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  1. #1
    Senior Member jimbrown's Avatar
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    Wrong way cyclist

    This morning on my way in I had to deal with a guy that was riding on the sidewalks, getting off the sidewalk if there was none and then riding the wrong way down the road. I watched him run two lights both with cars coming and get almost hit at the second light. When I caught him a little later he was back on the sidewalk so I told I thought he was stupid for riding like that. I just kept going at that point but clearly I had pissed him off. So I pull in to the shopping center to buy my lunch for the day and he comes looking for me and a fight because I said he was being stupid. This guy just wants to fight I can see it but we have a conversation I listen and I am patient while he tells me how I am going to be hit and killed before he ever is because I ride in the road.

    So then I get him to listen to one little bit of information about riding against traffic and I can see it in his eyes that he understands now. I tell him about simple physics. He is riding down the road at say 20mph and a car coming up behind him is doing 40mph. If that car hits him it will be a 20mph accident for closing speeds. But if you take the same speeds and have him riding against traffic he is now going to be hit at 60mph.

    He later came up to me in the store and thanked me for that information. I believe he listened to me about that at least. Because it was 10 minutes later and he had time to actually think about what I said. Maybe there will be one less wrong way cyclist now.

    Does anyone have a real good argument against sidewalk cycling? The standard more cyclists on sidewalks get hit then in the road does not seem plausible to the average person riding on the sidewalk. Telling them about statistics does not help because they are already set in their mind that it is safer.

  2. #2
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Generally, people don't take to kindly to being lectured at. They can get nasty and violent; so I don't bother to do so unless I am directly endangered. I am glad, in this case, that things did not escalate too far.
    1997 Mongoose Hilltopper, 1988 Bianchi Specialissima, 2006 Surly Cross-Check, 2010 Norco City Glide, 1947 CCM Single-speed.

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  3. #3
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbrown View Post
    Does anyone have a real good argument against sidewalk cycling? The standard more cyclists on sidewalks get hit then in the road does not seem plausible to the average person riding on the sidewalk. Telling them about statistics does not help because they are already set in their mind that it is safer.
    Well, you are not making my life as a pedestrian/runner any easier. For one, I may not be able to hear you coming over the traffic noise. Are you biking at walking speed (ok, fine), or 15 mph (whoa!)? On a narrow sidewalk, I'll most likely give way. If I feel like an @$$ that day, I may not.

    Arguments will come from one camp that says it makes you even harder to see by motorists legally crossing the sidewalk at driveways...especially if you're riding in the "wrong" direction. Motorists tend to look to the left. You are also more at risk for a right hook at intersections.

    Others will say that due to the narrowness of the road, bad road condition, aggressive drivers, etc., it is safer for the cyclist to be on the sidewalk.

    Note that both of these arguments concentrate on the safety of the CYCLIST on the sideWALK.

    What advantage does sidewalk cycling have to the pedestrian, for which the sidewalk was designed?

    Now, I'm ready for the flames. Please keep your flames to the material I've written, and leave out small childrens' sidewalk bikes, skateboards, wheelchairs, and skates. That's another discussion.
    Fewer Cars, more handlebars!

  4. #4
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    One of the biggest issues in cycling on the sidewalk (or a parallel, separated path) is that motorists turning into or from a driveway, alley or side street are not looking for fast movers on the sidewalk. They are looking for traffic in the traffic lanes. Anyone riding on the sidewalk has to maintain a very high level of alertness for right hooks, left hooks and pull outs. Usually easier & safer to ride in the lane.

    Funny how most of the folks saying cyclists are safer on the sidewalk are motorists wanting to go fast in the lane.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  5. #5
    Bent_Rider
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    I take it up to ramming speed, and head straight at em.

    On a recumbent, they will get a taste of my feet and spinning cranks

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    My biggest concern about wrong way and sidewalk cyclists is that they generally also ignore lights and stop signs too. They always seem to pop out when and where you least expect them at intersections. As such, I think they are one of the greatest dangers other more law abiding cyclists face. I fear them more than I do cars.

    Of course, I don't mind kids and old ladies on the sidewalk, but it's the teenage and adult goofs that really get to me. I can allow for some sidewalk cycling under some circumstances, but wrong way on a one way is always wrong.

