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  1. #51
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    I haven't ridden on sidewalks in over 40 years, but I don't criticize or object to those who do for their own reasons; none of which, I am confident, involve giving a dang about what VC ideologues "accept."
    I have finally found common ground with you, ILTB.

    I ride in the street, even though the vast majority of people I know (outside of Bike Forums) think I shouldn't. You see, I am as much an individualist as you, in that I ride where I want, despite what people think. I cut against the grain.

    I guess that's why it kind of hurts when you accuse me of having no independent judgement, saying that I am a conformist to some "VC Party doctrine." It really takes a lot of social "guts" to ride where you want, even though everyone else thinks you should get off the street and onto a path or sidewalk.

    Well, just like you, I'll ride where I want, and I don't give a hoot what you or anyone else says about it. Where I live, people who "accept the VC Pary doctrine" would be about as popular as a wh0re in a convent.
    No worries

  2. #52
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    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."

    From "Adult Bicyclists in the U.S." by Dr. William Moritz:

    Relative danger index 24.8 times as high for sidewalk riding as for major street without bicycle facilities. (ADULT BICYCLISTS IN THE UNITED STATES - CHARACTERISTICS AND RIDING EXPERIENCE IN 1996, William E. Moritz, Ph.D., Professor (Emeritus) Human Powered Transportation, University of Washington, Seattle WA)...
    First, I want to thank LittleBigMan for starting this thread, and this discussion. It got me to read the above reference, Adult Bicyclists in the United States, Characteristics and Riding Experience in 1996 by William E. Moritz. I think that I was a part of that study, actually, as it was a time when I was a member of the League of American Bicyclists. But let me make a few comments on this survey.

    First, and foremost, it is a survey, and not a "study." This survey was very limited in scope, in that it replicated two previous surveys (a Washington State survey in 1994, and a League of American Wheelmen survey in 1974). A "study" would include being double-blind, and include much more than one group to examine the problems. A "study" should be reproducable, but this survey is not. It is not accurate either. To quote from the report:

    One problem with a survey of this type is assessing the validity of the responses since most cyclists do not keep records of their daily trips. Since there is no way to verify accuracy, it was decided to at least require some level of internal consistency in the responses. For example, the sum of the miles ridden per month by trip purposes multiplied by the claimed number of months ridden should (ideally) equal the total miles reported. THe range of errors encountered was -97 percent to +2,345 percent. An acceptance range of +-40 percent was selected, which resulted in rejecting an additional 13.5 percent (326/2,403).
    Please note that there are several other thing about this survey which handicap it. This is a survey of the adult League of American Bicyclists. It is not inclusive of all bicyclists, and therefore any claims for relative danger apply really only to this group. Other factors may influence other groups. Also, this is self-reported data. There is no way to check this data at all (and we know the range of errors is 80%; you know, 2% to 5% is probably acceptable, but 80%?). Finally, the author of the study decided on the criterion for a "serious" crash as one that caused at least $50 of property damage or medical expenses (few medical visits go now for $50 for anything).

    Concerning the statements on sidewalks above, they were not made in the report of the survey. They were apparently made by John S. Allen to support his thesis. The abstract of the survey stated:

    Multiuse trails have a crash rate about 40 percent greater than would be expected based on the miles cycled on them, whereas cycling on a sidewalk is extremely dangerous.
    There are several things to be said about the data on sidewalks in the survey. First, this statement is in the abstract, but not in the survey report itself. Second, it lumps all the crashes into one category, whereas if it were broken out, you could easily see that sidewalks are less hazardous than roads without bike facilities. The statement above that riding on sidewalks is 24.8 times more hazardous than riding on a major road without bicycle facilities is based upon a table in the 1998 report of the same title presented to the Transportation research Board (I found both on a Google search). This table shows, for all crashes, the crash rate per million kilometers is 1026 for "Other (most often 'sidewalk')" and 41 for "Major w/o bike facilities." By the way, 1026 divided by 41 is 25.0, not 24.8, and neither of these numbers are used in the study itself. They were derived from the report's Table 4. Crashes by facility type.

    See: http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/Moritz2.htm

    But this is biased data. First, I doubt that League of American Bicyclists ride much on these "Other" areas, and probably ride them very fast when they do. But if you look at the data for the percentage of the total crashes, it is 5% and 4% respectively for "Serious" and "Minor" crashes on "Other (most often 'sidewalk')." It is 29% and 17% respectively for "Serious" and "Minor" crashes on "Major w/o bike facilities." And it is 41% and 43% respectively for "Serious" and "Minor" crashes on "Minor w/o bike facilities." ("Major" and "minor" in these cases meaning major and minor roads.) It should also be pointed out that the LAB 96 survey is the only one cited in this paper that has data on "Other (most often 'sidewalk')." The other two surveys (WA 94 and LAW 74) list "N/A" for this category, as they had no data on it at all.

