For me, there are three reasons why I don't like sidewalks. First, obviously, is that sidewalks are too narrow as I tend to stay in the center, but not to the right, due to my visual impairment.Because of the obvious, I don't have to discuss this in detail, but I can tell you this: I think the width of sidewalks are 3 feet, but it'd be nice if it's 4.5 feet in width. Second is about the cyclists and third is about motorists who don't yield the right of way to pedestrians. Just to let you know where I live, I live in Orlando, FL 32825. Currently, because I don't have a bike, I've been walking in the sidewalk.
I don't like sidewalks because of cyclists who travel through the bridge in N. Chickasaw Trail in Orlando, FL (the bridge where East/West Expressway travels through the underpass). I was quite hard pressed to know why cyclists ride in sidewalks instead of the road. Well, I [b]do[/u] wish cyclists use a bell instead of their voice for early warning, so that I can be prepared to either slow down or stop. But if early warnings are not possible because of only using loud voice, I will have trouble preparing myself to stay to the right of the sidewalk depending on the direction I go. Cyclists could use AirZound (or a similar device that could sound like a high-pitched horn), but I could be a bit freaked out. I mean, I could ask myself "is that coming from a bicycle" and I can be a bit confused. I understand if this does not seem clear to anyone here in the Bike Forum, but I can tell you one thing: I'll feel much better if cyclists use a bell instead of their voice or horn. I do want to be well prepared to stay to the right and either stop or slow down depending on how many cyclists are coming through using the sidewalk. Or better yet (man, I don't like to tell cyclists to stay off the sidewalk as it's their right to use the sidewalk if they want to), stay in the road.
Okay, I've finished with discussing my second reason for not liking sidewalks. Now here's my last reason that does not belong in the Sidewalk Bicycling thread: motorists that block the right of way for pedestrians to pass. While it may be obvious to some, let me explain:
I have provided an image of what it's like. Try to pay attention to the markings:
The Google Satellite view is outdated, so pretend there's no car coming from S. Chickasaw Trail, but I want you all to pretend there's a car blocking the crosswalk while waiting for the light to turn green. So during Wednesday of 18th of this month, I came from the grocery store and the cars in S. Chickasaw Trail gets a green light. Before I wait a minute for cars in the left and right get a green light, there was a truck blocking in the middle of the crosswalk.
Well, that is quite an embarrassment, so I waited for the next green light for S. Chickasaw Trail and I just moved in. Then a couple of cyclists come through in the sidewalk and then when I get to Valencia College Lane, when the N. Chickasaw Trail gets a red light and Valencia College Lane gets a green light, I cross the N. Chickasaw Trail street with no problem. Then, when the Valencia College Lane gets a red light and N. Chickasaw Street gets a green light, a car from eastbound of Valencia College Lane blocks the crosswalk. So because the cars in N. Chickasaw Trail gets a green light, I walked behind a car, quickly looked ahead to see if there're any cars turning right (there were none), and I quickly get back in the crosswalk and I made it safely across Valencia College Lane. Yes, I know it's dangerous and I can be patient as much as I can, but I can be annoyed by motorists who don't yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Okay, perhaps the reason to not like sidewalks due to motorists blocking crosswalks may not be so severe, as it rarely happened in Orlando, but I like to walk in sidewalk. I like to lose weight. That's what sidewalks are for, right? But when cyclists get into sidewalks, I like to walk and ignore cyclists passing me. That requires a sidewalk that is wider than 3 feet long, because like I mentioned, I had trouble staying to the right of the sidewalk. Midway to my apartment, I "half-slipped" my right foot into the grass, but I got back into the sidewalk very quickly without a fall and stayed in the middle of the sidewalk just to get back to my apartment safely. But in a 4.5' wide sidewalk, I can easily stay to the right.
But the problem is, I don't think any cities have enough resources to widen the sidewalks -- even in Orlando or Tallahassee, for that matter. In Tallahassee, if a visual impaired were to travel west in Pensacola Street to get to their apartment in Appleyard Drive, there are some places with steep downhill to the parking lots with small apartment buildings (it may look like a motel, but I didn't pay attention to the detail while traveling either east or west in the Pensacola street. Anyway, if a visually impaired travel were to stay to the right, traveling west, to let the incoming bicyclist to pass by, a visually impaired traveler may have a tendency to slip and fall to the right, into the parking lot. But for me, I know of the surroundings very well, so I'm not the one to slip off from the sidewalk.
With all the fuss I've made, I've started to feel the need to ride a bike and break free of any hassles. So, for Christmas, I'm planning to get a single-speed cruiser bike with coaster brake (as not to worry about maintaining multi-speed gears and brake cables. I can't afford to get a bike from a bike shop even though I plan to commute to Valencia Community College East or grocery store south of my apartment. Well, my budget is within $120 to $200 and I do have trouble finding a single-speed bike with coaster brake at Craigslist.com and I don't use eBay anymore. So I'm left with no choice but to buy a bike from a big department store. I don't care about bragging rights when buying a bike or having a high-quality bike for that matter, as I only care for a bike that lets me get to where I want to go, while following the Florida traffic laws and regulations that I've learned so far about a couple of months ago.
I don't want to get the wrong impression about not expecting to know the prices of bikes just by visiting bike shops as I've never visited any bike shops before and I don't have a car. I've been used to visiting the websites of department stores, but that's because I've only been looking at cheap quality bikes. I once mentioned about getting a tricycle in my introduction thread a couple of months ago, but I live in second floor of the apartment building and I won't be able to hug the trike upstairs, so I'm getting a bike instead. Plus, no tandem bikes, because I like to explore in my own. I will not let visual impairment get in my way.
Once I buy the bicycle, I plan to ride the bike in the road so I can forget about the sidewalk.
PS: I hope I don't mean to offend or hurt cyclists' feelings when I mention "bragging rights" when I talk about getting a bike from a bike shop and my thread is not my intent to hurt anyone's feelings about using sidewalks for cycling.
Update: Some say I've been using a bicycle in the sidewalk. Next time, please take all your time to read my post and break it by little by little if you have to. The last two paragraphs is about buying a bicycle so that I don't have to use the sidewalk anymore.