cyclists per se endanger themselves, but rather that sidewalk cyclists who don't ride defensively (or with an awareness of hazards) endanger themselves. Replace "sidewalk cyclists" with "roadie boys" or any other cyclist type/stereotype, and it's still true.

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    I am opposed to sidewalk riding. It is more dangerous and makes people on the road think that is where bikes belong. But, if it is simply easier and more efficient once in a while for a short distance, why not? Usually, I just take the road. Traffic doesn't force me to the sidewalk!!!

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  24. #324
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    Sidewalks? I hate sidewalks. Every so often I don't have a choice and have to use them for a few hundred meters but I did have the choice, I'd get off.

    Reasons I hate sidewalks:

    1 - The seams. Those damn recurring bumps are annoying as hell.
    2 - Pedestrians. They're too slow, don't hear me coming, react stupidly when I honk my horn at them and in some areas there's just too many of them.
    3 - Dogs on leaches. Why do people have 50ft leaches? The pedestrian is on one side of the sidewalk/trail and their dog is one the other side taking a dump. I have no choice but to stop or I'll catch the cord and rip the owner's fingers off.
    4 - Baby strollers. Two women walking side by side with their strollers take up the whole sidewalk. And then there are the double wide strollers (for 2 babies) that also take up the whole sidewalk. And even when honked at well in advance, you know they won't push the stroller off the sidewalk/trail.
    5 - In-line skaters. Sure they're faster than pedestrians but they use up the whole sidewalk going side to side all the time. And many of them go skating while wearing iPods so they don't even hear you coming, horn or no horn.
    6 - Rules of the road. Pedestrians have priority. I, as a cycilst, have to cede the right of way to them. That gets annoying.

    My preference for where to ride is this:

    1 - Dedicated bike trails. These are for bikes only. And even though you do encounter some pedestrians, they're usually not much bother.
    2 - Multi-purpose trails. Similar to above but you will sometimes encounter some pedestrians. Most of these trails are paved though. Makes for a smooth ride.
    3 - Bike lanes. Those bike lanes right next to the street are still safer than the street in general. Especially the ones with the black and yellow posts every 10 meters.
    4 - Streets.
    5 - Sidewalks. See above for reasons.

  25. #325
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fix
    you probably won't get caught cooking meth either. try that.


    yeah, these two things ARE pretty similar. (sidewalk riding=cooking meth)
    what color is the sky in your world?

    point is moot for me anyway, as it is legal. (sidewalk riding, not meth)
    Last edited by rando; 08-18-06 at 09:58 AM.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

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