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Daughter wants to bike home from school on the left side sidewalk.

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Daughter wants to bike home from school on the left side sidewalk.

Old 03-18-21, 05:25 PM
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burritos
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Daughter wants to bike home from school on the left side sidewalk.

On my days off I'll bike with my daughter to school. Been doing this since she was in 2nd grade, she's now in 6th grade. It's always been a fun bonding period. On the way home there is a stretch of road where it's uphill for about a mile. Average is about 3-4% grade. Nothing crazy but I concede that it takes a decent effort for a 55 pounder biking a 20 lb bike. Initially she'd have to stop a few times, but as she has grown and built up endurance she can do the whole length. Her issue is that she heats up and the left side of the street has all the trees and shading that still makes the trip home enjoyable for her. For whatever reason over the years, foot traffic has increased. So 50% of the time we have get off the sidewalk(it's narrow), ride through the landscape that separates the sidewalk and the street, and then start salmoning up the wrong side of the road. Speed limit is 35 mph but cars go down that road at around 50mph. There's a bike lane, but the road is one lane and feels narrowish especially 50mph cars going by you downhill. Not the safest situation especially if another bike comes down the pike. If we go up the left side, everything is hunky dory. If I force the issue about going up the right side(explaining the safety issue), the enjoyable bike ride home becomes snowflake/gen z drama torture. Force the issue right. I mean better to be hated than to be dead right?
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Old 03-18-21, 05:37 PM
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Is it possible to find a different route that is safer, more enjoyable, and offers more shade? When I commute, I ride a route that is several miles longer for these reasons (and a few more).
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Old 03-18-21, 05:37 PM
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If she's on the sidewalk, then she's not in the road, and which side she's on doesn't matter. Almost by definition, sidewalks aren't directional.
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Old 03-18-21, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Is it possible to find a different route that is safer, more enjoyable, and offers more shade? When I commute, I ride a route that is several miles longer for these reasons (and a few more).
This is the shortest path and it has the most trees. Deviating from this path is triggering.
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Old 03-18-21, 05:46 PM
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If you are talking about on the road with vehicles, then cyclist should definitely act like vehicles and ride on the correct side going the same direction as other vehicles. When something is going the wrong way against traffic, it makes it hard to know what to expect.

I think I've even seen NHTSA's publications and others that show higher accident rates for bicycle and vehicles where the bicycle was traveling against the traffic. Between a car and a bike you know who will have the most injuries regardless or right or wrong.

Sidewalks and MUPs whatever is the publish guide. Though many don't publish it in obvious places. Even on our MUP, eventually you have cyclist, walkers, runners and joggers come together at the same place and time. If they are all on the same side for their direction of travel, then it all goes well. When one is doing their own thing, it's a dangerous place to be.

Last edited by Iride01; 03-18-21 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 03-18-21, 05:47 PM
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Salmoning uphill in a bike lane seems like a very poor plan. If you need to be on the sidewalk because that's where the shade is and the sidewalk is narrow and busy, I think the best idea is to just walk the bikes up the hill.

Or as suggested above, find a better route.
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Old 03-18-21, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by burritos View Post
Her issue is that she heats up and the left side of the street has all the trees and shading that still makes the trip home enjoyable for her.
Answer to that is simple: full water bottle and Da-Brim helmet shade. It's the latest pre-teen fashion trend, too!

and then start salmoning up the wrong side of the road.
Neither legal nor acceptable, period.

Pre-teen rebellion does not overrule either law or safety, especially when they are aligned. If you think it's difficult now, just imagine what things will be like in a few years with say, driving, if you start down the pattern of road rules being negotiable.

Her other option is to walk the bike up the hill on the sidewalk with consideration of other pedestrians.

Last edited by UniChris; 03-18-21 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 03-18-21, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
If she's on the sidewalk, then she's not in the road, and which side she's on doesn't matter. Almost by definition, sidewalks aren't directional.
Unless she needs to cross a side road.

