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Old 05-09-05, 02:13 AM   #101
Bruce Rosar
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Originally Posted by JRA
I've been cycling regularly both for transportation and for enjoyment for nearly 50 years.
Me too!
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I've ridden on roads of virtually every description, on sidewalks, sidepaths, trails and just about everywhere else.
Same here.
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Originally Posted by JRA
What I'd like to know is what scientific or semi-scientific basis there is (if any) for believing that sidewalk riding is dangerous.
Quote:
Sidewalk Bicycling Safety Issues
Lisa Aultman-Hall and M. F. Adams, Jr.
TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1636, Paper No. 98-0645

The use of sidewalks by bicyclists is a contentious issue. On the one hand, researchers have repeatedly found that incident rates are higher on sidewalks (1–3). However, on the other hand, the subjective perception of many bicyclists and nonbicyclists is that cycling away from traffic is safer (4,5). For this and other reasons, many cyclists choose to bicycle on the sidewalk.
...
Bicycle route and safety data sets for 2,963 commuter cyclists in Ottawa and Toronto, Canada, containing cyclist characteristics, collision and fall history, and regular commute route, are used for this analysis. Previous analyses found sidewalk collisions and fall and injury rates significantly higher on sidewalks than on roads or paths.

Of the 52 events reported on sidewalks, none were reported to police and would, therefore, not be found in a police accident database. These events did result in injuries, and in two cases major injuries.
...
Sidewalk cyclists reported proportionally more near misses with bicycles in the previous month. A relatively large number of sidewalk collisions are with other bicycles. The most significant result of the analysis is that sidewalk cyclists have higher event rates on roads than nonsidewalk cyclists.

Last edited by Bruce Rosar; 05-09-05 at 02:21 AM. Reason: Fix name of first author and make them both mixed case
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Old 05-09-05, 05:35 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Bruce Rosar
Sidewalk Bicycling Safety Issues
Lisa Aultman-Hall and M. F. Adams, Jr.
TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1636, Paper No. 98-0645
Thanks for posting that. It confirms what I've suspected. The biggest hazard is other cyclists.

Seriously, some interesting conclusions:

Quote:
"It is possible, based on the results in Table 4, that sidewalk cycling is not inherently more dangerous, but that those who use sidewalks are less skilled cyclists. Further investigation is required..."
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"It is reasonable to suggest that more experienced cyclists are more comfortable with vehicular traffic or have learned by experience where the hazards exist. Whatever the reasons, sidewalk cyclists should not simply be taught that sidewalk cycling is dangerous and should, therefore, be discontinued. Attempts to teach cyclists effective cycling skills should be considered."
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Old 05-09-05, 09:50 AM   #103
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I don't care what your scientific reasoning is. The fact remains - If I ride in the street going down Ames Blvd, I am going to get hit. There is no two ways about it. Since there are only two or three intersecting streets on that long, narrow, hazardous boulevard, it is incredibly safer for me to take the sidewalk. The same applies for Lapalco blvd. Most other streets are safer on the shoulder of the road or in the road itself, but every street is different and your "scientific" studies are obviously not taking that into account.
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Old 05-09-05, 12:17 PM   #104
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I don't care what your scientific reasoning is. The fact remains - If I ride in the street going down Ames Blvd, I am going to get hit. There is no two ways about it. Since there are only two or three intersecting streets on that long, narrow, hazardous boulevard, it is incredibly safer for me to take the sidewalk. The same applies for Lapalco blvd. Most other streets are safer on the shoulder of the road or in the road itself, but every street is different and your "scientific" studies are obviously not taking that into account.
Some busy roads with long distances between junctions (including driveways) and narrow outside lanes can be quite unpleasant for cycling. I believe these roads would be better for cycling with wider outside lanes, so that drivers would have an easier time passing safely. Wider pavement in the form of shoulders or bike lanes accomplish the same thing, but tend to accumulate debris.