    LittleBigMan, you asked that we provide scientifically validated data to back our claims that riding sidewalks are as safe or safer than riding on the roadway. The data in the study you provide suggests that, if we use LAB data, the LAB cyclists experienced inordinent numbers of minor crashes on sidewalks compared to the number of miles (km) ridden on them. But this data is really suspect. I know that I had a hard time remembering what I had done for a year previous in my bicycling. I don't think many of us could produce data anywhere near accurate a year later about our bicyling habits (# km/type of roadway each day).

    Now, from a practical aspect, I will talk about my today's ride (which I do still remember pretty well). I rode my "auto avoidance" route today, as on Thursday evening I treat autos as if it were a Friday (and I still do not bicycle on Friday--two trips to emergency rooms have quelled my enthusiam for Friday riding). I rode ten miles this evening, about 1.5 of which was on sidewalks, 0.5 on bicycle paths, and the rest on open roadway (both with and without bike lanes). I was passed by approximately 35 cars during that time on the road. My estimate is that about 10% of auto drivers are impared for some reason (cell phone usage, baby, drink, radio, alcohol, etc.). That means that probably three or four of those cars passing me were impared. One guy, in a sedan with a child next to him, talked to me about my recumbant as we were stopped side-by-side at a stop light; as the light turned, he answered a cell phone and proceded through the intersection. I headed to the sidewalk, as the next stretch of my commute was uphill, with no shoulder or bike lane whatsoever. During my commute home, I had (if I give ~3000 pounds/car) about 52.5 tons of vehicles pass me within ten feet at a regular speed (45-55 mph), and 4.5 tons were most probably driven by impared drivers. That is a lot of mass and force.

    When I was on the sidewalk, I was separated by these vehicles by a curb, sometimes a light pole, and most often by about 10-20 feet of ground (sometimes with trees between me and the road). Sure, I could hit one of those poles, or the post in the middle of the bike path I took. But if I did, my mass going at 12.5 mph would be about 250 pounds. This is about 18.3 feet per second. My 250 pounds (with the bike) hitting at 12.5 mph would be 4583 foot pounds per second would create an impact, but probably not life-threatening.

    If I am on a road, and hit by a car, then (assuming the car is going my direction at 45 mph, and I'm fast at 18 mph) the closing speed is (45 mph - 18 mph) about 40 feet per second. The car weighs 3000 pounds though (if I'm lucky), and so the impact will be at 118,800 foot pounds per second. I don't think I would survive a direct hit.

    So I use the auto avoidance when I think they are driving in a hazardous manner (and that is on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday). If I were to hit a person (and I saw none today on the sidewalks, and two on the bike path I took), it would be at that slow speed and low force. It would hurt, but probably not kill anyone. In other words, those above who said that you were not looking correctly at the risk management are correct in their thinking. The risks simply are not as great.

    I am nearing 60 years old now, and hope to be cycling to 100 years old. I will continue to use these techniques to ensure I don't tangle again with a car. Some of you who have been riding "aggressively" don't perhaps know what it feels like to awaken in an ER and have the Doc tell you he had just completed the CAT scan, but you didn't remember it. But I have had that experience, and it is not pleasant. It has made me re-think all my cycling--for instance, I ride a recumbant now, and the sidewalks are not as hazardous to me as you who don't as I'm closer to the ground, and traveling feet-first. Ever tried swimming through a river rapids head-first--that isn't pleasant either, so why do we go head first on bikes when we have cars to duck instead of rocks?

    Well, the dishes becken, so I need to wrap this up. I will continue to use sidewalks when it is to my advantage (it is legal here), and bike paths too. They may hurt you, but they are very unlikely to kill you. I can heal...but not if I'm dead!

    John

    PS--I am a Certified Safety Professional, and applied a lot of my 25 years in the safety field to analyzing my bicycling.
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 04-22-05 at 02:12 AM.
    John Ratliff

  3. #53
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    ...Adult Bicyclists in the United States, Characteristics and Riding Experience in 1996 by William E. Moritz...

    ...This survey was very limited in scope, in that it replicated two previous surveys (a Washington State survey in 1994, and a League of American Wheelmen survey in 1974). A "study" would include being double-blind, and include much more than one group to examine the problems. A "study" should be reproducable, but this survey is not. It is not accurate either....
    You say this survey is not accurate because it does not include more than one group to examine the problems. You say that a survey of the League of American Wheelmen and a Washington State survey 20 years later is inadequate because the scope is too narrow and should include other cyclists besides LAW cyclists.

    Yet to prove your own case that sidewalk cycling is safer than road cycling, you provide the experiences and opinions of only one cyclist: yourself.
    No worries

  4. #54
    JRA
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    Senior Member JRA's Avatar
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    John C. Ratliff, I really appreciate your post. I'm somewhat interested in the subject but not interested enough to read through that entire survey myself. I read some of the literature a long time ago and I'm not inclined to do it again. Thanks for refreshing my memory.


    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    I ride in the street, even though the vast majority of people I know (outside of Bike Forums) think I shouldn't. You see, I am as much an individualist as you, in that I ride where I want, despite what people think. I cut against the grain.
    Anyone who rides a bicycle for transportation these days almost has to be a bit of an individualist. That may be one reason cyclists disagree so much. I ride in the street too. And people tell me I'm gonna get killed. And I don't pay any attention to them - because they're wrong.

