Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Riding on sidewalks

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Riding on sidewalks

Old 04-19-22, 07:22 PM
  #1  
LarrySellerz
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 976
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1194 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 163 Posts
Riding on sidewalks

Hey guys, how often do you ride on sidewalks? Are there roads that are sketchy enough that you stick to the sidewalk? As a kid I rode on the sidewalks all the time, but now I feel like they are pretty darn dangerous. I don’t feel comfortable on sidewalks but will take it if it seems like the best line (an occasion that comes to mind is when I came across a slower group of cyclists coming to a stop at a stop sign, I went to the right and took the sidewalk for a block.)
LarrySellerz is online now  
Old 04-19-22, 07:28 PM
  #2  
50PlusCycling
Senior Member
 
50PlusCycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 628
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 293 Post(s)
Liked 249 Times in 148 Posts
Here in Japan riding on sidewalks is illegal unless the sidewalk is specifically marked for bicycles (many are). The penalties for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk can be as severe as a 50,000 yen fine and 3 months in jail. However, this being Japan, where laws are either viciously enforced, or not enforced at all, the latter is the case, and about half of people ride on the sidewalks.
50PlusCycling is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 07:35 PM
  #3  
flangehead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 681

Bikes: 2017 Co-op ADV 1.1; ~1991 Novara Arriba; 1990 Fuji Palisade; mid-90's Moots Tandem; 1985 Performance Superbe

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 288 Post(s)
Liked 411 Times in 243 Posts
Rarely. I’m induced to ride a sidewalk by these factors:
  • Short distance.
  • Trying to go against traffic (common in my area are places where I would have to ride 3 miles on 45 mph-posted to legally move 100 feet).
  • Few or no curb cuts with heavy and fast MV traffic.
  • Only available access to trailhead.
For sidewalks 6’ and narrower, I stop when pedestrians are nearby or wait to pass with a wide berth.

Last edited by flangehead; 04-19-22 at 07:38 PM.
flangehead is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 07:47 PM
  #4  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 9,854

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2842 Post(s)
Liked 2,018 Times in 1,341 Posts
Yes ride on the sidewalk extra fast with your broken wheels and poor attitude, good idea.

Oy vey! For those actually thinking this might be legitimate or yeah what about riding on the sidewalk. Please don't do it unless an absolute emergency and there aren't pedestrians. If you must be aware of your surroundings heavily and don't ride with speed or recklessly, ride as if you really don't belong on the sidewalk. We have streets we have paths we don't need to also take the sidewalks.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 07:58 PM
  #5  
Rolla
Victimless Criminal
 
Rolla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2,323
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1022 Post(s)
Liked 2,435 Times in 1,088 Posts
I generally find that sidewalks are horrible places to ride, but as long as I don't endanger or inconvenience others, I'll do whatever helps me get where I'm going. Laws don't apply to me, anyway.
Rolla is offline  
Likes For Rolla:
Old 04-19-22, 07:59 PM
  #6  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 8,912

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2091 Post(s)
Liked 2,061 Times in 1,281 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Yes ride on the sidewalk extra fast with your broken wheels and poor attitude, good idea.

Oy vey! For those actually thinking this might be legitimate or yeah what about riding on the sidewalk. Please don't do it unless an absolute emergency and there aren't pedestrians. If you must be aware of your surroundings heavily and don't ride with speed or recklessly, ride as if you really don't belong on the sidewalk. We have streets we have paths we don't need to also take the sidewalks.
It's like the running a stop sign debate.
I got sidewalks that might see a pedestrian once every 3 days and then you have downtown business district at lunch time in nice weather or 5 PM. Two totally different scenarios that don't allow for a "The sky is falling, never ride on a sidewalk" philosophy.
I'll do my ride, you do yours.
dedhed is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 08:02 PM
  #7  
ColonelSanders
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Vegemite Island
Posts: 4,130