I encounter some busy narrow roads like these, but I don't ride on the sidewalks. If I am going to avoid such sections of roadway, I prefer to avoid the corridor altogether. I find that when I start using sidewalks for any reason, I encounter greater frustration and annoyances than if I remained on the roadway or took a different road. And I certainly don't want the government trying to force me to use the sidewalk.

Transportation consultants for our city estimated that about 85% of the cycling miles here were cycled by self-described "avid" road cyclists who stick to the roadways. We don't know what percentage of the remaining 15% were cycled on sidewalks, but we do know that sidewalk cycling in general is way overrepresented in the car-bike crash data, with contra-flow sidewalk cycling being the major culprit. Yes, it's possible for a skilled cyclist to ride reasonably safely on a sidewalk, but I find this task to be so frustrating, inconvenient, and slow, in order to compensate for all of the hazards, that I won't do it.

-Steve Goodridge
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Old 05-09-05, 01:47 PM   #105
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Here is an interesting quote from page 92 of the Georgia Driver's Manual, 2003:

"In Georgia, as in other states, most accidents occur during daylight hours on straight, dry roads, typically near intersections or driveways."

Since sidewalks complicate intersections and create many, many more intersections with driveways, it's not suprising sidewalk cycling produces more crashes.
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Old 05-09-05, 04:02 PM   #106
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Since I'm a pedestrian today, will you sidewalk riders please tell me to get the heck out of your way when you're coming?

In turn, I'll be glad to tell you where to go.
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Old 05-09-05, 04:09 PM   #107
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I know that the sidewalk is a pedestrian's domain. I ride on the sidewalk only on low-pedestrian-traffic streets. On the off chance there is someone walking (or more often, riding their bike) on the sidewalk and I need to pass them, I take the grass and let them have the pavement until I pass them.

It's not a matter of whether you should ride on the sidewalk or not. It's knowing WHERE to ride, under WHICH circumstances to ride, and HOW to ride in any given situation. More often than not I'm in the street, following vehicular traffic laws. But on certain avenues (ones without many intersections, driveways, or pedestrians where the street is hazardous but an alternative route is impractical) it just makes more sense to take the sidewalk, and that is what I do.
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Old 05-09-05, 05:41 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by eubi
Since I'm a pedestrian today, will you sidewalk riders please tell me to get the heck out of your way when you're coming?

In turn, I'll be glad to tell you where to go.


ditto for cars vs bikers
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Old 05-09-05, 06:14 PM   #109
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"Since I'm a pedestrian today, will you sidewalk riders please tell me to get the heck out of your way when you're coming?"

In turn, I'll be glad to tell you where to go.

ditto for cars vs bikers
Same sentiment, different context.
Cyclists have the same right to the roadways as do car drivers.
Cyclists do not have the same right to the sidewalk as do pedestrians.

Cyclists belong on the roads.
Cyclists do not belong on the sidewalks.
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Old 05-09-05, 06:17 PM   #110
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I will ride on a sidewalk vs using a narrow road with no shoulder that has lots of 35 to 55 mph traffic, if the total distance is relatively short and if the alternative of "taking" the lane leads to issues with the semi-trucks, etc...

Unfortunately, with commuting - your road options can be limited.

I do slow down on the sidewalk and realize that the danger is high....
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Old 05-09-05, 07:23 PM   #111
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If the danger of a sidewalk is the obstacles (cited earlier), then mountain biking should be banned for obstacles on trails . If the problem with riding on sidewalks is that there are more conflict potentials with cars, then caution is advised. Let's face it, if you want to ride like a maniac, you will find problem on either roads (with or without lanes) or sidewalks. So far as bicycles not "belonging" on the sidewalk because pedestrians have ROW, perhaps we could encourage more people to become pedestrians to make this a reality where I live. Here, people drive everywhere. At noon we have some people walking, but not very many (half a dozen or so). Today, because of weather, the sidewalks were empty (which is normally the case). So saying that bicycles don't "belong" on a sidewalk sometimes is not valid either. I look at miles of empty sidewalks, and say, why not use them when appropriate. Today was one of those days (steady rain, cars in a hurry, limited visibility because of rain and mist on the road). I rode my route four times today, and the last one I rode slightly different, using a back road and sidewalk to avoid autos.

John
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Old 05-10-05, 04:51 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
If the problem with riding on sidewalks is that there are more conflict potentials with cars, then caution is advised. Let's face it, if you want to ride like a maniac, you will find problem on either roads (with or without lanes) or sidewalks.
Yes, the problem with riding on sidewalks is that there are more conflict potentials with cars.
Caution is good advise, and I don't have a problem with cautious sidewalk cycling where pedestrian use is low to none. But cautious sidewalk cycling is very slow, and hardly useful for trips of any significant distances.

It's not about riding like a maniac. Cruising at 15-25 mph on the roadways is perfectly safe and not maniacal at all; the top-end for cautious sidewalk cycling is probably around 8 mph, and must be significantly lower in many places (like driveway, alley and major intersection crossings).

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Old 05-10-05, 08:44 PM   #113
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But cautious sidewalk cycling is very slow, and hardly useful for trips of any significant distances.
This is true but, for some cyclists, it's irrelevant. Riding at low speeds is plenty useful for their purposes because they only want to go short distances.

I'm thinking specifically of college students that I see riding on sidewalks. The choice for some of them is not between riding on the sidewalk or riding in the street; the choice is between riding on the sidewalk and not riding at all.

On the sidewalks I'm thinking about there aren't many driveways so that's irrelevant, too. About the only pedestrians they're likely to encounter are their apartment mates or neighbors who are making the same trip they are. Most of the apartments are pretty close to the school so the trips are short.

One of these sidewalks is along a road that was part of my commute for many years. I always rode in the road but I certainly understood why students appeared to prefer riding on the sidewalk. In fact, I think it's a good choice for them. I doubt that putting those same cyclists on the road without first educating them would make them any safer. And I doubt that many of them would have much interest in education. They have limited goals - like getting from their apartment to class without walking. Riding on the sidewalk is effective for them. Even at low speeds, riding a bicycle is more effective than walking.

Education is likely to be a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. These riders are quite content riding at low speeds. All that preventing them from riding on the sidewalk is likely to do is to get them to stop riding entirely.
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Old 05-11-05, 04:36 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by JRA
This is true but, for some cyclists, it's irrelevant. Riding at low speeds is plenty useful for their purposes because they only want to go short distances.

I'm thinking specifically of college students that I see riding on sidewalks. The choice for some of them is not between riding on the sidewalk or riding in the street; the choice is between riding on the sidewalk and not riding at all.

On the sidewalks I'm thinking about there aren't many driveways so that's irrelevant, too. About the only pedestrians they're likely to encounter are their apartment mates or neighbors who are making the same trip they are. Most of the apartments are pretty close to the school so the trips are short.

One of these sidewalks is along a road that was part of my commute for many years. I always rode in the road but I certainly understood why students appeared to prefer riding on the sidewalk. In fact, I think it's a good choice for them. I doubt that putting those same cyclists on the road without first educating them would make them any safer. And I doubt that many of them would have much interest in education. They have limited goals - like getting from their apartment to class without walking. Riding on the sidewalk is effective for them. Even at low speeds, riding a bicycle is more effective than walking.

Education is likely to be a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. These riders are quite content riding at low speeds. All that preventing them from riding on the sidewalk is likely to do is to get them to stop riding entirely.
Sounds good to me.

Vehicular cycling works for just about any one, but is particularly useful for cyclists who make trips of significant length. For short trips such as you describe, the advantage of VC over sidewalk cycling becomes negligble.

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Old 05-14-05, 03:07 AM   #115
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I used to be much against sidewalk riding and much for sharing the lane if it's wide enough or taking the lane if it's not.

However, I have recently been corrected and found out it is illegal in Florida for a vehicle to pass another vehicle in the same lane. This makes "white lining" or "filtering" illegal no matter how wide the lane, but under state law a bicycle can travel on the sidewalk as a pedestrian. So, what I do now, when I come on an intersection controlled by a light and I'm going to have to wait more than one light cycle if I take the lane, is I get on the sidewalk and ride through the intersection as a pedestrian, then get back on the road as a vehicle. A completely legal maneuver under state law, as long as there is no local ordinance barring sidewalk riding.

Share the road, not the lane.
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Old 05-14-05, 08:42 AM   #116
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Are you certain about that? In Louisiana there is a similar law, but it says that you must dismount the bike and walk on the sidewalk to be considered pedestrian. Nobody around here enforces bicycle laws anyway, unless you inconvenience a car some way or another.
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Old 05-14-05, 09:36 AM   #117
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Yes, I'm sure. This is from just one applicable chapter.

Title XXIII
MOTOR VEHICLES Chapter 316
STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL
316.2065 Bicycle regulations.--

(10) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

(11) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

http://www.flsenate.gov/statutes/ind...316/ch0316.htm

Pretty interesting site. Covers all the state ordinances.
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Old 05-14-05, 01:21 PM   #118
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While sidewalk riding is not a great idea, there are times when it seems like the safer option, e.g. when there is heavy auto traffic and no bike lane or there is a bike lane but its blocked by construction. In Livermore in front of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car on 3569 lst Street, where the sidewalk meets a wide commercial driveway, there exists perhaps the worst sidewalk defect I have ever seen. There are two sidewalk panels separated by an expansion joint that have tented up into a V, at a sharp enough angle to launch a cyclist into outer space. Half of this tented sidewalk is badly cracked. In Sept. 04 a fellow riding a mountain bike on a dry, clear and sunny day at 10 mph against traffic on the sidewalk was heading towards it, but did not see it because it was not marked off by paint, and probably looked flat from a distance. As he got closer, he arguably should have seen it, but he got distracted by something -- maybe he was scanning for cars exiting the driveway from his left, or entering it from his right. What we do know is that he rode over the defect unawares without slowing or bracing, got launched and landed on his right side, fracturing his skull, collarbone, ribs and other bones and severely damaging his brain. He has amnesia for a period of time including the fall, so he can't remember exactly how the incident occurred. He was found face down off his bike on the other side of the defect. He claims he had no choice to ride against traffic on the sidewalk, because the bike lane on the other side of the road terminated at the highway overpass, and it was too dangerous to ride with the cars on the overpass. The Livermore police blamed him competely for not slowing as he approached the sidewalk defect, and noted in the report "no unusual conditions." Yet, isn't Livermore to blame for allowing the sidewalk to become incredibly dangerous, leaving it that way for what must have been a very long time and not bothering to buy a $2 can of high visibility marker paint? Livermore will argue "yes, the sidewalk was dangerous, but the defect was open and obvious, and you shouldn't have been riding there anyway." I checked the bike laws of various cities on the web, and it turns out Livermore bans bikes from sidewalks in commerical areas and tells cyclists never to ride against traffic on a sidewalk. Does this absolve Livermore, or any other city, from ignoring dangerous sidewalk defects? What if 3 or 5 or 10 shop owners bording the lot behind Enterprise complained to Livermore and asked them to fix the sidewalk before this man got so horribly and irreversibly injured? What if 3 or 5 or 10 residents of nearby homes did? If we had a jury of 12 cyclists, how would they split the fault -- would it be 100/0, 90/10, 80/20, 70/30, 60/40 or 50/50? This case raises some tough legal issues, but also some policy questions. Can a city legally prohibit cyclists from using their sidewalks, even if they don't provide a safe bike lane on the opposite side of the road? Is a city immune, or vitually immune, from liability for practically killing a cyclist, when he gets hurt encountering an "open and obvious" sidewalk defect that has sat there for a long time and never been repaired, marked off or attended to by the city? I'm very curious as to what other cyclists think?
