Sidewalk Riding Redux

Take the (bike) lane!!

Take the (bike) lane!!

I found I have been doing a lot more sidewalk riding lately.

The main reason is stress.

In accordance with popular belief, riding with traffic, even in a shoulder is stressful especially when you see above where there is a blind curve.

Note how if I had been “taking the lane”, I’d be just another statistics. Shit, this truck didn’t even give any space to the bike lane. I guess he thought he was in a bicycle?

Anyway, at this point, there’s nobody on the sidewalk. In fact, I’m highly confused as to why there’s a sidewalk here at all. But whatever, I’m riding on it daily now.

I also ride on it by the school which is right in front of my house. This is because motorists who are driving though the school zone are totally distracted. It’s a wonder that they don’t run down a child (perhaps their own) due to their really shitty driving.

Yes, there are those motorists who do yield and yield. That’s great; let’s protect the kids. But who speeds through a school zone?

We need to step up the child molester people pressure on these people because they literally kill more people than child rapists. Why isn’t this frowned upon more?

Child murders were 978 (under 16 years old) in 2008:

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/law_enforcement_courts_prisons/crimes_and_crime_rates.html

While there were 1,045 (under 13 years old) in 2008 who were pointlessly killed in motor vehicle accidents:

http://www.iihs.org/research/fatality_facts_2008/children.html

Oh, I follow a few rules while riding on the sidewalk?

1. Stop at every driveway and intersection and LOOK.

2. Dismount whenever there’s a pedestrian and until I can pass. Give her lots of room and don’t expect a thanks. Pedestrians belong on the sidewalk, and they deserve respect and the right of way.

Overall, I’m now, proudly, a sidewalk cyclist, and I feel much, much safer and less stressed for it.

Advertisements

10 Responses to “Sidewalk Riding Redux”

  1. Steve A Says:

    I’m glad you feel better about yourself. Two other points that can make sidewalk riding much less dangerous:
    Even on the sidewalk, ride WITH traffic. And ride slow. The closer to pedestrian speed the better. Especially when crossing driveways and at corners.

    • Fred Says:

      I’d really like to know why riding “with the traffic” matters.

      If it helps, there’s NO sidewalk “with the traffic” in my commute so this is impossible.

      Also, I don’t know why I need to ride slowly.

      As I stated in my blog post, I come to a complete stop at every single intersection.

      I peer around each bush and corner and make eye contact w/ each driver. If there is a driver, I yield and wave her through.

      I really can’t see how this is dangerous at all. I really for the life of me can’t see why people feel this is dangerous…but they do. A lot.

      • Steve A Says:

        Every motorist is trained to “look left, then look right, look left one last time and then pull out.” The wrong-way sidewalk cyclist runs afoul of this training, especially as speed increases. That risk is not only at intersections, but also at every driveway. If you read my blog regularly, you would find that even the Colleyville PD noticed that sidewalk cyclists were getting hit OUT OF ALL PROPORTION.

        And it is a situation I have almost hit people on bikes myself many times – even on my bike.

      • Fred Says:

        I look left and right again. However, motorists do NOT look at all. This is a fact. They especially do not look in front of them which makes being in their path be it in an intersection, a travel lane or even a sidewalk near a parking garage potentially deadly.

        I almost got hit while riding on sidewalk today. I did not. Why?

        Because I LOOKED. This was in the original post, and I’d appreciate it if you’d read it and understand it rather than getting me to repost portions of it over and over again.

        BTW, I had WAY more near missing while in the middle of a travel lane than anywhere else. Also, ~= 50% of cyclists ride on the sidewalk, but < 20% of fatalities are to sidewalk riders. This is b/c sidewalk collisions, when they happen are less fatal.

        Thank-you.

  2. zvileve Says:

    A very simple compromise concerning sidewalk safety would be to permit anyone to use the sidewalk, but to have a general sidewalk speed limit of approximately 5 km/hr, which is the speed at which people walk. I say “approximately” intentionally, because this is not a well-defined speed, and I would not want there to be signs every block and overly aggressive enforcement!

    The point is that a variety of user would be permitted to use the sidewalk (roller bladers, skate boarders, and even runners can be a menace on sidewalks too!), but on condition that they are not threatening pedestrians. And how to know if someone is breaking the “speed limit”? Common sense: if there are pedestrians in the area and someone is traveling significantly faster than the pedestrians are walking, then they are going too fast! And if there is no one around to be bothered, then it does not really matter….