Bikes: 2017 Surly Troll with XT Drive Train, 2017 Merida Big Nine XT Edition, 2016 Giant Toughroad SLR 2, 1995 Trek 830

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1916 Post(s)
Liked 302 Times in 216 Posts
If the sidewalks are not heavily populated by pedestrians and the roads aren't bicycle friendly, then sure.
ColonelSanders is offline  
Likes For ColonelSanders:
Old 04-19-22, 08:18 PM
  #8  
beng1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 191
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 160 Post(s)
Liked 88 Times in 41 Posts
I don't worry about it. If the road is clear I am on the road, if the road is sketchy then I jump onto the sidewalk, back and forth during a ride as it is needed. I will jump curbs and hit the dirt and grass too. I grew up in the country so I rode on alternative surfaces a lot growing up.
beng1 is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 08:22 PM
  #9  
Daniel4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,961

Bikes: Sekine 1979 ten speed racer

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1197 Post(s)
Liked 384 Times in 259 Posts
There's one sidewalk I have to ride on everyday if I want to get anywhere. It's either the sidewalk or I have to make a left turn in the middle of the 60 km/hr major arterial road to enter the park where the park trail gets me to everywhere else I want to go.
Daniel4 is offline  
Likes For Daniel4:
Old 04-19-22, 08:22 PM
  #10  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 9,854

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2842 Post(s)
Liked 2,018 Times in 1,341 Posts
Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
It's like the running a stop sign debate.
I got sidewalks that might see a pedestrian once every 3 days and then you have downtown business district at lunch time in nice weather or 5 PM. Two totally different scenarios that don't allow for a "The sky is falling, never ride on a sidewalk" philosophy.
I'll do my ride, you do yours.
Yes no I get it if you aren't seeing pedestrians often sure but I was trying to give more generic info so people don't think Sellarz is good to listen to or think sidewalk riding is generally a good thing for many situations. There will always be special situations.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 08:30 PM
  #11  
Chuck M 
Butted Hi-Tensile
 
Chuck M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 969

Bikes: Hi-Ten bike boomers, a Trek Domane and some projects

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 318 Post(s)
Liked 776 Times in 398 Posts
I used to ride on sidewalks. Then dad took my training wheels off and I had to learn to safely ride in the street in front of the house. Now I ride wherever my heart desires except the sidewalk.

But a master of the fast pace lines like Larry should ride anywhere he pleases.
__________________
"It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels." -- Heinz Stücke

Chuck M is offline  
Likes For Chuck M:
Old 04-19-22, 08:48 PM
  #12  
Kapusta
Advanced Slacker
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5,431

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Surly Wednesday, Turner 5-Spot, Canfielld Tilt

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2399 Post(s)
Liked 2,025 Times in 1,130 Posts
Sure, ride the sidewalk AND blow the stop sign.

Last edited by Kapusta; 04-19-22 at 08:51 PM.
Kapusta is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 09:24 PM
  #13  
LarrySellerz
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 976
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1194 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 163 Posts
Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
But a master of the fast pace lines like Larry should ride anywhere he pleases.
I’ve been hit by a car only once (if you discount the bad weather events where nobody could stop their vehicle) and I was riding on the sidewalk. I agree that riders should be able to ride wherever they please, but sidewalks are very dangerous in my opinion.
LarrySellerz is online now  
Old 04-19-22, 09:37 PM
  #14  
mschwett 
please no more flats
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 626

Bikes: aethos, creo, vanmoof, public ...

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 331 Post(s)
Liked 379 Times in 209 Posts
for very short distances, where the roads are extremely unsafe and there are no or few pedestrians, i'll ride on a sidewalk.

when i'm riding with my daughter, i'll allow her to ride on the sidewalk (particularly on a steep uphill) while i ride adjacent on the street. here it's legal for children to ride on sidewalks, a fact i've have had to point out to MANY grumpy AF old people and dog owners who seem to think that the entire public way is their purview to do with what they please and yell at anyone who uses it differently than they'd like.