    You slightly misinterpret what Mr. Ratliff said. His statement that the survey results are not accurate is supported by the survey itself, which he quotes, "Since there is no way to verify accuracy, ..."


    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    You say that a survey of the League of American Wheelmen and a Washington State survey 20 years later is inadequate because the scope is too narrow and should include other cyclists besides LAW cyclists.
    That's a really valid criticism because LAB cyclists probably don't ride on sidewalks much and probably ride too fast if they do. If the only cycling education they've had is a LAB road course, they aren't trained in sidewalk riding and, to use the term John Forester always uses when he talks of sidewalk riding, they're incompetent.


    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    Yet to prove your own case that sidewalk cycling is safer than road cycling, you provide the experiences and opinions of only one cyclist: yourself.
    It didn't seem to me that the experiences and opinions were being offered as "proof" of anything. They're just personal comments.

    "Proof" is not easy to come by. Some of the difficulty in getting accurate data on cycling was described in the introduction to a 1976 study I found on John Forester's website:
    The primary obstacle to be overcome in examining adult bicycling is the gathering of a suitable sample from which to collect reliable data. Neither bicycles nor bicycle drivers are licensed by official agencies. Most bicycle accidents are not entered in any regular, official reporting system except for the few injury-related motor-vehicle involvements. Traffic rules are poorly enforced for bicycle drivers and violations are rarely, if ever, entered on official records. Fuel consumption figures used to estimate automobile mileage are, of course, meaningless for bicyclists. Thus, several of the important sources of information concerning automobile usage and accidents are not available when studying bicycles. The absence of these sources makes it necessary to contact bicyclists directly in order to collect the required data.
    BICYCLE ACCIDENTS AND USAGE AMONG YOUNG ADULTS:
    A PRELIMINARY STUDY

    Stuart A. Schupack and Gerald J. Driessen
    Research Department - National Safety Council
    Accurate and meaningful scientific data on the danger of riding a bicycle on the sidewalk simply does not exist. I wish it did. I am not an advocate of sidewalk riding. I have no axe to grind on that subject but it bothers me that some people, many of them LAB members (who have both an agenda and a bias), keep repeating the same statistics as "proof" when it's no scientific proof at all. It gets repeated so many times that many people accept it as fact. It is not fact. At best it is a preliminary finding. At worst it is propaganda.
    "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.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  5. #55
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Hi LittleBigMan,

    Actually, I acknowledged that the statistics cited prove that for the League of American Bicyclists, sidewalk riding is more hazardous than street riding for all injuries. This is also in line with my own experience. On sidewalks I have not had problems, but I have had a spill going across a road on a crosswalk, another spill taking a path too fast in wet conditions, another one on a wet boardwalk where I spilled, and finally, the one that would probably count as "serious" under the LAB definition, a boardwalk where the boards were parallel to my line of travel and caught my front tire, dumping me head first onto the path and ruining my front wheel (more than $50 to replace it). The greatest injury I sustained in all this was a bruise on my left thigh, and a slightly sprained wrist from the "serious" accident.

    The "serious" accident was the one which convinced me to go to a recumbant bicycle, as that type of accident was simply not possible on the recumbant (a low speed, over the handlebars dumping).

    My discussion about the surveys were that none of the prior ones had data for sidewalks at all, so those were irrelevant to the discussion. The survey included only members of the League of American Bicyclists, and they are a small percentage of actual bicyclists. So the scope of the 1996 LAB survey was very limited. Also, it was not accurate in its methodology. How could it be, with a budget of about $6500 to conduct the survey itself?

    The survey was limited to LAB members, so it can be extrapolated only to LAB membership as a whole. The LAB membership at the time was about 23,500, according to the report. They sent out the samples, and got 2,403 returned surveys. Due to inaccuracies, they used only 1,956 of those surveys, about 8% of the membership. This is a good sample of the membership, and if they are typical of all USA adults, then it probably could be extrapolated to the entire USA. But I don't think the level of experience of the USA population is equivalent to the LAB members. Therefore, in my opinion (and mine only) to exprapolate it further to the US population is to bias introduce potential bias into the survey.

    While I acknowledge the greater hazard of riding sidewalks and bike paths for all injuries, I feel it is much safer in uncongested areas to do so for car/bicycle accidents. Those are the ones I worry about, as those in my opinion are the ones which can kill me. To those who point out the hazards of crossing roadways, I can only say "Look, Listen, then go." I think all children were taught how to cross roads by looking in both directions, listening for approaching vehicles, and only when clear, going across the road. This applies to bicyclists too, and involves slowing or stopping as necessary to clear one's self. These are things we learn in kindergarten, and should be self-apparent to all concerned.

    John
    John Ratliff

  6. #56
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    ...I acknowledged that the statistics cited prove that for the League of American Bicyclists, sidewalk riding is more hazardous than street riding for all injuries. This is also in line with my own experience.
    I agree with this, John.


