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-   -   Sidewalk bicycling (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/100823-sidewalk-bicycling.html)

jordane 01-25-13 04:15 PM

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.

Beneficial Ear 01-25-13 08:54 PM

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.

trx1 02-10-13 09:17 AM

where i live, i ride where i want....sidwalks,roads, it doesnt matter.

joetheun 02-17-13 06:24 PM

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.

PDX Reborn 02-21-13 06:54 PM

Sidewalks are nice to hop on when you get tired out and don't want to hold up traffic.

009jim 02-21-13 09:08 PM

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.

the fly 02-26-13 12:30 AM

I'd like to see some of these sidewalk only bicyclists do a century.

stonepine 03-25-13 12:03 AM

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)
36

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.
37

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.

TrailViewMount 04-10-13 02:07 AM

Cars don't go on sidewalks. So people on sidewalks are more dangerous than cars on the road?

faulknermano 04-13-13 01:05 AM

At any one point in a day I'm a pedestrian, cyclist, and driver. I regard sidewalk riding all about common courtesy and respect. It's the almost the same kind of courtesy I hope from drivers when I'm on the road, and the same courtesy I expect from cyclists or scooters or skaters when I'm walking or running on sidewalks/footpaths. (Speaking of which, skaters have the potential to be a menace to pedestrians, but they certainly can't be skating on the road.)

scaldin 04-17-13 01:20 PM

I had my first accident yesterday while riding on a sidewalk. I chalk it up to not behaving like a pedestrian; I didn't stop and look around when approaching an intersection which looked empty. I think that's the real danger, traveling on the road at normal speeds doesn't translate to sidewalks.

psi 04-22-13 07:01 AM

I think you hit the nail on the head right there, it requires quite a different riding style compared to road riding and the dangers are amplified when you don't recognize that. IMO sidewalk riding can be quite safe if you do it in an area with little pedestrian traffic and pay special attention to intersections and driveways, stopping or walking the bike when necessary. Crossing busy intersections at speed in the pedestrian lane can be a recipe for disaster because drivers are expecting slow foot traffic there. Riding on the sidewalk is not for everyone, but the plus side is that you're exposed to very little danger when you're not crossing intersections and driveways. Developing a false sense of security because of that is what gets people into trouble.

manapua_man 06-14-13 07:16 AM

I've been hit more often by cars and mopeds when on the sidewalk than by bicycles ( as a pedestrian, and bicycle hit count=0). Two times resulted in hospital stays, and one resulted in me making an impressive dent in a dumpster. I don't care if you ride on the sidewalk, just go at a reasonable pace and don't do anything stupid. In some places, its totally justified, especially in my neighborhood.

joejeweler 06-22-13 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff (Post 1087800)
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:



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:



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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff (Post 1091384)
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



Some good stuff here,.....for you practical sorts. Thought it was worth a bump. :-)

dynodonn 06-22-13 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joejeweler (Post 15771141)
Some good stuff here,.....for you practical sorts. Thought it was worth a bump. :-)


Hmmm.... and any person prefering other versions of riding a bike are considered impracticable sorts. :rolleyes:

joejeweler 06-22-13 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dynodonn (Post 15771399)
Hmmm.... and any person prefering other versions of riding a bike are considered impracticable sorts. :rolleyes:

You said that,....i didn't. :D

But i'll take my chances of walking away from any sidewalk collision over a VC rider exercizing his "right" to ride as an equal to motor vehicles.

That is just dillusion & pure fantasy, when physics is looked at and the real world fact that a LOT of motor vehical drivers are impared in some way.

When a minor scrape is counted in the statistics the same as a limp and broken body,........the risk/reward part of the equation is FUBAR! :notamused:

It doesn't matter "how" they are impared, just that you're betting your life that they're not. Not a bet in certain areas i'm willing to take.

dynodonn 06-22-13 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joejeweler (Post 15771921)
You said that,....i didn't. :D

But i'll take my chances of walking away from any sidewalk collision over a VC rider exercizing his "right" to ride as an equal to motor vehicles.

That is just dillusion & pure fantasy, when physics is looked at and the real world fact that a LOT of motor vehical drivers are impared in some way.

