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Bike Riding Rules Question/Safety Considerations

Old 12-14-18, 06:16 AM
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JonBailey
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Bike Riding Rules Question/Safety Considerations

In Idaho, many adults do ride on sidewalks (wherever available) claiming it is safer to do so than ride on the streets.

As long as you warn pedestrians with "on your left" or ding the bike bell or toot the bike horn as you pass, nobody gets mad.

Yes, there are few old men with comical squeeze-ball bike horns. I have a bell. I ding it as I pass people on the riverside bikeway too

that pedestrians, joggers, skaters and dog-walkers also use.

I ride on the sidewalks wherever I think riding on the streets is too dangerous.

This is acceptable in Boise but other cities might frown upon it.


Do you follow all the rules by the book BUT still get called names by people because they just hate bicycles or find them a nuisance?

My current town of Boise, ID is much more bike friendly than it was 15 years and many bike lanes have been added downtown.

Still there are bad drivers who are a danger so I try to stay away from cars as much as possible. I do most of my bike riding on the nearby

college campus and the miles-long riverside bikeway for recreation. The name-calling in Boise is now virtually non-existent but I meet an

occasional idiot or blind person in a car who makes a sudden move I have to take evasive action for. One time just recently, a driver

made a right turn right in front of me on to a residential street as I was continuing straight ahead in a marked bike lane. This was at night and I

had my bright flashing red tail light on even. I should have followed this clown to take down his number and report him to the police. I had to hit my brakes hard

to avoid broadsiding him. Since then, I've installed a mirror on my left hand side and I always check it before crossing an intersection or passing to the left.


PS- I often wear a music headset these days while pedalling. This way I can't hear someone if they were to call me an idiot while on my bike.

I hate name-calling. A music headset is a great way to tune out any negative words that may surround you.

Last edited by JonBailey; 12-14-18 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 12-14-18, 07:05 AM
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TimothyH
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Riding on the sidewalk and in a crosswalk is legal in Idaho.

In most other places it isn't.


Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post
I meet an occasional idiot

I hate name-calling.
If you don't like name calling then why do you do it?


-Tim-
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Old 12-14-18, 07:28 AM
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thanks for the report from Idaho!
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Old 12-14-18, 08:15 AM
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I typically try to follow the rules as posted, as long as it's safest for everyone.
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. 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.

If I'm riding in the street, I am cognizant of the fact that my speed is 10-20mph slower than the operating speed of that road, and try to keep as far right as reasonable. I don't use mirrors much, but I can hear if there's a car back, and can do a shoulder-check without swerving in to the lane. I try to hold up car traffic as little as possible; if there's a wide spot, I'll use it, and 'wave up' the cars behind me to pass. I find that if you acknowledge the cars behind you, they will be a little more patient and give you more room when they do pass.

It's all about making things as smooth as possible for everyone.
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Old 12-14-18, 09:06 AM
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I believe there is a study that shows you are twice as likely to get hit by a car riding on sidewalks than you are riding in the street. There are some very rare occasions where I assess it prudent to ride on the sidewalk, but generally, it makes it a lot more likely to get hit at the intersections and where the sidewalk crosses a driveway.

Not to mention, I don't like having to dodge pedestrians unnecessarily. It's unpleasant for them and for me.
@Ironfish653 has an interesting point in an excellent post about fast arterial roads. I find that the relevant variables for me are the widths of the shoulder and whether the intersections are signaled and/or stop signed. Some of the best riding I do around these parts is a road that has a 55 mph speed limit and really broad smooth shoulders.
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Old 12-14-18, 09:23 AM
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People ride on the sidewalks here, even though it's illegal. The bicycle cops ride on the sidewalks a lot of the time. There's a famous youtube of a cyclist chewing out a driver for cutting him off, then getting run down by the driver. That's my neighborhood. It's dangerous on the street. Lots of distracted drivers, lots of road rage. For a casual run to the shops many cyclists use the sidewalk. It can work.

Sidewalk cyclists who don't want to get yelled at should slow to a walking speed whenever near pedestrians. As a pedestrian I don't mind a cyclist going slowly, but the ones who speed through are annoying and dangerous. People on rideshare bikes are often wobbly but they usually go slow. We don't have a lot of pedestrian density in most places. Riding on the sidewalk you can speed up when there's no one near, then slow to a walk when near people. No one yells at you then, and you still make decent progress for short trips.

