I'd have to say I agree with most of that advice on road cycling, but I don't think sidewalk cycling has to be an either/or proposition. If taking the sidewalks will simplify my trip or that's just what I'm in the mood to do, I will take the bike suitable for sidewalk riding. Most of the roads around here have been designed with cyclists and pedestrians as an afterthought, and there are certain spots (e.g. around highway onramps) where I believe poorly thought out infrastructure and amount of traffic creates unacceptable danger for me as a cyclist even if I do everything "right." Risk perception is all relative of course, but being a little paranoid about avoiding injury has not steered me wrong so far.
and this is what the streets are generally like in the US. in a word, terrifying for anyone not in a car. hell, it scares me even when I'm in a car. so I don't blame anyone for riding on the sidewalk. I sure wouldn't want my school-age son or daughter riding their bikes on these streets. it is far too dangerous. but yes this is what tragically passes for pedestrian and bike-friendly in the US. that traffic engineer should have been a comedian.
People around here can drive like maniacs so i stay on the sidewalk/side streets until i get out into nicer areas.
(I get the feeling some scumbags would even try to make you crash or hit you on purpose just for laughs, even if it hasn't happened yet)
It's not like those things have never happened, there really are drivers who have intentionally killed or injured cyclists or pedestrians with their cars. By the same token though, a malicious person might attempt to harm you in any number of other situations, and even staying in your house 24 hours a day is not going to eliminate that possibility.
Personally my bigger concerns are with the drivers who are just inattentive or incompetent. I do ride on the road and it's my right to, but I recognize that the chances of being killed while doing so are non-negligible even if I follow every law, make myself very visible, and ride with a well-thought-out defensive strategy.
I went for a quick ride on my cheapo bike and used all sidewalk. Coming home I turn down this nice street i like to ride down pretty fast, it passes my old elementary school. I hop onto the road and what are the odds that then some jerk decides to start honking and nearly clip me?
I've noticed that the neighborhood you're in really matters, as soon as i get to the nicer areas there are less and less crazy drivers.
Some of them even wait for you to go! Wow! And once as a i was walking across a street, some BMW actually BACKED up out of the crosswalk (Pasadena) i was in shock!
Ride through some industrial cities and sure enough it was the first time i ever got yelled at, totally saw that one coming
Last edited by Astrozombie; 10-25-12 at 03:52 AM.
It's sort of academic here in Georgia. According to state law, a bicycle is a vehicle with all the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle. It is against the law to operate a vehicle on a sidewalk in this state, even in Atlanta (LOL).
I live in Phoenix, Arizona. My whole life i thought the place to ride a bike was the sidewalk. There was even one instance in which I was mad that there was a cyclist in the lane but i moved over to the next lane to pass. When I bought a cheap bike a year ago i was riding on the sidewalks because here in phoenix I have only seen about 2 or 3 max people riding on the road and it seemed dangerous to me at the time because drivers in Phoenix can be pretty bad. Then I started saving money to upgrade to a bike from an LBS but to justify my purchase I started reading on these forums to learn as much as I could. Once I bought a new bike I started riding my bike on the road where it felt safe to do so. I have been getting better at riding on the road and gaining confidence.
I hate people who ride on crowded sidewalks esp the people who roll 10+ mph.
In Pittsburgh we have some fun hills to bike on. There is one moderately steep and long uphill on a major corridor I can't avoid on my way back from work without going far out of my way where I do ride on the sidewalk.
It's slower, bumpier, more tiring, and requires weaving around pedestrians and obstacles. And when the uphill flattens out temporarily you can't ride at the speed you want, and you have to approach intersections very slowly because cars don't see you very well. That, and in business districts (I go through a very short one on the climb) it is illegal. I absolutely agree with the general guidance that riding in the street is safer (just get a good rear blinker!).
But here's the thing, I think if you're in lane with real car traffic and can't move at, say, half their speed for an extended period (20 seconds or more) then the chance of something really bad happening to you either due to driver inattention, dangerously close passing, or outright road rage ceases to be negligible. So I try REALLY try to avoid that.
