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  1. #1
    Are we having fun yet? Prosody's Avatar
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    Riding on Sidewalks

    An observation:

    The last time I was in Chicago I noticed a lot of people riding bicycles. Most of them, however, were riding on the sidewalks. I realize that the streets of Chicago are as close as you can come to a motorized jungle, but I wonder if the sidewalks are any better. Is street riding in a city like Chicago so dangerous that riding on crowded sidewalks is safer?

    I just may be spoiled. These days I ride in the outer suburbs of St. Louis. A fifteen minute ride from my house puts me on lightly traveled roads among corn fields (though the corn fields are disappearing rapidly).
    You're east of East St. Louis
    And the wind is making speeches.

  2. #2
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Ride the side walk only when your X girlfriend is chasing you with a 18 wheeler.
    Sick BubbleGum

  3. #3
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Sidewalks scare me. Seems like folks exiting driveways and parking lots will at least glance to see if anything is in the road, but they are already completely blocking the sidewalk waiting to get into the road before they look.

    Seems to me it's hard enough for a slow moving pedestrian to avoid these folks, let alone someone on a faster moving bicycle.

    No sidewalks for me.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  4. #4
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Cyclists ride on sidewalks because they have been misinformed or just don't know any better.

  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Sidewalks/footpaths are more dangerous than the road itself. I honestly don't know why anyone would even consider riding there.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  6. #6
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    Riding on sidewalks are for children and adults that find great fear for life and limb in sharing the street with numb cage captains. Possibly, have been to close for comfort or lost the battle for space.

  7. #7
    pnj
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    it depends on the type of riding.

    i find it funny how the adults on this and other sites seem that everyone on a bike rides like them.
    4130

  8. #8
    Are we having fun yet? Prosody's Avatar
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    Though I'd wouldn't, under normal circumstances, ride on a sidewalk, I have seen so many people in Chicago riding on sidewalks that I wonder if the roads are just too crazy. I was there in August, and everyone on a bike (that's a lot of people) was riding on the sidewalk. A couple motorists were driving on the sidewalk, too. My urban riding has been confined to St. Louis, and for the most part, that was almost twenty years ago.
    You're east of East St. Louis
    And the wind is making speeches.

  9. #9
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    I like people that ride on the sidewalks. Then I do not run into them since they are usually riding the wrong direction.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member twowheeler's Avatar
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    In my little city, riding in the downtown areas is ilegal and will get you licket. In the residential areas it is legal, but the predistrians have the right of way. I feel the sidewalks are for the the little kids who have no business in the streets (tricycles, etc.) The other riders should be in the street.

  11. #11
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    While I do agree that riding on sidewalks should be avoided, there is an area near me where I wouldn't consider riding on the street, except for, maybe early on sunday mornings. The road is 4 lanes wide, high curbs, large drainage grates, no shoulder, and heavy, fast traffic. For that area, I use the sidewalk.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  12. #12
    It's in my blood Pete Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Styk33
    I like people that ride on the sidewalks. Then I do not run into them since they are usually riding the wrong direction.
    Today (this is not the first time) a wrong-way cyclist came at me.

    As usual, I signalled left, looked behind, and took the center of the lane.

    I wish these guys would get a clue.
    Next in line

  13. #13
    pnj
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark

    Today (this is not the first time) a wrong-way cyclist came at me.

    As usual, I signalled left, looked behind, and took the center of the lane.

    I wish these guys would get a clue.
    you should have stoped the person and let them know the dangers of their ways.
    4130

  14. #14
    Almost Immortal The Rob's Avatar
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    Here in Portland, a city considered a cycling Mecca by many, I'm appalled at the number of 'cyclists' I've seen on the sidewalk and riding against traffic. There is only one patch of roadway where I take to the sidewalk, and that sidewalk is very broad with virtually no pedestrian usage, the length of perhaps a block.