When a minor scrape is counted in the statistics the same as a limp and broken body,........the risk/reward part of the equation is FUBAR! :notamused:

It doesn't matter "how" they are impared, just that you're betting your life that they're not. Not a bet in certain areas i'm willing to take.


Your paranoia of impaired drivers is way overboard, since every motorist that I have encountered so far, judging by their actions, knew very well of my presence.

Stop deluding yourself into thinking that nothing good will happen to anyone riding in a manner that does not fit your personal thoughts. Proof, here I am still posting away.

joejeweler 06-22-13 09:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dynodonn (Post 15772049)
Your paranoia of impaired drivers is way overboard, since every motorist that I have encountered so far, judging by their actions, knew very well of my presence.

Stop deluding yourself into thinking that nothing good will happen to anyone riding in a manner that does not fit your personal thoughts. Proof, here I am still posting away.

"Proof, here i am posting away",.......REALLY????

I'm posting here too,.....never been hit or even been down on the sidewalk,....NOT ONCE,....and i ride in up to 3" of SNOW and ice. Schwalbe Ice Spiker and Schwalbe Winter Supreme tires take care of that.

That's NOT proof of anything except the ONE fool who may not be paying attention or is impared hasn't found you yet!

It only takes ONE,........you're NOT a CAT! :twitchy:

Drunks kill hundreds if not thousands every year ,.....and i bet most of those automobile fatalities also thought they were seen by the drunk! Being seen does not mean the drunk will have the abilty to avoid your car,....let alone your bicycle.

.....add on distracted drivers who are texting, eating, reading a paper, etc,....and the driver could very well "miss" you......VISUALLY!

Maybe not so much physically.:eek:

Add into the mix a safe, separated, and dedicated bicycle lane and i'm out on the road with you!

Sadly,....that's not the case in my location but i've been thinking of eventually moving to a more bike friendly city with bike specific infrastructure already in place. :D

Chaco 06-22-13 09:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joejeweler (Post 15772671)
"Proof, here i am posting away",.......REALLY????

http://xkcd.com/386/

dynodonn 06-22-13 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joejeweler (Post 15772671)

That's NOT proof of anything except the ONE fool who may not be paying attention or is impared hasn't found you yet!

Your paranoia is showing again...... according to your beliefs, I should have been dead years ago.

joejeweler 06-22-13 09:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dynodonn (Post 15772771)
Your paranoia is showing again...... according to your beliefs, I should have been dead years ago.

Whatever,....i'll never convince folks like you they don't stand much chance should they come into serious contact with a several ton vehicle moving at a good clip.

"My" style of riding doesn't DEPEND ON EVERY DRIVER behind you being attentive or unimpared! YOUR'S DOES!

No matter how you look at it, NOT getting hit on 40-45mph highways without a separated and designated bicycle lane involves a LOT of luck. NO bicyclist is capable of avoiding the drunk or distracted driver who swerves at the last second and creams you. NOBODY!

So great you haven't been hit, but i can assure you there is a bit of luck involved "if" it's on a high speed highway described above. To view it otherwise is just, as i described it before, dilusional.

Must be nice to have so much faith in every driver behind you......

dynodonn 06-22-13 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joejeweler (Post 15772792)
Must be nice to have so much faith in every driver behind you!

I trust them about as far as I can throw their car,like you, I've found a riding style that works for me, and that has kept me from being hit all these years.

DX-MAN 06-26-13 12:42 PM

joe...donn...give it a rest, guys. Neither of you will give the other an 'epiphany', so ride how you ride, and since you've disagreed on multiple threads, just put it to rest. And don't say "I'm trying to keep newbies from getting bad info", because they'll just get bad info about approximately six thousand OTHER things.

Wut 06-28-13 05:08 AM

I saw a couple of adults riding their bikes on the sidewalk with their kids...the kids looked under 10. To me that's okay. There are exceptions. When I see a full grown adult riding on the sidewalk however...not good.

ironwood 06-29-13 06:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wut (Post 15792094)
I saw a couple of adults riding their bikes on the sidewalk with their kids...the kids looked under 10. To me that's okay. There are exceptions. When I see a full grown adult riding on the sidewalk however...not good.

Why?


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