I only have a bell on my Pashley Guv'Nor. I never use it. As a pedestrian I find bells irritating. "On your left" is irritating. I actually prefer a good-natured "beep beep" from a cyclist. That's just me; perhaps others prefer a bell or some stage direction. I like "beep beep" -- as long as it's gentle and good natured, and the cyclist is going at walking speed anywhere near me. I apply these "rules" when I ride on the sidewalk, though I pretty much never say anything to pedestrians. I'll wait for an opening or scoot slowly by. No startling people, no one yelling. Urban harmony.
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Old 12-14-18, 09:49 AM
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I follow rules except when I don't, like riding the wrong direction in a bike lane in front of a cop. Oops sorry

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Old 12-14-18, 09:57 AM
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Nice video. I bet that cop was like "eh, makes sense". I know a few cops, and they really get worried when people don't know what theyr're doing. Like they can't control their vehicles or can't make smart decisions. Improvisations that happen to be illegal? Not as much of a problem. I once did some curb-hopping, wrong way stuff on my morotcycle to get out of a jammed parking lot. Did it right in front of a motor cop. He laughed and said, "you seem like you know what you're doing". I answered, "ah, a mis-spent youth on dirt bikes can really pay off". He laughed.
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Old 12-14-18, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by SteelThisBike View Post
I bet that cop was like "eh, makes sense"
his face was more like: "what the heck are you doing riding in a blizzard?" it was one of those rides where I wanted to play in the storm but just at the beginning, before it got bad & then go home & hunker down. schools & businesses were closed & ppl were already hunkering down, which I personally hate to do. I can only imagine him shaking his head saying to himself: "there's always at least one nut out on a bike". I guess cops see it all
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Old 12-14-18, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I follow rules except when I don't
Same here -- my safety is my responsibility, and sometimes following the rules puts you in more danger than breaking them. My only guideline is that I won't make others brake for me or inconvenience those who have the right-of-way. Otherwise, I'm going to do what I need to do.
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Old 12-14-18, 11:31 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
i follow rules except when i don't, like riding the wrong direction in a bike lane in front of a cop. Oops sorry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbbgcb0thl0
Reported to the A&S forum.
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Old 12-14-18, 11:37 AM
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The only rule I regularly break is not sitting at stoplights when there is otherwise no traffic.

Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I believe there is a study that shows you are twice as likely to get hit by a car riding on sidewalks than you are riding in the street. There are some very rare occasions where I assess it prudent to ride on the sidewalk, but generally, it makes it a lot more likely to get hit at the intersections and where the sidewalk crosses a driveway.

Not to mention, I don't like having to dodge pedestrians unnecessarily. It's unpleasant for them and for me.
@Ironfish653 has an interesting point in an excellent post about fast arterial roads. I find that the relevant variables for me are the widths of the shoulder and whether the intersections are signaled and/or stop signed. Some of the best riding I do around these parts is a road that has a 55 mph speed limit and really broad smooth shoulders.
+1.

There are some places I simply make the judgement that sidewalks are safer, but they are few and far between. Most around me aren't big enough to accommodate a bike at pretty much any speed, especially with pedestrians. To me, it is akin to driving through a pedestrian zone: you just don't do it unless there are a lack of safe alternatives.
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Old 12-14-18, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post


PS- I often wear a music headset these days while pedalling. This way I can't hear someone if they were to call me an idiot while on my bike.

I hate name-calling. A music headset is a great way to tune out any negative words that may surround you.
It's also a terrific way to tune out the traffic sounds which could be deadly. Remember, there's not much protection on a bike. I'm just sayin'................
Jon
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Old 12-14-18, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Reported to the A&S forum.
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Old 12-14-18, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by EdwinHeadwind View Post
following the rules
& I know, we all know, rules are good & made for a reason. as-in, someone got killed doing "this" so let's find a way to prevent "that". last thing I want to do, is break a rule thinking it's OK, only to get blind sided by a semi!
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Old 12-14-18, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post
...I've installed a mirror on my left hand side and I always check it before crossing an intersection or passing to the left.
Excellent. A good mirror makes for good confidence. You may want to try a helmet- or glasses-mounted mirror.

I have never liked listening to music with headphones while riding...too isolating from traffic. But for the last seven years I have been listening to spoken word podcasts in my right ear while I bike-commute (now in my 26th year of doing so).

With the proliferation of bike lanes in Colorado Springs I hear fewer curses from driver, and I find myself on the sidewalk less and less. Usually when I ride to an unfamiliar location where I don't have a good on-street option. Although planning ahead with maps on the internet really, really helps with that. I would love to visit my 11-year old self in 1973 and explain that I could not only pull a telephone out of my pocket and look at a map of where I am, but also look at a detailled satellite photo and a street view!

Finally @JonBailey you sound like you have put some thought into bike safety and common courtesy. That in itself can only lead to safer, more enjoyable cycling.