When a driver is on the side road and wants to make a right, they look left and when clear they go. If she tries to cross the street she'll get hit.

I've seen way too many close calls by people riding against traffic on the sidewalk.
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Old 03-18-21, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
If she's on the sidewalk, then she's not in the road, and which side she's on doesn't matter. Almost by definition, sidewalks aren't directional.
sorry, I canít remember the source but I was surprised to learn that it is more dangerous to ride against traffic even on the sidewalk. If I had to guess, it was from Cycling Savvy.
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Old 03-18-21, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by burritos View Post
This is the shortest path and it has the most trees. Deviating from this path is triggering.
I know what that can be like. Autistic spectrum? It it is anything like that, you are doing great.
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Old 03-18-21, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by debade View Post
sorry, I canít remember the source but I was surprised to learn that it is more dangerous to ride against traffic even on the sidewalk. If I had to guess, it was from Cycling Savvy.
Any more than walking on the sidewalk against traffic?
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Old 03-18-21, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
Any more than walking on the sidewalk against traffic?
Riding a sidewalk against traffic is in fact drastically more dangerous than walking it. Even riding a sidewalk with traffic is far more dangerous than walking it.

The reason is that the road (and even driveway) crossings that connect sidewalks have an interaction with other traffic based on the idea that they are for low-speed movement only; someone rolling through one at cycling speed can appear in the path of a turning vehicle more rapidly than expected. It's not uncommon that cyclists are actually going faster than cars preparing a turn. Additionally, even if the car gets there first, the cyclist's own speed may make it impossible for them to avoid running into the side of a turning vehicle. It's not just a practical principle but one of law, too: essentially all states prohibit a pedestrian from running into an intersection in a way that doesn't give drivers time to yield, and while there are exceptions, many states don't grant a cyclist the right of way to a crosswalk the way they grant it to a pedestrian (that shouldn't be a free pass to hit them if they are already in it, but only a rule about who gets to go first)

Anyone ever think about getting out the toy people cars and bikes, drawing some roads on some scrap cardboard and playing through key scenarios with kids?

Last edited by UniChris; 03-18-21 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 03-18-21, 07:49 PM
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Error on the side of safety/caution. This has served me well doing risk assessments.
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Old 03-18-21, 07:54 PM
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Tell her to HTFU? JK. She needs to learn how to properly deal with cagers; I agree with others that she should walk up the hill if she can't ride. If she throws a conniption fit, just wait it out and help her see reason. Explain why she needs to ride this way; it may help. Good luck.
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Old 03-18-21, 08:06 PM
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This may be a minority opinion, but I don't see any safety problem in riding on the left side sidewalk up the hill for a mile. It might be even safer in fact.

Contra-traffic is unsafe at intersections because of the higher speeds of the bike. You're going up at jogging speed, or close to walking speed, and that isn't going trigger the bad judgment of drivers that we all know and fear. It could be safer for the same reasons that runners prefer the left side. I'd be fine with it, especially since there's shade on the left side.

At worst you could compromise and have her walk the bike across the worst of the intersections.
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Old 03-18-21, 08:21 PM
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I like the getting off the bike and walking. Thatís a good solution. Thanks.
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Old 03-18-21, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
This may be a minority opinion, but I don't see any safety problem in riding on the left side sidewalk up the hill for a mile. It might be even safer in fact.
If one is slowly huffing up the hill and able to continue at a slow even pace, you might almost have a point, provided that local law does not prohibit it (eg, rider age or out-of-business-district type exceptions).

However the OP described having to leave the sidewalk in proper deference to pedestrians, and instead salmon the bike lane. Salmoning the lane is right out, as it puts those riding legally and properly at risk - is the salmon going to veer into the opposing traffic lane, or being a kid and climbing a hill, is she going to expect the person using the lane properly to do so?
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Old 03-18-21, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
If one is slowly huffing up the hill and able to continue at a slow even pace, you might almost have a point, provided that local law does not prohibit it (eg, rider age or out-of-business-district type exceptions).

