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Sidewalks

Old 02-17-20, 12:01 PM
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Rajflyboy
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Sidewalks

What are your feelings concerning riding on sidewalks ? Yes we know the laws but do you ride on sidewalks and why?

For me it all depends. If itís more safe and no one is walking on the sidewalk I will certainly ride on it but I will respect others who may be walking/riding on the sidewalk down the road. I do think it is more safe although you really have to be careful at intersections.
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Old 02-17-20, 12:09 PM
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As a general rule, no. On my commute, there's about a 50 yard stretch that I ride on the sidewalk to work in the morning.

I used to do the same on my commute home in Seattle. Steep hill (so I'm going very slow) 45+ mph speed limit, and no shoulder or bikelane.

So if it's safer to, I do, but that's pretty rare in general.
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Old 02-17-20, 12:25 PM
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Only sidewalk I use is to avoid a 1/4 mile stretch on a curved busy street without bike lanes with truck traffic. After being squeezed a couple of times into the gutter, I gave in to the sidewalk. I have not encountered peds on this sidewalk. Otherwise sidewalks belong to peds not me.
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Old 02-17-20, 12:34 PM
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Yes, I do jump onto sidewalks when traffic is heavy or if cars are acting unpredictably and may come into my path. It's just so much easier for me to make the decision in advance to get out of those cars way, whenever possible. Plus, it keeps me in practice of quick maneuvering on a bike.

I do my best to leave sidewalks for pedestrians when they are present. If I need to use a sidewalk or path when pedestrians are present, I'll go off the sidewalk into grass or dirt well before I come upon those pedestrians. If not possible, I'll slow down to walking speed or get off the bike if need be.

Of course, I'm not a commuter, so my riding needs are different than others.
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Old 02-17-20, 12:48 PM
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First of all, riding on sidewalks is legal here (although not encouraged overall, and pedestrians do have priority), due to the lack of bike lanes. Most of the time I ride on the road, but I will use sidewalks if:
- using road gets too dangerous;
- using sidewalk allows for a shortcut or bypassing a traffic light;
- I can use an empty sidewalk to let traffic behind me pass.

That said, usually riding on road is much faster, and might be safer as well.
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Old 02-17-20, 12:56 PM
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I cannot think of a better way to hurt myself by crashing into a mother of three with a triple-wide baby-jogger, then ricocheting off some teenage roller-disco queen with full-volume earbuds and zero awareness before tangling up in the 12-foot leash of an oblivious dog-walker.

I could maybe hit any two of the three on an MUP, but getting them all close enough together for the triple-points score takes the confines of a sidewalk.

Unfortunately, "sidewalk speed" is walking speed so none of the injuries are serious. Can't win 'em all.
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Old 02-17-20, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
- using sidewalk allows for a shortcut or bypassing a traffic light;
- I can use an empty sidewalk to let traffic behind me pass.
This. Good call, Subgrade. If there is a driveway entrance I iwll pull onto the sidewalk long enough to let traffic pass. Courteous and improves Everyone's survival chances.

Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
-That said, usually riding on road is much faster, and might be safer as well.
Again, I concur.
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Old 02-17-20, 01:13 PM
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Where we live, and there are sidewalks, there are not many people (if any) that you see on them. So, I will ride on them, but will go off into the grass or dismount if necessary to allow pedestrians to use the walkway. I have had people move off of the walk to let me by, I thank them and mention I would have gone into the grass so they didn't have to. All have been very nice about it, but I'm not often in an area which has sidewalks, so it hasn't happened a lot. Probably wouldn't ride the sidewalk in Louisville city proper, where there would be a good bit of foot traffic on the walk.
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Old 02-17-20, 01:25 PM
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For the most part, I avoid it, but have a couple very specific places where it's almost a necessity. Frankly, I find the riding conditions on sidewalks fairly miserable, with often uneven surfaces, bad sight lines, and constant transitions back and forth with the road.
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Old 02-17-20, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
For the most part, I avoid it, but have a couple very specific places where it's almost a necessity. Frankly, I find the riding conditions on sidewalks fairly miserable, with often uneven surfaces, bad sight lines, and constant transitions back and forth with the road.
Yep, nothing like sidewalks with roots underneath to push up individual sections by a few inches. Or small sinkholes from water drainage problems. It's not much different than offroading, especially when slimy muck settles in the low spots.
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Old 02-17-20, 01:36 PM
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Safety literature, from LAB, discourages sidewalk bicycling. All the evidence I have read suggests it is more dangerous. Most of our bicycle safety training ended at the age of 7 when an adult let go of our bike saddle. Check out Smart cycling https://www.bikeleague.org/ridesmart

in terms of some of the comments already made above, I do not disagree that there are locations where leaving the street is a good idea for a short distance. It also is the same street where you should become an advocate and demand your community follow Complete Streets.
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Old 02-17-20, 01:46 PM
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Interesting thread

