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What would you do in this situation? Sidewalk cycling.

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What would you do in this situation? Sidewalk cycling.

Old 06-18-11, 03:21 PM
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Unreasonable
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What would you do in this situation? Sidewalk cycling.

The other day when I was out cycling, I came to a very long line of cars (was going in the direction of rush hour traffic). I waited in line for a minute or two, but got off my bike, brought it to the sidewalk, and slowly rode down it passing the line.

There are no sidewalk laws where I was, and there were no pedestrians (there hardly are). Further, since it was a main road, there wasn't much in the likes of driveways, crossroads, etc. It was fairly safe to ride down it, but I didn't push it either. I rode down to the light, used the crosswalk button, and when I got across mounted up and continued on. I probably got ahead by a cycle of the traffic lights, would have been more had I not waited for a short bit at first.

What are your opinions on this?
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Old 06-18-11, 05:16 PM
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Not being there, I really can't say. My guess is that I'd have stayed on the road and just passed the traffic jam, preferably on the right, failing that, on the left. I have used sidewalks before, and see no problem with your solution
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Old 06-18-11, 06:07 PM
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Depends..

Sidewalk riding is NOT inherently dangerous, despite this having been repeated far too many times. People quote statistics saying it is far more dangerous than riding on the street. Those statistics don't take into consideration that a very high percentage of sidewalk riders are not experienced or safety motivated. Sidewalk riding is as safe or as dangerous as the nature of the particular stretch of sidewalk and the particular rider make it. When I ride on the sidewalk it is generally where there are few driveways and few pedestrians. I yield to the occasional pedestrian well in advance. When I cross the occasional driveway I check over my shoulder for any cars that could be slowing enough to turn in, as well as, of course, checking for anyone pulling out. I cover the brake and cross the driveway assuming that I am not seen. Safe sidewalk riding is usually not compatible with hauling ass, but can be a safe haven from a street packed with rush hour drivers with bad attitudes.

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Old 06-18-11, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
Not being there, I really can't say. My guess is that I'd have stayed on the road and just passed the traffic jam, preferably on the right, failing that, on the left. I have used sidewalks before, and see no problem with your solution
If you are talking about "splitting the lane" I think the sidewalk solution was far safer.

Don in Austin
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Old 06-18-11, 06:55 PM
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I'd have done what you did. Nothing wrong with sidewalks in moderation, so long as you watch for the dangers.
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Old 06-18-11, 07:14 PM
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Here riding on the side walk is recommended. Passing a stopped car on the right, shoulder, is not legal.
Passing between lanes of stopped cars is not legal.
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Old 06-18-11, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
Here riding on the side walk is recommended. Passing a stopped car on the right, shoulder, is not legal..
Or safe!
Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
Passing between lanes of stopped cars is not legal.
Or safe!

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Old 06-18-11, 07:29 PM
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I usually ride down the right side, then wait for the light.
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Old 06-18-11, 07:29 PM
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Lane splitting is legal here, and is perfectly safe imo.
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Old 06-18-11, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bhop View Post
Lane splitting is legal here, and is perfectly safe imo.
Go for it then. Good way to get hooked or doored IMO.

Don in Austin
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Old 06-18-11, 07:38 PM
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If you're going to get on the sidewalk, walk your bike, don't ride it. It's a bad habit to get into, and I feel it's just better to wait behind the cars. If we want to get the respect we deserve as vehicles, we might be better off acting like them.
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Old 06-18-11, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
If you're going to get on the sidewalk, walk your bike, don't ride it. It's a bad habit to get into, and I feel it's just better to wait behind the cars. If we want to get the respect we deserve as vehicles, we might be better off acting like them.
As someone who uses clipless pedals, dismounting and walking along the sidewalk isn't always a very good option. As unfinished (which most sidewalks are) concrete is very abrasive and increases the wear on one's cleats. Even just walking a couple blocks can be hell on one's cleats.
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Old 06-18-11, 08:31 PM
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As a pedestrian, I have been hit a couple of times this past year by cyclists. The seem to have a bizarre notion that they can come up behind me at 10+ mph and I will be completely aware of them and their intentions, and then react accordingly. On my bike, I will almost never ride on a sidewalk. but if I do, I will slow down. If there are pedestrians, I would dismount and walk.

In your situation, I would have probably did the same thing. If traffic was severely backed up, I would be a bit nervous about unpredictable frustrated drivers. Best to get in front.

One of the roads I use for commuting has a sidewalk on one side only. The sidewalk has a painted stripe down the center. One side says "Bikes Only". The intent was for this 3 foot wide strip to carry bi-directional bike traffic while keeping the pedestrians safe. Talk about good planning.

-Gary
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Old 06-18-11, 08:39 PM
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As I have said in other threads, we have almost no foot traffic, all side walks are considered
bike paths. Most are very wide.

Lane splitting here would be almost impossible, the streets are narrow and there are trucks
with wide trailers and mirrors.

Passing a stopped car on the right without a lane, is a major no no! One of the few things
a bike will get pulled over for.