Last edited by mschwett; 04-19-22 at 09:40 PM.
mschwett is offline  
Old 04-19-22, 09:45 PM
  #15  
LarrySellerz
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 976
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1194 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 163 Posts
Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
for very short distances, where the roads are extremely unsafe and there are no or few pedestrians, i'll ride on a sidewalk.

when i'm riding with my daughter, i'll allow her to ride on the sidewalk (particularly on a steep uphill) while i ride adjacent on the street. here it's legal for children to ride on sidewalks, a fact i've have had to point out to MANY grumpy AF old people and dog owners who seem to think that the entire public way is their purview to do with what they please and yell at anyone who uses it differently than they'd like.
you've had people yelling at your kid????
LarrySellerz is online now  
Likes For LarrySellerz:
Old 04-19-22, 09:51 PM
  #16  
debade
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: WA
Posts: 430

Bikes: Trek Domane, Trek 2120, Trek 520, Schwinn Voyager step through

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
Liked 79 Times in 62 Posts
The research I have seen suggests
sidewalk riding is more dangerous than road biking, especially at intersections. So as a general rule, I ride on streets and take the lane if needed. For one of my rides, I add about a 1/3 to 1/2 mile on street to avoid a sidewalk bike route since it is lined with retail stores with cars coming and going from all directions.

But when I do use a sidewalk, I try to bike with traffic so I will likely be more visible to a right turning motorist. I still need to be careful with the motorists from other directions that I assume do not see or expect me. This was a suggestion from Cycle Savvy
debade is offline  
Likes For debade:
Old 04-19-22, 09:55 PM
  #17  
LarrySellerz
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 976
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1194 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 163 Posts
Originally Posted by debade View Post
The research I have seen suggests
sidewalk riding is more dangerous than road biking, especially at intersections. So as a general rule, I ride on streets and take the lane if needed. For one of my rides, I add about a 1/3 to 1/2 mile on street to avoid a sidewalk bike route since it is lined with retail stores with cars coming and going from all directions.

But when I do use a sidewalk, I try to bike with traffic so I will likely be more visible to a right turning motorist. I still need to be careful with the motorists from other directions that I assume do not see or expect me. This was a suggestion from Cycle Savvy
yup a cager got me when I was riding on the sidewalk about a year ago. I knew he didn't see me (didn't even look in my direction) and saw my line closing, so I decided to send it rather than wait. Was a poor choice. If I was riding in the road he would have been more likely to see me.
LarrySellerz is online now  
Old 04-19-22, 10:17 PM
  #18  
mschwett 
please no more flats
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 626

Bikes: aethos, creo, vanmoof, public ...

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 331 Post(s)
Liked 379 Times in 209 Posts
Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
you've had people yelling at your kid????
multiple times. always old people and usually old people with dogs yelling things like “get off the sidewalk!” “watch where you’re going!” “that’s illegal” “my dog !!!!!!!!”

i love dogs.

i do not love a sizable percentage of urban dog owners, and unfortunately sidewalks are a frequent point of intersection.
mschwett is offline  
Old 04-20-22, 02:58 AM
  #19  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,669

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 404 Times in 311 Posts
Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Hey guys, how often do you ride on sidewalks? Are there roads that are sketchy enough that you stick to the sidewalk? As a kid I rode on the sidewalks all the time, but now I feel like they are pretty darn dangerous.
Don't, myself, unless there is no other way. I do ride on MUPs some of the time, so it's unavoidable, but otherwise it's on the right third portion of the RH lane in the street for me. All things considered, it tends to be much safer.