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Old 05-14-05, 01:54 PM   #119
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this is kidna wierd cause on 164th in vancouver the bike path is the side walk there is no bike lane or anything on the road and the far right lane is always a turn lane... on this stretch i always use the cross walk single and stop at every intersection... i dont like it but they dont have anything better to ride as this is a very busy street and not about to ride my bike in the middle lane i would die liek in 5 mins of riding out there
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Old 05-14-05, 01:59 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harveyhyman
While sidewalk riding is not a great idea, there are times when it seems like the safer option, e.g. when there is heavy auto traffic and no bike lane or there is a bike lane but its blocked by construction. In Livermore in front of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car on 3569 lst Street, where the sidewalk meets a wide commercial driveway, there exists perhaps the worst sidewalk defect I have ever seen. There are two sidewalk panels separated by an expansion joint that have tented up into a V, at a sharp enough angle to launch a cyclist into outer space. Half of this tented sidewalk is badly cracked. In Sept. 04 a fellow riding a mountain bike on a dry, clear and sunny day at 10 mph against traffic on the sidewalk was heading towards it, but did not see it because it was not marked off by paint, and probably looked flat from a distance. As he got closer, he arguably should have seen it, but he got distracted by something -- maybe he was scanning for cars exiting the driveway from his left, or entering it from his right. What we do know is that he rode over the defect unawares without slowing or bracing, got launched and landed on his right side, fracturing his skull, collarbone, ribs and other bones and severely damaging his brain. He has amnesia for a period of time including the fall, so he can't remember exactly how the incident occurred. He was found face down off his bike on the other side of the defect. He claims he had no choice to ride against traffic on the sidewalk, because the bike lane on the other side of the road terminated at the highway overpass, and it was too dangerous to ride with the cars on the overpass. The Livermore police blamed him competely for not slowing as he approached the sidewalk defect, and noted in the report "no unusual conditions." Yet, isn't Livermore to blame for allowing the sidewalk to become incredibly dangerous, leaving it that way for what must have been a very long time and not bothering to buy a $2 can of high visibility marker paint? Livermore will argue "yes, the sidewalk was dangerous, but the defect was open and obvious, and you shouldn't have been riding there anyway." I checked the bike laws of various cities on the web, and it turns out Livermore bans bikes from sidewalks in commerical areas and tells cyclists never to ride against traffic on a sidewalk. Does this absolve Livermore, or any other city, from ignoring dangerous sidewalk defects? What if 3 or 5 or 10 shop owners bording the lot behind Enterprise complained to Livermore and asked them to fix the sidewalk before this man got so horribly and irreversibly injured? What if 3 or 5 or 10 residents of nearby homes did? If we had a jury of 12 cyclists, how would they split the fault -- would it be 100/0, 90/10, 80/20, 70/30, 60/40 or 50/50? This case raises some tough legal issues, but also some policy questions. Can a city legally prohibit cyclists from using their sidewalks, even if they don't provide a safe bike lane on the opposite side of the road? Is a city immune, or vitually immune, from liability for practically killing a cyclist, when he gets hurt encountering an "open and obvious" sidewalk defect that has sat there for a long time and never been repaired, marked off or attended to by the city? I'm very curious as to what other cyclists think?