    A coworker friend encountered a wrong-way rider on a narrow sidewalk on Morrison Bridge here a few weeks ago. He did his best to avoid her (Ms. Wrong-way) but they kissed handlebars and went down in a tangle. A minor bruise or two and a couple of scuffed grips shared between them but neither were permanently damaged, bikes or persons. She was very apologetic but he wasn't terribly receptive. (Interestingly enough, he mentioned that she wore a helmet. He never does. )

    -Rob
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  15. #15
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    As I said in my Werris Creek thread several months ago, much of it has to do with the way people are taught to ride these days. As a kid I was taught that a bicycle was a vehicle just like any other, and had the same rights and obligations as any other vehicle. Heck, back in the 80s, sidewalk/footpath cycling was unheard of. Werris Creek didn't even have any bikepaths. Funnily enough, drivers and cyclists got on a lot better there than anywhere else I've ever been.

    These days the approach seems to be "you are a toy, do whatever you have to do to get out of the way of the real traffic". Of course, they don't seem to care whether that means riding the wrong way on the road (some urban planners seem to think this is better because it allows you to see some of that "real traffic") or endangering pedestrians on the footpath.

    I say, to hell with all this stupid "toy bicycle" advocacy. It's all a load of crap! Give me the Werris Creek way any day.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  16. #16
    JRA
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    There seems to be no real consensis as to whether bicycles should be mixed with cars or with pedestrians. The following illustrates the confusion.

    The other day I ran across a website for the American Discovery Trail. Anyone ever heard of it? Or, better yet, ridden it? (it's new, so I don't think many people have)

    Note what they say about the route through St. Louis:
    The route then follows city sidewalks in an urban environment to Forest Park and crosses the Missouri River on the Discovery Bridge at St. Charles.
    That's interesting!

    What follows is my rant for the week.

    Nevermind that the trail passes over a bridge that, as far as I know, is still closed. The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi, I mean, not the Discovery Bridge, which is open. It is true that the Eads Bridge will supposedly be bicycle friendly when it reopens. The automobile deck is being completely rebuilt.

    Returning to the route description:
    3 AT JUNCTION WITH COMPTON, MARKET BECOMES FOREST PARK
    True. But I thought the trail was on sidewalks. Forest Park Parkway is a parkway at that point, almost a freeway. (Almost only counts in horseshoes, and the trail is only on Forest Park Pkwy for .4 miles, so we'll let that slide.)

    3.4 JUNCTION FOREST PARK & GRAND AVE, TURN RIGHT
    3.6 JUNCTION GRAND AVE & PINE BLVD, TURN LEFT

    Now that IS a sidewalk. But I'm not sure it's a public sidewalk. It's St. Louis University. Just out of curiosity, I rode this yesterday. There were students walking everywhere, 4 and 5 abreast in some cases. I wouldn't ride there if I had a choice. Riders will get to see what a Billiken looks like. (BTW, the street was not "Pine" when it was a street; it was "West Pine".) It becomes a street again at Vandeventer. It's closed at Sarah, but you can get through on a bicycle.

    5.5 JUNCTION PINE & GRAND DR IN FOREST PARK. TAKE BIKE TRAILS THROUGH PARK. STAY AT N EDGE OF PARK AND HEAD STRAIGHT W AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. EXIT PARK ONTO WYDOWN BLVD.
    BTW, West Pine and Kingshighway is one of the most dangerous intersections in St. Louis. I should know; I ride through there all the time. Warning: look out for cars running the red light.

    TAKE BIKE TRAILS THROUGH PARK. STAY AT N EDGE OF PARK AND HEAD STRAIGHT W AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. EXIT PARK ONTO WYDOWN BLVD.
    Actually, to get to the bike path right now, you have to ride through a construction site. watch out for bulldozers. But the construction should be finished soon. (BTW, the bike path dates to the 1890s)

    7.7 JUNCTION PARK TRAILS & WYDOWN BLVD
    Not a great place to turn but I guess my gripe is with the design of the path at that point. Wydown is nice but it goes somewhat in the wrong direction. If the trail went up Forsyth (100 feet to the north and going in the right direction), it could go by the Washington University campus.

    9.6 JUNCTION WYDOWN BLVD & HANLEY RD, TURN RIGHT
    Now I'm confused about "sidewalks in an urban environment". Hanley Road is one of the busiest roads in the area. It carries a ton of traffic and has narrow lanes at that point. We could have been on Forsyth, which is where we're going anyway.