This is what most of our side walks look like:

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Old 06-18-11, 09:05 PM
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I think sidewalk riding is a bad habit but could well have done the same thing.
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Old 06-18-11, 09:39 PM
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The fact that your post concerns safety means you're probably not one of those "sidewalk statistics" that everyone likes to quote.
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Old 06-18-11, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gmt13 View Post
As a pedestrian, I have been hit a couple of times this past year by cyclists. The seem to have a bizarre notion that they can come up behind me at 10+ mph and I will be completely aware of them and their intentions, and then react accordingly. On my bike, I will almost never ride on a sidewalk. but if I do, I will slow down. If there are pedestrians, I would dismount and walk.

In your situation, I would have probably did the same thing. If traffic was severely backed up, I would be a bit nervous about unpredictable frustrated drivers. Best to get in front.

One of the roads I use for commuting has a sidewalk on one side only. The sidewalk has a painted stripe down the center. One side says "Bikes Only". The intent was for this 3 foot wide strip to carry bi-directional bike traffic while keeping the pedestrians safe. Talk about good planning.

-Gary
Gary,

I think that that meets the definition of a MUP (Multi Use Path). Down here they're working on widening the sidewalk to turn it into a MUP. The problem is that some sections of the sidewalk presumably because light poles, etc. the original sidewalk cannot be widened so the trail ends right before those sections and than picks up again after is able to be widened.
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Old 06-18-11, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
I think sidewalk riding is a bad habit but could well have done the same thing.
Agreed, but there are times when it's the most practical option.
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Old 06-18-11, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Runner 1 View Post
The fact that your post concerns safety means you're probably not one of those "sidewalk statistics" that everyone likes to quote.
Agreed, when I've been riding through any of the parks that I ride through on my usual ride I've seen way too many cyclists who are "hammering" down the sidewalk at speed. Regardless of how many people are walking. Also just as sad is that I've passed I don't know how many walkers/joggers/bladers who have the volume on their iPod so loud that as I'm approaching/passing/leaving them behind me I can hear their music.
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Old 06-18-11, 09:57 PM
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IMHO, it's perfectly fine. the sidewalks are fine to ride on with no peds. don't go against adjoining traffic, though. also, I usually am not barrelling down the sidewalks at 15-20 mph. I'm cruisin' slow.
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Old 06-18-11, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
As I have said in other threads, we have almost no foot traffic, all side walks are considered
bike paths. Most are very wide.

Lane splitting here would be almost impossible, the streets are narrow and there are trucks
with wide trailers and mirrors.

Passing a stopped car on the right without a lane, is a major no no! One of the few things
a bike will get pulled over for.

This is what most of our side walks look like:

sidewalk, or bonifide MUP? looks like a divided line Multiple use path to be perfectly honest.

arkansas doesn't let bikes share lanes with traffic moving slower that the bicycle by allowing the bike to pass like any other vehicle?

If i ever ride in arkansas, and come up on a line of stopped cars, i'm passing them. vehicles can overtake on the right in arkansas, so long as they do not leave the travelled portion of the roadway in AR. And, in Arkansas, if a bicycle is authorized to use a shoulder, a bicyclist has the legal right to use that portion of the highway for thru travel, thereby allowing a bicyclist clear conscience in Arkansas, to operate on the shoulder to pass a long line of vehicles. the bicyclist may still get a ticket, and cyclists in Arkansas likely need more bicycle specificity in traffic code to allow bikes to pass stopped lines of cars when safe and pavement width of the highway allows it.

Arkansas cyclists, unite for greater allowances for bicyclists in state traffic code. don't know how it would play in the Arkansas assembly though. Bicyclists quasi-suborned to being stopped in traffic, bummer for arkansas riders.

Cars 'share' lanes with bikes ALL THE TIME when they pass us; correspondingly, I share lanes with cars when i pass them.

i always knew Arkansas had some issues with bike traffic.

Last edited by Bekologist; 06-18-11 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 06-18-11, 11:36 PM
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Good to hear that most people agree with my course of action.

I'm not a fan of lane splitting or passing on the right, both for safety and the image I'm portraying. Hopefully I won't encounter that same situation again... it was a hassle. Damn cars slowing me down.
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Old 06-19-11, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hippiebrian View Post
If you're going to get on the sidewalk, walk your bike, don't ride it. It's a bad habit to get into.....
What you say only makes sense for someone who is ruled by habit and incapable of evaluating a particular situation and acting accordingly. For a rational and observant person the statement is silly.

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Old 06-19-11, 06:22 AM
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i ride my bike wherever the least obstacles are.. i switch from sidewalk to road all the time in downtown san jose..
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Old 06-19-11, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
What you say only makes sense for someone who is ruled by habit and incapable of evaluating a particular situation and acting accordingly. For a rational and observant person the statement is silly.

Don in Austin
"Someone who is ruled by habit and incapable of evaluating a particular situation and acting accordingly" = THE definition of so many of our A&S self appointed "Safety" and "THE LAW" experts who habitually spout at every opportunity, chapter and verse from their Dudley-Do-Right brand of Good Book of Cycling Virtue.
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