thats wierd somethign like this happend to my mom she fell by triping on a sidewalk. It looked like she got the crap beat out of her in the end she sued the city for the sidewalk being like that and won like 10k or something but after lawyer fees and taxes she got abotu 4k but hey it still paid for the medical bills and such... and she got some extra money.. it think this guy should sue what the police say and what happens in a civil court is kinda 2 diffrent things last time i rember its up to a judge or jury to let u know whos fault it is not some cop...
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Old 05-15-05, 12:38 AM   #121
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I don't know anything about Law over there, but in the U.S. Litigation in Civil Court against the city would definitely be the way to go.
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Old 05-16-05, 05:41 PM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick burns
"NJ law states that bicycles are vehicles and have both the rights and responsibilities of any other vehicle on the road. Bicyclists must respect the laws as they apply to the rules of the road, and motorists must respect their right to be there."

This, though off topic, was worth the search for me too, since I've been wondering about it due to the recent bike lane threads:

"While they should keep to the right, cyclists are not required to use shoulders or bike lanes at all times. They may use any portion of the roadway, particularly if they need to turn."
The rules are roughly the same in Massachusetts, I have believed but do not know, that this prohibits the use of bicycles on the sidewalk, since other forms of vehicles, mini-bikes, go karts etc. are prohibited. It is also true that Dean Kamen had to get the state legislature in most of the 50 states to specifically allow the use of the Segway on the sidewalk since most of the states prohibited the use of "vehicles" on the sidewalk.

Regarding the danger or lack of same of riding a bike on the sidewalk, many of the posters have debated the statistics the risk analysis etc. but in order to truly compare studies the type of cycling needs to be evaluated. Clearly if the bike is operating at near pedestrian speeds then the risk would probably approach that of a jogger. If you like it fast and furious then I'm with the folks on the street. I'm in the second crowd.
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Old 05-17-05, 08:56 AM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRA
I'm beginning to think there no more truth in the idea that riding on the sidewalk is dangerous than there is in the opposite accepted wisdom - that riding in traffic is dangerous. There are potential hazards in riding either place but, personally, I don't think riding a bicycle either place is anywhere near as dangerous as some people would have us believe.
This is part of my daily commute.

http://www.westendimprovements.com/i...f/existing.pdf

Going to work I deal with a 4 lane traffic circle, complete with tunnels and oddly angled intersections. Problem here is that the circle is very poorly designed for cars, and bikes and peds. Leaving work -- I cannot compete safely with cars going on 19 to west carson, so I go from south street to 60, cross at the west side of the bridge and walk down 90 feet of steps.

I can use the ramp on the way to work, if I wait I will get a 1.5 minute break in traffic that allows me to spin up the 130 yard ramp. The plan flor improvement looks better to a point. But there still looks like there will be steps involved. If I go the road way I am trapped in by 2 narrow lanes of killing speed traffic.

Another point in my ride I have a 1.5 mile section where I ride a cemetary sidewalk with only 2 driveways. I know that the stats say to look out for sidewalk riding--but I say look out for the driveways and cars.

I did see a bike get hit in boston. He was riding on the sidewalk and a delivery truck came from behind and turned in front of him. He should have been in the street.
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Old 05-17-05, 09:56 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Bruce Rosar
During daylight hours, I find that a rear view mirror helps to maintain my comfort level by reducing the "pucker factor" of a surprise pass (in the dark, the glow from their headlight provides the notification). Another practice that improves my comfort is keeping some usable pavement to the outside of my line of travel (for those once in a decade occasions when a passing driver goofs and returns to their original path before they're clear of my vehicle).
"Goofs" . . . whoops, sorry, you're dead.
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Old 05-17-05, 09:59 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by slagjumper
This is part of my daily commute.

http://www.westendimprovements.com/i...f/existing.pdf

Going to work I deal with a 4 lane traffic circle, complete with tunnels and oddly angled intersections. Problem here is that the circle is very poorly designed for cars, and bikes and peds. Leaving work -- I cannot compete safely with cars going on 19 to west carson, so I go from south street to 60, cross at the west side of the bridge and walk down 90 feet of steps.

I can use the ramp on the way to work, if I wait I will get a 1.5 minute break in traffic that allows me to spin up the 130 yard ramp. The plan flor improvement looks better to a point. But there still looks like there will be steps involved. If I go the road way I am trapped in by 2 narrow lanes of killing speed traffic.

Another point in my ride I have a 1.5 mile section where I ride a cemetary sidewalk with only 2 driveways. I know that the stats say to look out for sidewalk riding--but I say look out for the driveways and cars.

I did see a bike get hit in boston. He was riding on the sidewalk and a delivery truck came from behind and turned in front of him. He should have been in the street.
Just noticed this thread. Thank you. This is exactly what I'm arguing in the "attitude" thread. Namely, that sometimes riding off the street is the best vehicular option for a bicycle. Not as a rule, but as an exception. And we as vehicular cyclists need to make full use of the exceptions.
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