    JUNCTION HANLEY & FORSYTHE RD, TURN LEFT.
    See, Forsyth. what did I tell you?
    We could have already been on Forsyth. And they spelled Forsyth wrong.

    A left turn from Hanley to Forsyth?
    That should be a good test!

    Stuff omitted
    26.6 JUNCTION CREVE COEUR MILL & EARTH CITY FREEWAY, TURN LEFT. CAUTION: BUSY 4 LANE RD, RIDE OR WALK CAREFULLY.

    Now they warn us.

    End of rant. That was fun.
    Last edited by JRA; 11-07-02 at 11:09 AM.
    "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'

  17. #17
    WallaWalla! Rotifer's Avatar
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    it depends on the type of riding.
    I agree. As with many of the situations discussed here, I do whatever it takes to save my butt - if it means riding on the sidewalk, so be it. On a side note, there was a well publicized incident in Spokane, Washington a few years ago where a cyclist struck a pedestrian on a sidewalk and killed him/her.
    Jeff

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    if i find myself travelling the wrong way on a one way street, i'll take to the sidewalk

    if traffic is particularly nasty and i cant fit through, i'll take to the sidewalk.
    i ride bikes.

  19. #19
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    Where I live 99% of the drivers feel they should run all bikers off the road. I will ride the sidewalk if I at all feel i'm safer there than on the road. In residential I always ride the road because people don't look at the sidewalk when pulling out of there drive ways. Of course i've still nearly been hit by dumb idiots pulling out without looking. I try to stay on the road at all times but sometimes the road is just to busy and to narrow and I don't feel safe so I take to the sidewalk.

    Now I don't like riding on the sidewalk. It's not smooth like the road and usually full of glass etc. I am also at risk of people turning in and out of houses,stores etc and not looking at the sidewalk but it's better than getting run over by some truck driver who will probably come as close to hitting me as possible (you know just to scare me ). I always give right of way to people walking on the sidewalk.


    One example i'd like to share is when I bike to a friends house I have to take a route that involes a few Km section that is a 2 lane each way divided highway (that goes right through the center of my city). Now there is no shoulder the speed limit is 70Km/h but most people do like 80-90 on it. The side walk is about 1-2 feet from the road depending on the section. It also gets very little use, I may see or have to go around only a handful of people the whole trip. IMHO it is much safer for me to use the sidewalk in this situation than ride the road and can be done with out endangering people walking on the sidewalk.

  20. #20
    JRA
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    Even cyclists can't agree on whether riding on sidewalks is acceptable.

    I think it's acceptable if you ride at pedestrian speeds. Riding at pedestrian speeds makes it undesireable.

    In certain rare instances I will do it.

    In the "setting an example" category, I see police ride bicycles on sidewalks all the time. (Yes, we have bicycle patrols around here. We also have mounted police (on horses) riding both on bike paths and in the street.)
    Last edited by JRA; 11-07-02 at 08:32 PM.
    "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'

  21. #21
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    I find that auto drivers all have a grudge against me for some reason or something like that. Today I pulled up to an uncontrolled intersection. I waited through, the process, and when my turn came rode through the intersection, and a car came through beside me, then another motorist... as if I had done something illegal also went through and started honking at me wildly. Granted he was pulled over by a cop, it still frustrates me. We shouldn't have to take this bs from motorists.
    -car free since early march.

  22. #22
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    I honestly don't know why anyone would even consider riding there.
    Style baby:cool:

    As pnj stated, it depends on what you are doing. Although the guys I ride with and I are avid mtb'ers every now and then we head out to the city from some street style. Rails, fountains, stairs, etc.
    Is is funny the way some of the kids look at us being that we are all over 25 and do this stuff with mtb and not street/freestyle bikes.

    Slainte

  23. #23
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Originally posted by norelec
    Where I live 99% of the drivers feel they should run all bikers off the road.
    That's a pretty high percentage. If they drive the way they feel, I suppose I'd give up the bike.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  24. #24
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Devster
    Granted he was pulled over by a cop, it still frustrates me. We shouldn't have to take this bs from motorists.
    You've just provided the solution to the problem. If you find their behaviour threatening, it's harassment. Call the cops and let them deal with it.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  25. #25
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    Well maybe not 99% but there are some damn bad drivers around here.

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