Frequently rode on a "boardwalk" sidewalk along the beach, many decades ago. Typically at off-hours when most people weren't anywhere around, so usually no issue at all. But I finally came upon a person expecting to walk out onto the sidewalk (gee, imagine that) without risk. She wasn't looking. But, to be fair, she probably couldn't have processed the fact I was going far too fast for the spot and conditions. Laid it down, got bad abrasions on my arms. Amazingly, never did get infected, probably due to the cleansing and bottles of iodine used to disinfect. But, I can only imagine how many decades it had been since the last time that sidewalk had been completely scrubbed and washed.

These days, I'm often on a MUP for at least some of my ride. And I make it a point to do passing of others at "crawling" speeds, so that even if they lose their minds and change direction without warning it's unlikely anyone will go down due to the speed differential.
Clyde1820 is offline  
Old 04-20-22, 04:33 AM
  #20  
DonkeyShow
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 51 Post(s)
Liked 72 Times in 45 Posts
The few sidewalks I see on my routes typically have stairs soo...
DonkeyShow is offline  
Old 04-20-22, 04:58 AM
  #21  
making
Super Moderator
 
making's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Greenwood Indiana
Posts: 2,792

Bikes: Surly Crosscheck

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1391 Post(s)
Liked 738 Times in 442 Posts
I try to ride in the safest way possible all the time. I used a sidewalk to get through a one way high traffic area for years because it was undeniably safer than the alternatives. There was almost no walking traffic and if there was I stopped to let them through. I think transitions are the most dangerous part of commuting or riding in the street and you have to get on and off the sidewalk.
__________________
Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are
making is offline  
Likes For making:
Old 04-20-22, 05:50 AM
  #22  
Ironfish653
Dirty Heathen
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: MC-778, 6250 fsw
Posts: 1,712

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 652 Post(s)
Liked 484 Times in 299 Posts
I tend to avoid SIDEWALKS as possible, since it's usually faster and smoother on a street surface. However, here in the suburbs, there are a lot of 4 and 6-lane 'arterial' roads with 45mph limit (55mph operating speed) and curbs on both sides, so no shoulder.
The speed and volume of traffic and lack of an 'out' on these roads does not permit reasonably safe cycling except in the wee hours of the morning, so I ride the sidewalks there. Typically pedestrian traffic is very low on these roads so it's not a big deal.If I am on a sidewalk, I will slow and yield the pavement to oncoming pedestrians. I use a bell when overtaking pedestrians (or the occasional rider) I also give as much room as possible. If the road's clear, I 'll jump the curb, and overtake in the traffic lane, and get back to the sidewalk at the end of the block.
Ironfish653 is offline  
Likes For Ironfish653:
Old 04-20-22, 06:04 AM
  #23  
GlennR
On Your Left
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 8,364

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3000 Post(s)
Liked 2,421 Times in 1,183 Posts
Sidewalks are for walkers and children on bicycles.

Adults belong on the road.
GlennR is offline  
Old 04-20-22, 06:18 AM
  #24  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 5,160
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4974 Post(s)
Liked 7,210 Times in 3,125 Posts
Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
yup a cager got me when I was riding on the sidewalk about a year ago.
You should stop using that word.

Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
yup a cager got me when I was riding on the sidewalk about a year ago. I knew he didn't see me
The motorist didn't see you because bikes aren't supposed to be on the sidewalk.
Koyote is online now  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 04-20-22, 06:24 AM
  #25  
gpburdell
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Georgia
Posts: 630
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 219 Post(s)
Liked 183 Times in 121 Posts
In my state it's illegal for anyone over 12 years old to ride on the sidewalk... though I've also never heard of it being enforced.

Even with no pedestrians to contend with, sidewalks present their own set of risks/dangers - particularly at any driveways or entrances to subdivisions or shopping areas. Those risks can be mitigated though with observant riding and a slower pace, but they're still there. Conversely there are some high traffic / narrow lanes / no shoulder roads which are riskier to be on than the near-abandoned adjacent sidewalk.

I'd say folks ought to make their own evaluation of the safest way to travel through a particular area.
gpburdell is offline  
Likes For gpburdell:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.