Happy cycling!
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Old 12-14-18, 01:28 PM
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Here (Sacramento, California) it is permitted to ride on the sidewalk except where it's expressly prohibited. But because it's rarely safer or more efficient than the street, I avoid it almost always. Exceptions include the last few feet from the curb cutout to the door of the garage and where there are obstructions in the street. Always ride at walking speed and yield to pedestrians. It's called a sideWALK for a reason.
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Old 12-14-18, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
rules are good & made for a reason. as-in, someone got killed doing "this" so let's find a way to prevent "that".
Yeah, I'm not sure every rule has had that much thought put into it. Some stop signs, for example, are placed simply for their "traffic calming" effect.
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Old 12-14-18, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by EdwinHeadwind View Post
Yeah, I'm not sure every rule has had that much thought put into it. Some stop signs, for example, are placed simply for their "traffic calming" effect.
oh "traffic calming" don't get me started. tore a car tire on a curb in the middle of a street & Wifey crashed into a bollard on a bike trail breaking her wrist. I guess we shouldn't be crashing into stuff they keep putting in front of us, huh?
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Old 12-14-18, 04:58 PM
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I snapped a bike right in half crashing into a curb "bulb-out" which is a peninsula that juts halfway out in the lane.
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Old 12-15-18, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I snapped a bike right in half crashing into a curb "bulb-out" which is a peninsula that juts halfway out in the lane.
without a bike lanes, those things are worse for cyclists even if they help pedestrians
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Old 12-16-18, 06:45 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I snapped a bike right in half crashing into a curb "bulb-out" which is a peninsula that juts halfway out in the lane.
Was the curb "bulb-out" invisible?
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Old 12-16-18, 07:51 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post
In Idaho, many adults do ride on sidewalks (wherever available) claiming it is safer to do so than ride on the streets.

As long as you warn pedestrians with "on your left" or ding the bike bell or toot the bike horn as you pass, nobody gets mad.

Yes, there are few old men with comical squeeze-ball bike horns. I have a bell. I ding it as I pass people on the riverside bikeway too

that pedestrians, joggers, skaters and dog-walkers also use.

I ride on the sidewalks wherever I think riding on the streets is too dangerous.

This is acceptable in Boise but other cities might frown upon it.


Do you follow all the rules by the book BUT still get called names by people because they just hate bicycles or find them a nuisance?

My current town of Boise, ID is much more bike friendly than it was 15 years and many bike lanes have been added downtown.

Still there are bad drivers who are a danger so I try to stay away from cars as much as possible. I do most of my bike riding on the nearby

college campus and the miles-long riverside bikeway for recreation. The name-calling in Boise is now virtually non-existent but I meet an

occasional idiot or blind person in a car who makes a sudden move I have to take evasive action for. One time just recently, a driver

made a right turn right in front of me on to a residential street as I was continuing straight ahead in a marked bike lane. This was at night and I

had my bright flashing red tail light on even. I should have followed this clown to take down his number and report him to the police. I had to hit my brakes hard

to avoid broadsiding him. Since then, I've installed a mirror on my left hand side and I always check it before crossing an intersection or passing to the left.
Sounds like you need to install a couple of gopros to your bike/helmet.


PS- I often wear a music headset these days while pedalling. This way I can't hear someone if they were to call me an idiot while on my bike.

I hate name-calling. A music headset is a great way to tune out any negative words that may surround you.
Which is why its illegal.

Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
The only rule I regularly break is not sitting at stoplights when there is otherwise no traffic.



+1.

There are some places I simply make the judgement that sidewalks are safer, but they are few and far between. Most around me aren't big enough to accommodate a bike at pretty much any speed, especially with pedestrians. To me, it is akin to driving through a pedestrian zone: you just don't do it unless there are a lack of safe alternatives.
Stop signs, yes. Stop lights never. I don't come to a complete stop at stop signs when I can clearly see ahead there's no traffic or pedestrians. I tried it once and it just seemed ridiculous when there were no cars or pedestrians around. Cyclist can see (and hear) well beyond what a motorist can.
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Old 12-16-18, 07:53 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I believe there is a study that shows you are twice as likely to get hit by a car riding on sidewalks than you are riding in the street. There are some very rare occasions where I assess it prudent to ride on the sidewalk, but generally, it makes it a lot more likely to get hit at the intersections and where the sidewalk crosses a driveway.

Not to mention, I don't like having to dodge pedestrians unnecessarily. It's unpleasant for them and for me.
@Ironfish653 has an interesting point in an excellent post about fast arterial roads. I find that the relevant variables for me are the widths of the shoulder and whether the intersections are signaled and/or stop signed. Some of the best riding I do around these parts is a road that has a 55 mph speed limit and really broad smooth shoulders.
There is one section of my commute in which the sidewalk is definitely a safer option for about 300 meters. Id rather dodge the occasional pedestrian than get hit by a car. Otherwise, yeah, sidewalks are for walkers.
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Old 12-17-18, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Stop signs, yes. Stop lights never. I don't come to a complete stop at stop signs when I can clearly see ahead there's no traffic or pedestrians. I tried it once and it just seemed ridiculous when there were no cars or pedestrians around. Cyclist can see (and hear) well beyond what a motorist can.
To be clear, there is a very particular type of red light I won't sit at: the crappy little town ones by my house that really have no useful purpose other than the council had money to blow on infrastructure one year. That, and ones I absolutely know a bike won't trigger.
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