    • Fred Says:

      I’m so glad you addressed the legal issue. Whether or not it’s legal or not depends on the local govt. However, in all the cities where I ride on the sidewalk (daily for years, too!) I have NEVER heard of anyone getting any flack from the police.

      Why is this? They don’t care about what happens on the sidewalks. Right or wrong, this is a fact.

      See there are written laws and there are enforced laws.

      Written laws are meaningless. Something might be illegal on the books, but that’s a totally meaningless notion if the police don’t actually enforce that law.

      This is one of many reasons why I endorse sidewalk riding until we get cycle tracks which is soon I hope.

      Also, in my blog post I all ready said that when I see a pedestrian I DISMOUNT AND WALK MY BICYCLE UNTIL I PASS THEM (emphasis mine).

      I’m starting to get sad because I am suspecting people are commenting based on the title of my posts without reading the content.

      Don’t make me sad.

  3. BC Says:

    Better would be to divide the sidewalk, except in those places with bad sight lines (blind driveways/intersections), into exclusive bike path and exclusive walking path, widening where necessary (most places). Then you need to to start improving the intersections. What you would wind up with is essentially cycle tracks.

  4. Steve A Says:

    50% of people ride on sidewalks? Where does that come from? As for the sidewalk riding post versus comments, it illustrates how interpreting something in light of one’s own experience can override what a blogger actually wrote. Around my parts, typically, a sidewalk has a driveway or intersection an average of every 50 feet and stopping at each and every one of those would be slower than walking. As a result, I FAILED to register your situation with long sidewalk runs with no intersections or pedestrians and so I apologize.

    However, your assertion that “motorists do not look at all” is not supported by any evidence I have ever seen and I think it is a dehumanizing stereotype. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of motorists are both careful and considerate and I am CERTAIN my kids are that way. If that were not true, I could not have ridden the last 15000 miles without a single close call. Yes, my commute cycling log turned past 15000 miles earlier this week.

    • Fred Says:

      More on the Sidewalk Back and Forth

      “50% of people ride on sidewalks? Where does that come from?”

      I made it up just as VC people make shit up all the time, I can too.

      From my experience, half the cyclists I see are on the sidewalk. If you have a better source, please send it along.

      Otherwise, don’t agree without any evidence; it wastes my time.

      Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. Duh!

      “As for the sidewalk riding post versus comments, it illustrates how interpreting something in light of one’s own experience can override what a blogger actually wrote. Around my parts, typically, a sidewalk has a driveway or intersection an average of every 50 feet and stopping at each and every one of those would be slower than walking. As a result, I FAILED to register your situation with long sidewalk runs with no intersections or pedestrians and so I apologize.”

      It’s OK. You are a big person for apologizing and my respect for you went WAY UP.

      I’m highly intelligent. Riding on a sidewalk or door zone which is dangerous is stupid. Since I’m not stupid, in the future, you can assume I won’t do anything stupid. I assume others to use their own common sense, too.

      “However, your assertion that “motorists do not look at all” is not supported by any evidence I have ever seen and I think it is a dehumanizing stereotype.”

      You are right. They may look. I don’t really know.

      I do feel that it is safer for me to assume that I am not seen. All my accidents and near misses started with the assumption that “they will stop”. Since then, I have stopped assuming that I will be seen.

      I didn’t mean this as a character attack on motorists and none will be offended. Motorists are far nastier to each other than I am to them so don’t worry about the poor motorists’s delicate sensibilities. If they want to really have thin skin they can check out cycling. 🙂

      “In my experience, the overwhelming majority of motorists are both careful and considerate and I am CERTAIN my kids are that way. If that were not true, I could not have ridden the last 15000 miles without a single close call. Yes, my commute cycling log turned past 15000 miles earlier this week.”

      I have ZERO concern for considerate motorists. Have you seen the Chris Rock’s Civil War rant?

      “I’m a considerate motorist.”

      That’s what yer supposed to do you low-expectation having MF.

      If only 0.000001% of motorists do NOT see me, I’m dead.

      I don’t know why this is such a hard thing to grasp.

      Last commute, I almost got hit 2x!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: