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Riding on sidewalks

Old 06-03-20, 04:16 AM
  #1  
Snow Dog
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Riding on sidewalks

What's the proper etiquette for riding a bicycle on sidewalks?

The reason I ask is because I generally try to stay on the road but there are certain stretches of roads that are busy and have cars parked on the side of the road. I use the sidewalk in those cases but fortunately, where I ride I only need to use sidewalks for a short distance.

Yesterday I was using the sidewalk for about a 1/8 mile stretch. A young lady walked out of an alley about 50 feet in front of me and walked toward me. I didn't have anywhere to go or time to get out of her way. We ended up passing each other in opposite directions on the sidewalk.

I felt like I was in the wrong.

I don't want to be that guy that gives cyclists a bad name. Was I out of line here?
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Old 06-03-20, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
What's the proper etiquette for riding a bicycle on sidewalks?

The reason I ask is because I generally try to stay on the road but there are certain stretches of roads that are busy and have cars parked on the side of the road. I use the sidewalk in those cases but fortunately, where I ride I only need to use sidewalks for a short distance.

Yesterday I was using the sidewalk for about a 1/8 mile stretch. A young lady walked out of an alley about 50 feet in front of me and walked toward me. I didn't have anywhere to go or time to get out of her way. We ended up passing each other in opposite directions on the sidewalk.

I felt like I was in the wrong.

I don't want to be that guy that gives cyclists a bad name. Was I out of line here?
In some locations riding on the sidewalks might be prohibited by statute. When on a sidewalk I ride next to the "land edge" unless passing pedestrians. When approaching I ring my bell and will pass using the street side whether it be a face to face OR coming up from behind interaction. I also slow down.
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Old 06-03-20, 04:44 AM
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Pedestrians have the right of way. Proceed with the knowledge that every intersection, driveway, doorway etc. is a potential day or life wrecker.
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Old 06-03-20, 04:46 AM
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Slow down and give as wide a berth as possible. I only use my bell if there is not enough room to pass safely and the pedestrians don't see me coming (from behind or looking other ways if coming towards me). I feel that sometimes ringing the bell while on the sidewalk could be taken as arrogance, like "move out of my way!".
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Old 06-03-20, 04:48 AM
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Iím the intruder when cycling on a sidewalk. I generally avoid them.

In my area they are mostly 4 or 5 feet wide. I yield to any oncoming traffic by either stopping or pulling off the sidewalk.

When 8 feet or wider thereís enough room to proceed, being alert for weirdness.

Yesterday a pedestrian was walking while texting and did not look up for about 40 feet, even when crossing a street. 🤷🏼‍♂️
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Old 06-03-20, 04:51 AM
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Where I grew up it was illegal to ride on the sidewalks. Old lady called the police on me and she never used them except to cross and get I her car. But when I was in Munich Germany I saw they have bike ways in the center of the sidewalks just for bikes. If your walking on it you can get hit. Looked like the walkway to be until I learned.
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Old 06-03-20, 05:00 AM
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Why not dismount and walk your bike for that short distance?
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Old 06-03-20, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
What's the proper etiquette for riding a bicycle on sidewalks?

I felt like I was in the wrong.

