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Do you ride on the road even if there is a smooth sidewalk?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Do you ride on the road even if there is a smooth sidewalk?

Old 06-03-12, 05:56 PM
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Do you ride on the road even if there is a smooth sidewalk?

Most of the time, I ride on the shoulder of the road, especially when I have momentum going. Though, there are certain cases where it's downright scary to ride the road; example: major two lane roads with a speed limit of 45+ and no shoulder. There is such a road like this close to where I live, and there happens to be a smooth sidewalk that spawns the entire length of the narrow miles. There is constant traffic from both ways and there is no way large trucks can pull around a biker if they are on the road, unless they wait for a rare opportunity of no oncoming traffic. Luckily, the sidewalk is there... But I still see many bikers ride that stretch on the road, which pisses many drivers off and can't be good for the cycling community. It just makes no sense, unless they are deliberately trying to get hit so they can cash in with a lawsuit.

If you were given this same situation, would you ride on the busy narrow road, or would you take an extra 5 seconds to ride the sidewalk?
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Old 06-03-12, 05:58 PM
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It's illegal here, and pedestrians are extremely unpredictable. So no, I don't ride on the sidewalks.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:05 PM
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While it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk in most places I always think of my safety first. If there is a road that I am uncomfortable riding on I will definitely ride the sidewalk. Fact is that yes peds are unpredictable and it is illegal (most places) but if you feel safer I wouldn't worry about it. And when you consider that most law enforcement don't realized that riding on the sidewalk is illegal the chances of you getting a ticket are probably slim to none.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:10 PM
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I live in WV, could you explain what this "shoulder" is that you speak of?
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Old 06-03-12, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dantolen
...

If you were given this same situation, would you ride on the busy narrow road, or would you take an extra 5 seconds to ride the sidewalk?
Neither. If I felt that unsafe on any road, I would find a different one to ride on.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LowCel
I live in WV, could you explain what this "shoulder" is that you speak of?



It's the same here. No shoulder.

To the OP, nope, in NC a bicycle is considered a "vehicle" just like a car or motorcycle, so no, I don't ever ride on the sidewalk.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:26 PM
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No sidewalk riding here. I live in the burbs of L.A. and can find ample room on all the roads I ride.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dantolen
example: major two lane roads with a speed limit of 45+ and no shoulder. There is such a road like this close to where I live, and there happens to be a smooth sidewalk that spawns the entire length of the narrow miles. There is constant traffic from both ways and there is no way large trucks can pull around a biker if they are on the road, unless they wait for a rare opportunity of no oncoming traffic. Luckily, the sidewalk is there...
There is a stretch like this near me. And, in my case, the sidewalk isn't really used by pedestrians because the area is semi-rural. Unfortunately I had to find out the hard way that the sidewalk ends abruptly. Now that I know the route I'll never ride it again. If you have to ride that particular route I'd suggest the sidewalk if you feel safer. However, your speed should be appropriate to your location. When riding on the sidewalk ride at a pedestrian's walking speed or you increase the danger for pedestrians and yourself.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:30 PM
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Country roads in Michigan are scary, and it's worse that they're arnt any sidewalks to protect us from the traffic. So to answer your question, I don't choose the sidewalk, bcus when I would use it. It's seldom available
 
Old 06-03-12, 06:31 PM
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yeah, illegal here.

i have done it when i was newer to cycling but now... i avoid sidewalks.

plus, sidewalks and driveways are scary... they wouldn't expect something moving 15-20mph on sidewalks.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:33 PM
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"...cash in with a lawsuit..."

Try that someday. You'll be in for the maturing experience of a lifetime.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:38 PM
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I avoid the sidewalk whenever I can, which is just abour always. Often, I will opt for a bike path, rather than the road when the traffic is heavy.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:48 PM
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First of all, motorists are annoyed by other cars driving under 60mph in a 55mph zone. As a cyclist, you are inherently annoying to motorists whenever you're in the road. If you're worried about annoying motorists, sell the bike and buy some running shoes.