    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    On sidewalks I have not had problems, but I have had a spill going across a road on a crosswalk, another spill taking a path too fast in wet conditions, another one on a wet boardwalk where I spilled, and finally, the one that would probably count as "serious" under the LAB definition, a boardwalk where the boards were parallel to my line of travel and caught my front tire, dumping me head first onto the path and ruining my front wheel (more than $50 to replace it). The greatest injury I sustained in all this was a bruise on my left thigh, and a slightly sprained wrist from the "serious" accident.

    The "serious" accident was the one which convinced me to go to a recumbant bicycle, as that type of accident was simply not possible on the recumbant (a low speed, over the handlebars dumping).
    Simple falls are often a cause of serious injury, especially among those who don't wear helmets. This is why I question the assumption that the greatest danger of cycling is from motor vehicles. My most serious injury (like you, over the bars) might have killed me if I were not wearing my helmet. I know what it's like to beg for pain medication in the hospital. But this injury was not caused by a two-ton motorist; it was caused by a 175-lb. pedestrian and I was travelling less than 15 mph.

    I would like to get a recumbent also, partially for the safety but mostly for the pleasure.


    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    The survey was limited to LAB members, so it can be extrapolated only to LAB membership as a whole.
    Maybe you're right that the survey results don't apply to all cyclists. But if you compare crash rates of "all cyclists" to those of LAB members, you'll find that LAB members have fewer crashes by far. If anything, limiting the survey to LAB members only reduced the frequency of sidewalk crashes as compared with road crashes.


    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    To those who point out the hazards of crossing roadways, I can only say "Look, Listen, then go." I think all children were taught how to cross roads by looking in both directions, listening for approaching vehicles, and only when clear, going across the road. This applies to bicyclists too, and involves slowing or stopping as necessary to clear one's self. These are things we learn in kindergarten, and should be self-apparent to all concerned.
    Intersections are the most dangerous places for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Sidewalks (and crosswalks) become target areas for pedestrians and cyclists wherever they intersect a road or driveway.
    Sidewalk users are constantly put in harm's way by turning motorists, whether they are on a bike, on foot or in a wheelchair. Pedestrians are not safe on sidewalks/crosswalks, and cyclists are even less safe.
    No worries

  7. #57
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    LittleBigMan,

    I think we have some agreement here concerning helmets on cyclists who use bike paths and sidewalks. Her's what the CPSC said in their study:

    http://www.helmets.org/rodgers1.htm

    Helmet Use Patterns
    In an analysis of factors associated with helmet use, the exposure survey data revealed that the likelihood of helmet use increases with the amount of riding time. It is higher for those who ride on major thoroughfares and bike paths, and is lower for those who ride on neighborhood streets and on sidewalks and playgrounds. The relationship between age and helmet use is more complex, suggesting that helmet use increases with age for frequent riders and declines with age for infrequent riders. The results also suggest that children age 10 and under are more likely to wear helmets, relative to older riders, than can be otherwise explained by the general relationship between age and risk. The likely explanation is that enough parents of young children require their children to wear helmets so that helmet use patterns of children are distinguished from those of older bicyclists. Helmet use also increases substantially with higher household education levels.
    But please note that the risk for motorists hitting cyclists on sidewalks turing into driveways or other small roads which cross the sidewalks also puts the same cyclists who are in a bicycle lane at risk. I know, as one of my two serious car/bicycle (with me on the bike) accidents was a car "T"-boning me turning right while I was going at a fair clip (~20 mph). So you really cannot say that it is more hazardous on the sidewalk, as there is perhaps more time to react than in a bike lane.

    I think we also agree that anyone on a bike, no matter where (my culdesac, for instance) should be wearing a helmet.

    John
    John Ratliff

  8. #58
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    so today i was out riding on an area greenway, a lady steps out from the woods onto the greenway up ahead of me, so i call out 'on your left' to inform her of my badazzness..er, presence, anyways. what does the lady do? she turns, looks, registers my oncoming badazzness, er my oncoming oncomingness & then she steps to the freakin' left , which meant, from her starting point, traversing the 70% of the path that would put her in my way, instead of the 30% of the path that would get her out of my way.

    meaning, it ain't all about you (on a bike)

    i feel the likelihood of other people (pedestrians) getting hurt by cyclists on sidewalks is a bigger issue.

    while chances of something severe happening on the road seems more likely, cars do tend to be more predictable than pedestrians (in my [badazz] experience)

    i'm kinda anti-bike lanes too, as i feel it marginalizes the cyclist, i have a friend (one) who the only time he's ever even come close to being hit was when he was turning through an intersection from a bike lane.

    my 2 pfennings

  9. #59
    Senior Moment Litespeed's Avatar
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    Here in Santee, California they have actually made a sidewalk into a bike/pedestrian route. You are riding on a sidewalk but aren't crossing any driveways where cars can come in or out of. I rode it today and still wasn't real comfortable with it.