I don't want to be that guy that gives cyclists a bad name. Was I out of line here?
The sidewalk is for pedestrians. Bikers have the same obligation to walkers that cars have on roads to bikers.
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Old 06-03-20, 05:30 AM
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As noted, in some places sidewalk cycling is prohibited by law. If you are going to cycle on the sidewalk, drop down to pedestrian speeds when you encounter other users. That or dismount. If a family with kids in a double wide stroller approach, dismounting and moving off the sidewalk may be the right thing to do. Walk is the operative word in sidewalk. When you aren't walking it's your duty to have safe and courteous interactions with users who are walking.
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Old 06-03-20, 05:45 AM
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Check the rules for your locality. Most places it's wrong to cycle on the sidewalk but there are exceptions. People coming out of driveways and cross streets do not expect to encounter anyone faster than walking speed so it is dangerous for the cyclist, even if legal.
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Old 06-03-20, 05:53 AM
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Sidewalks
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Old 06-03-20, 06:02 AM
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In my opininon riding on sidewalks is OK on main streets with high traffic and without cycle lanes for children and ladies. Otherwise bicycle is a vehicle, it has to be operated on roads. Sometimes I see MTB or BMX riders on sidewalks doing some bunny hops and stunt jumps when slalloming behind pedestrians, to do them high riding skill level is needed, they can cope with traffic with that riding skill so doing stunt rides on sidewalks is completely dangerous and rude.
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Old 06-03-20, 06:27 AM
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According to some of the drivers in cars that yell at me out the window the sidewalks are where we are suppose to ride. Who knew?
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Old 06-03-20, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
According to some of the drivers in cars that yell at me out the window the sidewalks are where we are suppose to ride. Who knew?
No doubt the same gasholes who drive up and park their maintenance trucks on the MUPs....
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Old 06-03-20, 07:08 AM
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I try to avoid the sidewalk as much as i can, people give me weird look when i do which is normal considering its their right way
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Old 06-03-20, 07:20 AM
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Old 06-03-20, 07:30 AM
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I almost exclusively cycle on sidewalks. To much traffic. All the sidewalks are ramped around here.

I think this is a common sense thread?
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Old 06-03-20, 07:33 AM
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GlennR
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
I almost exclusively cycle on sidewalks. To much traffic. All the sidewalks are ramped around here.

I think this is a common sense thread?
The ramps are for strollers and wheelchairs.
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Old 06-03-20, 07:44 AM
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I will occasionally use the sidewalk when its the best option for an otherwise bicycle unfriendly situation. A typical scenario would be for me to avoid a short section of very busy road by using a sidewalk with light pedestrian occupancy, or when riding with children. If the sidewalk itself has heavy traffic, I wouldn't bother. Legal or not, I don't see this as a big deal. Its not much different than riding on a MUP or the boardwalk at the beach (which is legal here). It'a not that difficult to slow down and give pedestrians a reasonably wide berth. I don't see it as much of an inconvenience for myself or the pedestrians, nor have I ever encountered anyone who got bent out of shape about it.

Last edited by mihlbach; 06-03-20 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 06-03-20, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Orkun KnighTR34 View Post
In my opininon riding on sidewalks is OK on main streets with high traffic and without cycle lanes for children and ladies. Otherwise bicycle is a vehicle, it has to be operated on roads. Sometimes I see MTB or BMX riders on sidewalks doing some bunny hops and stunt jumps when slalloming behind pedestrians, to do them high riding skill level is needed, they can cope with traffic with that riding skill so doing stunt rides on sidewalks is completely dangerous and rude.
BMX bikes are technically bikes, but they aren't really intended for transportation, so it's harder to take the vehicle categorization seriously for a BMX bike. The very idea of BMX is to ride where bikes were not intended to go, such as on ledges and walls. Good luck convincing a BMX rider to stay off the sidewalk.
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Old 06-03-20, 08:11 AM
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My kids are nearly 5, so Iím not confident letting them ride on the street yet. When I ride with them to the local park (I usually walk while they ride) I stay in my lowest gear, ride behind them, and keep my finger on the bell. Instead of confused or scared looks, we get lots of ďisnít that cuteĒ looks.
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Old 06-03-20, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
According to some of the drivers in cars that yell at me out the window the sidewalks are where we are suppose to ride. Who knew?
Pro tip: legal advice screamed out the window from a moving vehicle is often not correct.
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Old 06-03-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
My kids are nearly 5, so Iím not confident letting them ride on the street yet. When I ride with them to the local park (I usually walk while they ride) I stay in my lowest gear, ride behind them, and keep my finger on the bell. Instead of confused or scared looks, we get lots of ďisnít that cuteĒ looks.
I ride my bike with my 4y.o. (on her own bike) on the sidewalks around our neighborhood too. We rarely exceed jogging speed, and I dismount and walk if we are passing others, and at busy intersections.

Outside of this limited scenario, I would never ride a bike on a sidewalk.
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Old 06-03-20, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Orkun KnighTR34 View Post
In my opininon riding on sidewalks is OK on main streets with high traffic and without cycle lanes for children and ladies.
Ladies?
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Old 06-03-20, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Ladies?
Well you canít let them on the roads!
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