not as many total sidewalks haters as I expected
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Old 02-17-20, 01:52 PM
  #13  
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Here in the suburbs most sidewalks have very little pedestrian traffic. I use sidewalks to bypass road sections which are too dangerous to ride and I use sidewalks to connect with roads along my routes which I ride..TBH I hate riding on the sidewalks but sometimes it's necessary because of lack of cycling infrastructure. I prefer the road most of the time...After 13 years of commuting and recreational riding I do notice that our roads are more dangerous now than many years ago because of distracted, aggressive, impatient drivers.
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Old 02-17-20, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
For the most part, I avoid it, but have a couple very specific places where it's almost a necessity. Frankly, I find the riding conditions on sidewalks fairly miserable, with often uneven surfaces, bad sight lines, and constant transitions back and forth with the road.
Uneven surfaces are not a problem for me, I don't mind obstacles, they can be fun and an opportunity to improve awareness and bike handling skills...The transitions between sidewalks and road and frequent driveway crossing is what I find most annoying and dangerous. Another thing that I find annoying is frequent bus stops. Some bus stops have crowds of people who find it too much effort to move over few inches to the side to let the cyclist through.
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Old 02-17-20, 02:21 PM
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It's legal in Colorado Springs unless posted.

Like some have posted above,I prefer riding in the street; riding in the street is faster. But when there is no bike lane, and the street is fast and busy I will take the sidewalk. Of course pedestrians get the right of way.

I commute to work and can choose among 5 routes in to work and four back. Only one route lets me ride all the way without feeling the need to use any portion of a sidewalk.
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Old 02-17-20, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Rajflyboy View Post
Interesting thread

not as many total sidewalks haters as I expected
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Here in the suburbs most sidewalks have very little pedestrian traffic. I use sidewalks to bypass road sections which are too dangerous to ride and I use sidewalks to connect with roads along my routes which I ride..TBH I hate riding on the sidewalks but sometimes it's necessary because of lack of cycling infrastructure. I prefer the road most of the time...After 13 years of commuting and recreational riding I do notice that our roads are more dangerous now than many years ago because of distracted, aggressive, impatient drivers.

Yeah, I used to be a lot more doctrinaire about this, telling people they shouldn't blah blah blah, but have since realized they know a lot more about their local conditions than I ever will.
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Old 02-17-20, 06:21 PM
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I ended up riding the sidewalk on a freeway overpass on my commute after about a year of trying to ride it the legal way on the street.

I very much wanted to be seen setting a good example by obeying the law against riding on the sidewalk, but I was unable to find a way of doing so without having trash thrown at me among other acts of harassment. If anybody else rode their bicycle on the street through there, I never saw it in 5 years of commuting through that overpass.
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Old 02-17-20, 06:44 PM
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Only if there is giant construction blocking the street and the sidewalk is the only way.
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Old 02-17-20, 07:05 PM
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Around where I am, riders that I see on the sidewalk tend to be immigrants and the occasional youthful rider. Faster moving and better equipped (lighting, etc...) cyclists take their chances on the road. I will occasionally use a sidewalk if it offers some sort of advantage to my journey. Today I actually journeyed onto a sidewalk in order to use the pedestrian walkway along a bridge because the road traffic was especially thick and, on bridges, there's no shoulder for escape. I'd prefer to stay on the road or a designated bike lane but survival is the name of the game and I will go where I believe my chances for survival are best.
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Old 02-17-20, 07:43 PM
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There is a convenience store about 1/4 mile up a 4 lane street from my condo. My normal practice is to ride the sidewalk to the store and ride the street on the way home. It saves me two busy street crossings.
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Old 02-17-20, 07:56 PM
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I ride a lot on the sidewalk. 99% of the time there is no one on them. On the rare time there is I get off and go around the person, giving them priority. 32mm tires work good. Of course I use 25&28mm as well, but the 32mm I can fly but 25mm I have to pick my way.
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Old 02-17-20, 08:07 PM
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I'll sideride when my safety on the roadways are at a high risk. I pay my taxes to use those surface areas to where I ride.
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Old 02-17-20, 08:18 PM
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During the winter, there are streets where the sidewalks are cleared of snow and the streets aren't. So I ride up the sidewalks. It's during commuting time, and virtually nobody is out there. When there's a pedestrian, I either dismount and walk my bike past them, or dip back out into the street.

Everything is situational.
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Old 02-17-20, 08:22 PM
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I hate riding on sidewalks, but I'll do it for a block or two in the city when it's convenient. The few places that comes up have sidewalks that seldom have pedestrians. I wouldn't ride on sidewalks where people were walking. That would be rude.
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Old 02-17-20, 09:18 PM
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I recommend avoiding sidewalks unless absolutely needed. If you find that for both yourself and the others users of the sidewalk that you are safer on the sidewalk then go for it but generally that is not the case. Frequently I see people racing down the hill in front of our shop on bikes or those damn scooters and I am quite surprised I haven't seen anyone get hurt. Careless and reckless behavior anywhere is not ok no matter what you are riding or where you are riding.
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