    Town Center Parkway (1.2 miles)
    Most of the bike paths in Santee are really two-part sidewalks. The smooth part is for bicyclists and the rough part is for pedestrians.

    Unfortunately this is the only way you can get down Mission Gorge Road because it has three lanes of very narrow traffic and you would be taking your life in your hands to try and ride it, although I have seen cyclist do it. If you do, it makes for VERY unhappy motorists.

  10. #60
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Mr. Ratliff,

    Thanks for seeking common ground.

    Though we agree to disagree on some basic issues, I respect your motives and I respect you.

    Happy cycling, and be well!
    No worries

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    Senior Member Bruce Rosar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
    While I acknowledge the greater hazard of riding sidewalks and bike paths for all injuries, I feel it is much safer in uncongested areas to do so for car/bicycle accidents.
    The Bicycle sidepaths: crash risks and liability exposure page has links to several studies/surveys which show an higher risk for cycling on parallel paths against traffic than with traffic. The difference is due to a higher risk of accidents with other traffic while traveling opposed on sidepaths. The following excerpts are from one such study:

    Risk Factors for Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions at Intersections by Alan Wachtel and Diana Lewiston, published in the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal, Sept/Oct 1994
    The average cyclist in this study incurs a risk on the sidewalk 1.8 times as great as on the roadway. The risk on the sidewalk is higher than on the roadway for both age groups, for both sexes, and for wrong-way travel. The greatest risk found in this study is 5.3 times the average risk for bicyclists over 18 traveling against traffic on the sidewalk.
    ...
    Wrong-way sidewalk travel is 4.5 times as dangerous as right-way sidewalk travel. Moreover, sidewalk bicycling promotes wrong-way travel: 315 of 971 sidewalk bicyclists (32 percent) rode against the direction of traffic, compared to only 108 of 2,005 roadway bicyclists (5 percent).
    ...
    Even right-way sidewalk bicyclists can cross driveways and enter intersections at high speed, and they may enter from an unexpected position and direction for instance, on the right side of overtaking right-turning traffic. Sidewalk bicyclists are also more likely to be obscured at intersections by parked cars, buildings, fences, and shrubbery; their stopping distance is much greater than a pedestrian's, and they have less maneuverability.

  12. #62
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    I wish there were more common sense in the world.

    This whole debate seems like another attempt to generate and codify concepts of "good" and "bad" to be taught as general rules, when, in fact, circumstance and common sense should dictate best behavior for any specific situation.

    You can do surveys and studies til you're blue in the face (or argue against them), but it's patently obvious that there are some situations where sidewalk riding is dramatically safer than street riding, and visa-versa.

    I think the sidewalk-is-safer scenario is fairly rare, but on a daily basis I thank our local legislators that in Washington State it is legal. For the steep uphill climb on a narrow, high-volume arterial where there are no pedestrians, ever, I take that sidewalk happily. I'd take it if it were against the law, too, and fight the law to the bitter end.

    John Ratcliff makes some excellent points, well said!

    But don't suddenly think this is a defense of riding on the sidewalk: 98% or more (by distance, if not time, I'm not fast on those steep hills) of my cycling is in the street, and I am as vehicular as you're likely to see local cyclists. But I find that common sense and alert riding keeps me much safer than any hard-wired code-of-riding is likely to.

  13. #63
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FotoTomas
    It seems to me that one side (little Big Man for example) is against sidewalk riding due to the "risk" being greater for "accidents" based on published reports indicating this is so. The other side (I-Like-To-Bike, and JRA in that corner) seem to purport that the studies have used flawed methodology to arrive at the conclusions and as such the conclusions are not valid due to statistical infidelity.

    This has caused an argument that I as a new member to the "serious cycling community" do not understand. one side refuses to examine the study for flaws and admit there might be some discrepancies as to how risk is determined while the other does not seem to consider that risk is still risk even if undefined.

    I for one will be happy to concede that maybe sidewalks "Can" be more dangerous but until the risk vs. reward can be shown to infer death or serious bodily injury will be the likely result unless I stay off the sidewalk I tend to support the honorable opposition to the study.

    I agree that side B does not have any need to provide a rebuttal study when the study in question has an obvious bias and does not quantify its results with risk management guidelines.

    If this Internet exchange was designed to show the "VC" way as being the "better way" In my case it has not. it has merely shown me that there are proponents that are dogmatic in their belief structure.

    As for me...The jury is definitely still out. I will continue to use those roads where I in my experience believe myself to be safer and the sidewalks when in my opinion the risk is the lesser of two evils.
    Wait until we get to arguments on bike lanes, and you'll see that neither side has any real studies showing anything at all about them. It's all about who can "spin" their "logic" in a better format.

  14. #64
    Senior Member Bruce Rosar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejack
    I wish there were more common sense in the world.
    Which type of "common sense" are we discussing?

    As defined in the dictionary:
    "Common Sense is sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment."