Secondly, I understand the dangers of suburbia. There are lots of highy trafficked multi-laned roads that carry commuters to work and shoppers to Wal*Mart at high speeds and they can be very hazardous. Understand, however, that sidewalks carry their own hazards. Every time you cross a road from a sidewalk, you are extremely vulnerable to turning vehicles who don't expect relatively fast moving bicycles to be coming off the sidewalk. If you can, your best bet is to just plain avoid retail and commuter strips. The speeds are too high and the distractions too numerous.
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Old 06-03-12, 06:54 PM
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Sidewalks are not safer. Definitely an A&S topic but the idea of safety while biking on a sidewalk is faulty on so many levels.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:02 PM
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I ride with traffic on the sidewalk ( with traffic, of course) when I'm riding with the grandkids (road tandem with a kiddie trailer in tow.)

I ride the road at all other times.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:04 PM
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Usually don't go on the sidewalk, though I might in spots to avoid hazardous traffic.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:05 PM
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Road cycling... Sidewalks are way more dangerous because they are made for walking. Roads have rules that make possible going fast with a lot more predictable situations for moving vehicules.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:08 PM
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Never on the sidewalk. I was on a MUP today, not sure it's any safer, just legal. The main MUP I use is 70 miles long so not as bad as this one was. Yikes.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:26 PM
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There are short cases where I would use a sidewalk in the city but all are slow and usually if it is a high car traffic and within the same block. When it involves crossings and intersections you are better off staying a participant in the traffic pattern rather than being a shadow pedestrian on wheels.

I agree with one of the above posters, Car drivers will always find something to be annoyed at. Cars, Peds, Bikers, The weather etc... Be sensible about position, visibility, strategy in relation to traffic and live. In my experience the large vehicles are less of a concern than people fear them to be. The commute/general traffic that I deal with has a mixture of demographics and the commercial sector vehicles are usually the most skilled/concerned about their surroundings. The ones to watch for are the car drivers who aren't paying attention, which has been touched on before. Proper participant lane position catches attention far more successfully than edge riding.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:28 PM
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Yes, but I just plain don't ride in busy traffic. Doable, but this isn't exactly bike friendly territory in heavy traffic.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rangerdavid



It's the same here. No shoulder.

To the OP, nope, in NC a bicycle is considered a "vehicle" just like a car or motorcycle, so no, I don't ever ride on the sidewalk.
Same in Nevada, but it's very selectively enforced. Bike-car crashes don't seem to be investigated much here--there's sort of an "accidents happen" attitude. Pretty high percentage of oblivious and overaggressive riders, too.
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Old 06-03-12, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rangerdavid



It's the same here. No shoulder.

To the OP, nope, in NC a bicycle is considered a "vehicle" just like a car or motorcycle, so no, I don't ever ride on the sidewalk.
I believe that local municipalities can allow riding on the sidewalk for riders over the age of 16, although I don't know of any nor have I seen it. That being said I've ridden on the sidewalk only when it was absolutely necessary, ie road flooded or blocked or there was a huge line of cars being held up by me, I'll pull over long enough to let them pass but even then there isn't a sidewalk on both sides of the road.
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Old 06-03-12, 10:26 PM
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For me, my safety is paramount. I have a family for whom life would suddenly become pretty tough were I to become unable to work for any reason.

That means I judge each situation as carefully as I can, and pick routes and sidewalks vs. roads based on what seems like the safest option given current conditions. That includes crossing some major roads on foot after unclipping and pushing the crosswalk button, when necessary.

When I was younger and did not have to thinking about supporting anyone else, I was willing to assume a lot more risk.
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Old 06-04-12, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rpeterson
It's illegal here, and pedestrians are extremely unpredictable. So no, I don't ride on the sidewalks.
+1.
However I'll ride on the sidewalk for very short distances to get to a crosswalk, if I do need to head to the sidewalk for a fair distance, I'll dismount & walk.
Riding on the sidewalk doesn't make a good case for our cycling community either.
If I feel the road is too sketchy, ill take the back roads/alley.
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Old 06-04-12, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rpeterson
It's illegal here, and pedestrians are extremely unpredictable. So no, I don't ride on the sidewalks.
Ditto! Plus riding on the road is is "perceived danger" and actually one of the safest places to ride, statistics prove this, ( national safety council), riding on the sidewalk is one of the most dangerous and if a car hits you when you cross a street- good luck in court, you'll need it
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