  7. #7
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    If there is an obstruction at the intersection, the further you are from the obstruction the earlier you will be seen by crossing traffic. Sidewalks are usually more uncomfortable to ride on.

  8. #8
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longfemur View Post
    My biggest concern about wrong way and sidewalk cyclists is that they generally also ignore lights and stop signs too. They always seem to pop out when and where you least expect them at intersections. As such, I think they are one of the greatest dangers other more law abiding cyclists face. I fear them more than I do cars.
    I fear them right up there with cars....especially the ones coming right at me when there is barely room for ME. I yelled " You're on the wrong side of the street" at one today...no way to tell if it gets thru at all.
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  9. #9
    Banned. Jeronimo_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    I fear them right up there with cars....especially the ones coming right at me when there is barely room for ME. I yelled " You're on the wrong side of the street" at one today...no way to tell if it gets thru at all.
    Did you yell it in Spanish?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    There's a short portion of the highway where a lot of cyclists will ride against traffic. They're trying to get from one neighbourhood to another, one or two kilometres away. To go with traffic would have them cross the highway twice. I've had a few close calls here because these wrong-way cyclists won't stop and are sometimes riding two or three abreast. The traffic on the highway is moving at 100 kilometres an hour. Either the wrong-way cyclists will have to move into traffic or I will. So far, I've been fortunate enough to avoid accidents, but one day, someone's going to get badly hurt or killed here. (This is the only bad area for cycling in town.)

    When I've mentioned my concerns about this portion of the highway, other avid cyclists have told me it's safer to ride against traffic here than to cross the highway.
    Life is good.

  11. #11
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbrown View Post
    This morning on my way in I had to deal with a guy that was riding on the sidewalks, getting off the sidewalk if there was none and then riding the wrong way down the road. I watched him run two lights both with cars coming and get almost hit at the second light. When I caught him a little later he was back on the sidewalk so I told I thought he was stupid for riding like that. I just kept going at that point but clearly I had pissed him off. So I pull in to the shopping center to buy my lunch for the day and he comes looking for me and a fight because I said he was being stupid. This guy just wants to fight I can see it but we have a conversation I listen and I am patient while he tells me how I am going to be hit and killed before he ever is because I ride in the road.

    So then I get him to listen to one little bit of information about riding against traffic and I can see it in his eyes that he understands now. I tell him about simple physics. He is riding down the road at say 20mph and a car coming up behind him is doing 40mph. If that car hits him it will be a 20mph accident for closing speeds. But if you take the same speeds and have him riding against traffic he is now going to be hit at 60mph.

    He later came up to me in the store and thanked me for that information. I believe he listened to me about that at least. Because it was 10 minutes later and he had time to actually think about what I said. Maybe there will be one less wrong way cyclist now.
    You might have insulted him at first, but your honest desire to help won out in the end, and he listened.

    You might have saved a life.
    No worries

  12. #12
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbrown View Post
    Does anyone have a real good argument against sidewalk cycling? The standard more cyclists on sidewalks get hit then in the road does not seem plausible to the average person riding on the sidewalk. Telling them about statistics does not help because they are already set in their mind that it is safer.
    The problem is they (actually fairly reasonably) just do not believe any statistic about the dangers. Someone else mentioned that they also do not abey lights and stop signs. I would say that this is not entirely true, a lot don't but the majority do obey the signs. My first thought is forget about those who blow the signs/lights (that is different from those who still check and then go if "safe"). If they can't work out that it is dangerous flying off the side walk they are a lost cause.

    But what about the cautious sidewalk rider? First how fast are they going? If it is just a brisk walk then they ARE safe. They are still basically doing what sidewalks are designed for. So what remains? The ones who are riding too fast. Those you can talk to. Explain why it is dangerous! Basically it is they are going fast enough that they are poping up "out of nowhere" as far as drivers are concerned. If they drive you have a chance, ask them where they look when they turn into a driveway. I think this can work, but the problem is that there is not quick grabber like the closing speed issue for wrong way cycling.

    One last thought. Go with the idea that the dangers of sidewalk cycling are NOT obvious or intutive, except perhaps in hindsight. Consider the fact the it is very possible that the last person who tried to convince the sidewalk cyclist treated him like he was an idiot for riding on the sidewalk. He doesn't want more abuse any more than you would. So you have to undo the secondary issue, be friendly and even say things like "I never realized ... until someone told me".