    As observed:
    "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Albert Einstein (1879-1955), quoted in "Mathematics, Queen and Servant of the Sciences", E.T. Bell, 1952

    Ever wonder what happens when someone has both intelligence and the kind of "common sense" that Einstein observed? Here's a great little quote, followed by a short article by the same author. I hope that some readers of this thread will find them interesting.
    The practitioners of (what scientists refer to as) pseudo-science generally know and even understand established scientific thought; they just reject it (for reasons which may have little to do with science itself).
    The above quote and the following article are both from Alistair B. Fraser's Bad Science page
    The difficulty with science education is that so much of it is actually reeducation.

    I find teaching of science fairly easy. I have no difficulties with science education; my difficulties are with science reeducation. If I can teach something about which the students have never heard, I find that they generally both welcome and understand it. It is when I have to teach them about something that they have already learned incorrectly, that I start to identify with Sisyphus.

    Why is science reeducation so difficult? I have identified two possible reasons, you may know of others.

    Jonathan Swift is reputed to have observed (I cannot find the original reference), "You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place." So, if science is taught as just a collection of (assumed-to-be) facts, it is nothing but dogma. Dogma stoutly resists subsequent displacement by reason.

    It seems that anything people have learned prior to puberty takes on the status of an immutable truth (this is something well understood by parents, governments, and religions). Rational explanations of why some previous belief might be incompatible with the behavior of nature, and a careful explanation of the actual behavior of nature are of little avail.

    So, if science is taught as dogma to the prepubescent, just imagine the problem created for subsequent teachers. For example, most of the university students I encounter have been taught as children that the reason clouds form when air is cooled is that cold air cannot hold as much water vapor as does warm air. When I subsequently carefully explain what is really happening, and show why the previously learned nostrum is nonsense parading as science, I can usually only convince a small fraction of the students. The rest know in their hearts that their grade-eight teacher, say, or their mother was actually right and that you are just a contrarian who is attempting to destroy the established order. The damage is done, the mind is frozen and the prepubescent dogma lasts a lifetime.
    Bruce Rosar
    "Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out." - Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1471-1530)

  15. #65
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Last post long. Relevence?

  16. #66
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Seems like the relevance is: whatever you could possibly say, someone else is going to dispute it. Bruce: I think I'll stick with the dictionary definition. I wasn't discussing common knowledge but rather decision making 101. Carry on.

  17. #67
    old and slow
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    I must confess that I ride a two mile stretch of sidewalk in my morning commute. I started bike commuting a few weeks ago and one of the problems is continuity of existing bike lanes/routes. I go 28 miles each way through 5 cities in the Phoenix Metro area (Gilbert to North Scottsdale) There's not many choices when you have to cross the Salt River from the East Valley to Scottsdale. The north side of said stretch borders the Salt River Indian Community and there is no frontage development. I've tried many routes and this by far is the safest in my mind. The bike routes between Tempe and Scottsdale are all closed and under construction at Town Lake so that forces a person to make some choices for safety. That stretch usually had cars traveling 50-80 mph with no bike lane. Why they put that nice wide sidewalk out there for noone to use is a mystery. It will connect to the most favorable route for safety for the rest of the trip. Since there are no side streets or driveways at all, I feel it is much more safe than getting squeezed. I've only seen one other person out there biking it but I also leave very early and hit this spot just after first light (less traffic and it's cool).

    Slisk
    Look 585 Campy Record, Ksyrium ES

  18. #68
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    The main idea is this: is sidewalk cycling the best way to go, or is it something people do because they feel forced off the street?

    The street belongs to cyclists. We are being robbed of the best facilities available.

    Doesn't this bother anyone?
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-26-05 at 09:44 PM.
    No worries

  19. #69
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Rosar
    The Bicycle sidepaths: crash risks and liability exposure page has links to several studies/surveys which show an higher risk for cycling on parallel paths against traffic than with traffic. The difference is due to a higher risk of accidents with other traffic while traveling opposed on sidepaths. The following excerpts are from one such study:

    The average cyclist in this study incurs a risk on the sidewalk 1.8 times as great as on the roadway. The risk on the sidewalk is higher than on the roadway for both age groups, for both sexes, and for wrong-way travel. The greatest risk found in this study is 5.3 times the average risk for bicyclists over 18 traveling against traffic on the sidewalk.
    ...
    Wrong-way sidewalk travel is 4.5 times as dangerous as right-way sidewalk travel. Moreover, sidewalk bicycling promotes wrong-way travel: 315 of 971 sidewalk bicyclists (32 percent) rode against the direction of traffic, compared to only 108 of 2,005 roadway bicyclists (5 percent).
    ...
    Even right-way sidewalk bicyclists can cross driveways and enter intersections at high speed, and they may enter from an unexpected position and direction for instance, on the right side of overtaking right-turning traffic. Sidewalk bicyclists are also more likely to be obscured at intersections by parked cars, buildings, fences, and shrubbery; their stopping distance is much greater than a pedestrian's, and they have less maneuverability.
    Risk Factors for Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions at Intersections by Alan Wachtel and Diana Lewiston, published in the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal, Sept/Oct 1994
    I have looked over the studies on these sites, and have a few comments. The one study that really meets what I would define as a scientific study is the Palo Alto study in the 1990s. They did a very good, extensive job with that one, and I would recommend people read the whole thing. But they do make a value judgement that I don't think is appropriate, and it is in the "right-way" and "wrong-way" statements for sidewalk bicycling. I've been in the safety field for a long time, and looked over many different types of codes, ordinances, rules, laws, etc. But I don't think I've ever seen one about which way to ride a bicycle, use a skateboard, or rollerblade on a sidewalk. I don't think it exists. So this "wrong-way bicycling on a sidewalk" is a misnomer. What I would have preferred that they say, and what would be more correct, would be "against traffic" and "with traffic." There are real reasons for their statistics, but I'll have to finish my thoughts after supper (I'm being called).

