I would say in my city the percentage of street vs. sidewalk riders is 50/50. There is little education here about proper cycling. That goes for drivers and cyclist both. I often feel the urge to talk to these sidewalk riders and try to explain the benefits of proper cycling. But i digress, many of the sidewalk riders i observe are not what i would call strong riders. Many sidewalk riders are just trudging along, spinning about 25 rpm @ 2 mph, wobbling and appear to be scared.
So, I'm stopped at a traffic light the other day, and a cyclist from the sidewalk calls out to me. He jokingly says; "better stay of the streets. Drivers here are crazy." I replied "be careful on that sidewalk. Drivers don't see you." He asked if i was scared in traffic, so i decided to pull off and have a chat.
Granted, i noticed this guy on the sidewalk as i was passing him and sized up his style of riding as very weak. I'm not really sure that i would feel comfortable trying to talk this guy into traffic. He would likely not understand how to properly position in a lane, would probably scare/piss off drivers, not obey traffic laws, and just might get hurt.
So we chat for a minute or so, and i explain to him the benefits of riding on the street vs. sidewalk. But i left him insisting that if he chose to do so, he would need to be more aggressive and aware. Essentially, i tried to paint an image that he might not like. Now, i didn't want to purposely discourage him from learning, but i don't want to put the faint of heart out there either.
Anyone else run across this?