More bike lanes going uphill please!
from personal experience, besides being more dangereous to ride on sidewalks, I learned it the hard way as I was pulled over by a cop car for getting on the sidewalk one morning.
The road I get on is right by the busiest highway on Long Island and often there are no peds walking so stupid me trying to avoid fighting all the cars on the service road I got on the sidewalk and was pulled over within minutes. The police checked my ID and everthing while I stood and gave me a ticket to appear in court for a fine of $35 (they even said can't just send in the fine rather must appear in court).
Fortunately days before my court date I got a letter from the court dismissing my offense, I guess since I was a first time offender.
But NEVER again will I ride on the sidewalk!
im a teenager and i ride my bike to school and my mom makes me ride on the sidewalks. ive almost gotten hit plenty of times from just crossing the street. a driver was turning and almost hit me while i was crossing the street and she got mad at me. yelled at me through her windows like it was my fault. i obviously had the right of way. the best part is there was a commuter who was fixing a flat on the corner and when i got there he said "theyre just all ******** huh?"
anyways, ive ridden in the street a couple of times and felt much safer, despite no bike lane. though i ride probably just over 10mph on the sidewalk, id love to be able to actually ride at a decent speed in the street. honestly, cars are gonna be a danger no matter where i ride, whether it be in the street or on the sidewalk so i may as well be in the street where they can actually see me right?
now another thing is there are some people stupid enough to no move over to the edge of the sidewalk, which results in me narrowly missing them (including one of my teachers) i honestly feel like a threat to pedestrians because i am. though i am young and drivers in los angeles are notoriously terrible, it would safer to just ride in the streets; however my attempts to persuade my mother have all resulted in failure.
I hit the sidewalks sometimes... legality aside - sometimes its safer to get off a too busy street.
When im on them, though, I ride good and slow, except for when i'm in the burbs and there is no ped traffic.
>>>goal - 25 miles in one hour<<<
where i live, i ride where i want....sidwalks,roads, it doesnt matter.
Here in Tucson, it is illegal to ride a bike with wheels larger that 16 inches on a sidewalk unless it is a path designated for bike travel. We have here some very nice paths for bikes and peds. I have started to avoid parts of them because of the crazy and unpredictable congestion of walkers, skaters, dogs on leashes, dogs without leashes, strollers, joggers, fast bikes, slow bikes, wobbly kid's on bikes, you get the picture. I much prefer the uniformity and general predictability of car traffic with or without a bike lane. Also to use a regular sideWALK to ride a bike, to me, is just stupid for many of the reason sited in previous post. Sidewalks are just not designed for bike travel unless you ride at a pedestrian pace and then what's the point of being on a bike.
Sidewalks are nice to hop on when you get tired out and don't want to hold up traffic.
How about this comparison:- Case A cycling AFRAP and a bus or lorry overtakes you - obviously a lot less risk of being killed if you were on the sidewalk. Case B taking the lane and same bus or lorry right behind you - one mistake and you get killed. Much safer on the sidewalk. Difficult to understand the logic or the motives of anyone who would suggest it is safer on the street than the sidewalk.
I'd like to see some of these sidewalk only bicyclists do a century.
I see no problem with this when the bicycle is travelling at a very low speed. Why it should be treated any different to a mobility scooter is a farce.
This is the legal standpoint of those in Britain. So upto 8mph is what I do going up very steep hills etc. Why be climbing a hill at 6mph going a 20% of the road speed. If you cannot keep up to a reasonable extent why risk yourself.
Powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters (36 to 37)
(Called Invalid Carriages in law)
There is one class of manual wheelchair (called a Class 1 invalid carriage) and two classes of powered wheelchairs and powered mobility scooters. Manual wheelchairs and Class 2 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 4 mph (6 km/h) and are designed to be used on pavements. Class 3 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 8 mph (12 km/h) and are equipped to be used on the road as well as the pavement.
When you are on the road you should obey the guidance and rules for other vehicles; when on the pavement you should follow the guidance and rules for pedestrians.
Last edited by stonepine; 03-25-13 at 12:04 AM. Reason: Spelling