    John
    John Ratliff

  20. #70
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Let me describe today's bicycle rides. This is a Tuesday, and I felt pretty comfortable not trying to avoid autos today. The weather was better, and so my route home was a VC route. (Let me tell you that it took me a while to figure out what the abbreviation "VC" meant in today's cycling world. It is different from what the abbreviation meant to me, as a Vietnam Veteran, in the 1960s. So if you people would, please in your posts in the first part of a post, write out the actual words, then follow it with the abbreviation, as in "Vehicular Cyclist, (VC)" as this would make it much less confusing for some of us.)

    My route to work, which I follow each day, is an follows:

    Out my driveway, to the culdesac, to the neighborhood road, then two blocks down, to another culdesac to an entry to a bicycle path. This path goes right onto a wooden walkway by a creek, which I walked my bike through (about 100 yards) as it was still pretty wet and slick from rain yesterday. At the end of the wood walkway, there is another paved path about 6 feet wide which terminates into an uphill climb of about 10 feet to a sidewalk beside 173rd Street. I make a 90 degree turn onto the sidewalk, ride about 40 feet to the first driveway, and get onto the road (after clearing myself for traffic, I sometimes stop and wait to get onto the road). The road goes straight uphill at about a 10% climb for several hundred yards, then flattens out for half a mile to the intersection. At the intersection I now take the walkway across, as I cannot trip the light, and sometimes cars don't stop in that lane (most turn at this one to the left). I then go across the intersection, down the hill in the road to a second intersection, and turn into a large commercial parkway. It is downhill here to a furnature store, and I go onto their walkway as it is the only way onto the bicycle path that is beside their store. I take this path, cross a creek on a wood bridge, then go along side of the large highway (Highway 26) and come out on a road that goes into a shopping center intersection. Here this morning I stopped at Starbucks for a church group meeting, then proceeded through the intersection (a major one with 4 lanes one way, six the other). From here I can either stay on the road, with a good bike lane, or go to a side road (without stop lights, which actually slow me on the main road). If I go the side road, I then go about 1.5 miles to another parking lot, get on the sidewalk for about 50 yards, then back onto the bike lane and pedal to my company's parking lot.

    On the way home today, I used roads the whole way except right at the beginning, where I took the side walk. The sidewalk is separated by about ten feet from the road, and the road in this area has no bike lane. At the intersection, I cleared myself, then took a right turn onto the bicycle lane, went over the Highway 26 overpass, and turned right on Rock Creek Road (a side street). I continued on side streets, through three minor intersections, then took a right turn onto a road without a bike lane and rode with the traffic (which was light, as I was late getting home today). There is one major intersection here, and I stayed in the traffic as a vehicle. But at the light, as I went through the intersection, I steered right several feet to clear a space for the six or eight cars to pass me. Two more came onto the street behind me from the intersection, and passed me just before the road narrowed to a non-passing area (double yellow strips and no room to pass). To took the lane here (no traffic behind for more than 100 yards; one car did come up behind me and stayed behind me until I was in a wider area). The road was downhill, and my speed started at about 18 of the flat, and by the time I was at the bottom of the hill I was at 32 mph. A car passed me in a wide area anyway. The next section was uphill, but with my good speed I was still above 20 at the next light. I turned right, onto a bike lane, and rode that until I approached the next light. Here, I needed in the next block over the overpass (Cornell Road over Hw 26) to make a left turn, and so I took the left lane, to the right side of the lane (two lanes over from the bicycle lane, which disappears as a bike lane going over the overpass; but is actually a Wide Outside Lane (WOL)). That left me the second vehicle at the light, and several cars lined up behind me. When it turned I was able to match the speed of the first car toward the next light, which was still read. I was turning left, in the right side of the far right turn lane (there were two). When that light turned, I made my left turn, but made it wider than cars normally do, and took the bicycle lane in the other road (158th Ave) at the end of the turn. One block further up, I turned right onto the several side streets that lead home.

    What I've described here is pretty typical of my current riding. It incorporates main roads, side steets, bike paths, and sidewalks to make a safe ride to and from work. I make no apology for the use of the sidewalks, as they are physically separated from the roads, and inherently safer to be on. The main hazard is the driveways and intersections, and those are easily controlled by simply clearing ones self before proceeding. When I need to, I simply stop and wait. I am in no rush to either make a deadline at work, or at home. I simply want to get to and from my destination in one piece, and have a good, healthy activity too.