  13. #13
    Senior Member Winter76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbrown View Post
    Does anyone have a real good argument against sidewalk cycling? The standard more cyclists on sidewalks get hit then in the road does not seem plausible to the average person riding on the sidewalk. Telling them about statistics does not help because they are already set in their mind that it is safer.
    Riding on the sidewalk (with wheels bigger than 20 inches) here is illegal so it's never been an issue.
    3 years commuting while there's no snow on the ground. 20km round trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by madfiNch
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!

  14. #14
    Senior Member tomcryar's Avatar
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    I ride on the sidewalks almost exclusively, and for quite a long time now. I've never had an accident or even a near miss. (not entirely true--i hit a low-hanging branch one time and scraped my eyeball pretty good.) I do have a big problem with people who dart on and off the sidewalk---left and right, into traffic, into oncoming traffic. These people need a wake up message, and maybe you provided that for one person. Now, what to do about the other 999,999 people who do it.......?

  15. #15
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249 View Post
    Generally, people don't take to kindly to being lectured at. They can get nasty and violent;
    Especially here on bike forums!!!

  16. #16
    livin' the nightmare syn0n's Avatar
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    Today I almost got hit by some ****** moron flying down a hill, on the sidewalk, near tall bushes, in the wrong direction. He ran a stop sign the wrong way and came within a few inches of me. He should be glad I wasn't the car behind me, because he probably would've hit it and taken a nice flight as anyone who wants to make a left has to pull out a bit to see around those bushes.

    You wouldn't drive down the wrong side of the road, so I have no idea why people think it's OK to cycle the wrong way.

  17. #17
    Member iwritegraffiti's Avatar
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    Personally, I think it's just as dangerous to yell at strangers and make fun of their intelligence as it is to ride on the wrong side of the road....... There are some crazy people out there!!!

  18. #18
    srp
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    I had this same conversation with my neighbor after I almost hit her with my car while she was riding against traffic.

    She seemd to welcome my advice.

    Most mornings on the way to work, I see this cyclist riding against traffic. He's in kit, no helmet but always has a headlight. I'd much rather see him with traffic. I ride the same road with traffic often, during rush hour with no issues.

    I'm not going to pull my car over and stop him but I think I know where he lives. I'm tempted to drop a letter in his mailbox.

  19. #19
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeronimo_ View Post
    Did you yell it in Spanish?
    Ha! That's a good point. They're probably smiling and nodding at me 'cause they can't understand a word I'm saying... No doubt some of the wrong way riders come from countries where riding against traffic is the norm.

    OK...when I say that I "yell" at people you probably have to know me to understand that I know how to yell at people and not piss them off (too much).

    I yelled at some taggers the other day and actually got a sheepish "Sorry" out of one of them. I did not get shot...but from what I'm hearing in the news lately you best think twice before letting taggers know that you think what they're doing is uncool.
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  20. #20
    Banned. Jeronimo_'s Avatar
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    You are probably not as threatening as someone my size. Even if I am being mellow, people seem to think of me as threatening to them somehow. I'm really no threat unless they square off on me.

  21. #21
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Usually I leave them alone. I figure that if they want to learn about cycling, they can pick up a book or surf the web.

  22. #22
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Usually I leave them alone. I figure that if they want to learn about cycling, they can pick up a book or surf the web.

    Is that before or after they've knocked you off your bike so that you have fallen into oncoming traffic??
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  23. #23
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    Is that before or after they've knocked you off your bike so that you have fallen into oncoming traffic??
    Have not run into any on the street since ... I can't recall the last one. I commute two to four times per week by bike and between 3500-4000 miles for the year.

    Regardless, I am willing to stop to force them out further onto the road or simply take the lane to avoid them.

  24. #24
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Regardless, I am willing to stop to force them out further onto the road or simply take the lane to avoid them.
    In the particular instance I'm referring to, we both had to stop, since there was no where else to go. That's when I took the opportunity to "educate" the person that their proper place was on the other side of the street, as to avoid that happening again.

    I live in LA. There are lotsa cars.
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  25. #25
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    In the particular instance I'm referring to, we both had to stop, since there was no where else to go. That's when I took the opportunity to "educate" the person that their proper place was on the other side of the street, as to avoid that happening again.

    I live in LA. There are lotsa cars.
    It sounds like a good time for a discussion. How did it turn out?

    -G

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