However the OP described having to leave the sidewalk in proper deference to pedestrians, and instead salmon the bike lane. Salmoning the lane is right out, as it puts those riding legally and properly at risk - is the salmon going to veer into the opposing traffic lane, or being a kid and climbing a hill, is she going to expect the person using the lane properly to do so?
I ride down the hill all the time. I encounter a lot of salmoners. Bikers, runners, and walkers regularly. Iím not trying create a justification for us to do it as it is still unsafe. Just that we arenít the exception. Despite this hiccup, I find it much preferable than lining up in a long queue of cars for school pick up.
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Old 03-18-21, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
Any more than walking on the sidewalk against traffic?
I think so because of speed. If a cyclist does not see the car and vice versa, both have made up their mind to proceed. Unlike the pedestrian, the cyclist finds themselves in the intersection as the car passes through. Take this as my supposition. I briefly looked for the article I read but did not find it.
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Old 03-18-21, 11:14 PM
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Not the study I was looking for but same conclusions The dangers of riding against traffic and on sidewalks | Bicycle Tucson
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Old 03-19-21, 12:11 AM
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No.
This is a really bad idea. It shouldn’t even be considered.
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Old 03-19-21, 07:24 AM
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Riding to school with a child is a great opportunity to teach them how to ride safely. Allowing them to do things that are obviously unsafe teaches them the opposite
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Old 03-19-21, 08:05 AM
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Just an observation about young parents in my neighborhood. They go for walks and walk properly against the traffic flow. However they bring their children with them on bikes and tricycles. Those young kids are learning and getting used to riding on the wrong side of the road. I wonder what side those kids will ride on when their parents are not around. Will there be a training period where the parents correct the habits instilled in their kids?

Lately I've wondered about the old wisdom of continuing to insist pedestrians walk against traffic.
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Old 03-19-21, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Just an observation about young parents in my neighborhood. They go for walks and walk properly against the traffic flow. However they bring their children with them on bikes and tricycles. Those young kids are learning and getting used to riding on the wrong side of the road. I wonder what side those kids will ride on when their parents are not around. Will there be a training period where the parents correct the habits instilled in their kids?
Hopefully there's then a stage when the kids have more range and speed where the parents are also riding.

And hopefully that's done properly.

My dilemma is more where the parents/adults are supposed to ride if the kids are still taking advantage of a youth sidewalk exception. Eg last summer I found myself involved in an odd parade with two kids on a sidewalk (at least the one who lived in that neighborhood and lead it was really stopping and looking at cross streets), the adult who was parent of one and effectively responsible as host of the other paralleling them on the street, which given that only the wrong side of the street had a sidewalk, meant salmoning. And then me, unsure what to do but pace them in the actual lane on the correct side of the street for our direction of travel.

Given it wasn't that busy a road my instinct would probably have been to use the lane correctly with the kids between the two adults, or else walk the sidewalks, but I wasn't in charge - and especially not in a position to tell the more timid kid whose parents I didn't know at all, how to navigate his own neighbourhood. They maybe in the future there will be some opportunities for better modeling.

Mostly we're lucky in my town to have a great rail trail network, so the first rules to set are more about care at intersections - that particular episode occurred while dropping a kid off somewhat removed from the trail we'd done a group ride on. If there were more utility cycling with kids going on, that would probably make roads a concern earlier. As is the ones I know can get up to doing substantial mileage just on the trails - though hoping soon to get one out on a favorite rural road that connects the ends of two trails for a big loop, probably as the middle of a procession with adults on each end.

Last edited by UniChris; 03-19-21 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 03-19-21, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Will there be a training period where the parents correct the habits instilled in their kids?.
They are being prepped for British citizenship.
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