    As you can see, I take from all sides of the equation, and as I've mentioned before, I ride a rucumbant (long-wheel base, or LWB) which gives me a much better view of traffic both in front of me and behind me. At noon I sometimes still ride my Trek 1420 road bike, but that is for exercise and not for transportation. I have a Schwinn LeTour that I still use when I take the light rail (MAX) downtown, so I do some conventional riding. But the LWB recumbant I've found has advantages, in avoiding problems by seeing them sooner, in being lower and at eye level with drivers, and in being always in eye contact with other drivers (bicyclists on road bikes are above, looking at the ground, and having to see through the roofs of cars to see the driver (they cannot, that is)).

    I have read books on cycling, such as John Forester's Effective Cycling, which I think is a great book overall. But Mr. Forester is stuck on one area that I disagree with him on, and we cannot resolve it between us. He feels mirrors are a hazard; I was almost killed because of the lack of a mirror system. He feels that by looking in the direction you are signaling cars of your intention, and with mirrors they may not get the signal if it is only by hand. Here's what happened. I was on my Schwinn (before my recumbant days), signaling a left turn from a bike lane to go into a left turn on a slight downhill. The next thing I knew I was in the hospital an hour later. After months of figuring out what happened, the only thing that made sense was that someone pulled out in front of me, and I either tried avoiding them or (more likely) touched them and flipped upside down, landing on my head. I had not seen the car coming onto the roadway from my right at an intersection because I was looking back and clearing myself to the left. Now, my recumbant has mirrors on both handlebars (Over Seat Steering, or OSS), and I can watch both in front and behind me without moving my head.

    Well, it is late now, and tomorrow is here. Good night,

    John
    John Ratliff

  21. #71
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    I want to interject a comment here, if I could. I think we have a clear case of comparing apples to oranges. When you ride on the road, you ride in a vastly different way than when you ride on the sidewalk. Let me explain.

    To get to the conclusion that sidewalk riding is more dangerous than road riding you have to assume some things about how cyclists are riding the respective terrains. Indeed, if I am traveling 20 mph on the sidewalk, it is vastly more dangerous than riding in the road.

    To get to the conclusion that road riding is more dangerous than sidewalk riding, you also have to assume some things. For instance, if I am riding at 5-10 mph on the road where cars are going 45-50 mph, then road riding is, indeed, more dangerous than sidewalk riding.

    Serge's quote: "Of course, for someone who understand how traffic works, and rides accordingly, sidewalk cycling is no more dangerous than roadway cycling." sums it up nicely. If we ride the respective facilities at the speeds at which they were designed, then there is no real difference between the two facilities. It is only when we try to ride one like the other when we have problems. This means keeping speed up when riding on the road, and it means keeping speed down when on the sidewalk.

    BR
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  22. #72
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    For instance, if I am riding at 5-10 mph on the road where cars are going 45-50 mph, then road riding is, indeed, more dangerous than sidewalk riding... It is only when we try to ride one like the other when we have problems. This means keeping speed up when riding on the road, and it means keeping speed down when on the sidewalk.
    How much speed do you think a cyclist has to keep up on 45-50+ Mph roads to avoid the "more dangerous" problems? Do you think if a 10mph cyclist speeds up 50% or even 100% on such roads there will be any significant difference in the "problem" for the cyclist in any way shape or form? Other than getting off of such a road sooner.

  23. #73
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    ILTB,

    I have only my experience, but crusing at 17-20 mph is much safer on a 45-50 mph road than traveling at 5-10 mph. It takes less braking by cars to slow from 50 down to 30 mph than it does for them to slow from 50 down to 15 or 20. Also, since your speed differential is lower, both you and the car have more time to react or negotiate before being overtaken.

    BR
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  24. #74
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    I have only my experience, but crusing at 17-20 mph is much safer on a 45-50 mph road than traveling at 5-10 mph. It takes less braking by cars to slow from 50 down to 30 mph than it does for them to slow from 50 down to 15 or 20. Also, since your speed differential is lower, both you and the car have more time to react or negotiate before being overtaken.
    Brian,

    If your experience tells you it is safer for you, then so it is and I do not question your impressions. But why do cars only need to slow down to 30mph when stuck behind a 17-20 mph cyclist? Is there much traffic on your road?

    Personally I don't find such a relatively minor change in speed differential of any significance in either comfort or reduced risk in my daily cycling amongst 55+ mph motorists; and I suspect that if there should be a mishap, the difference in severity effects of a 35mph vis-à-vis a 40mph speed differential collision for the cyclist (me) is likely to be insignificant.

  25. #75
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Brian,

    If your experience tells you it is safer for you, then so it is and I do not question your impressions. But why do cars only need to slow down to 30mph when stuck behind a 17-20 mph cyclist?
    First I-Like-To-Bike says "...I do not question your impressions." Then, he goes right ahead and questions Brian's impressions...
    No worries

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