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Riding a bike on the sidewalk

  1. Jul 31, 2005 #1
    I just read that a bicyclist is supposed to ride on the right side of the lane (with traffic), and not on the sidewalk. Why is this?

    Personally I ride on the sidewalk all the time, as it feels more comfortable, and safe. However, I have always ridden a 20" bmx bike, so I usually do not go at the faster pace of a road bike.
     
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  3. Jul 31, 2005 #2

    Evo

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    Supposedly sidewalks are for pedestrians, but you rarely see pedestrians on the sidewalk and it's dangerous for people on bikes to be on busy roads. Laws are sometimes stupid. :grumpy: I'd much rather have someone on a bike riding on a sidewalk, away from traffic.
     
  4. Jul 31, 2005 #3
    I ride my bike on the sidewalk all the time. The 'law' is enforced rather loosely.. not that big of a deal.
     
  5. Aug 1, 2005 #4
    Ohh wow, I did not even know it was a law: I thought it was a recommendation. Though it now makes sense why they had that listed.

    Personally I will continue to break the law because it seems more safe.
     
  6. Aug 1, 2005 #5

    cronxeh

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    the monkey on the typewriter who wrote this law was, at the moment, on amphetamines
     
  7. Aug 1, 2005 #6

    Integral

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    The stipulation, of course, is that you ride on the sidewalk in a safe and courteous manner when, and if, pedestrians are present.

    I am fortunate to live in an area where there are abundant bicycle paths. So, in most places, it is not necessary to ride on the sidewalks or the street.
     
  8. Aug 1, 2005 #7

    Monique

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    I always used to ride on the sidewalk. When there was no sidewalk, I would find another way to it or just go somewhere else. Far too dangerous to ride on the road with cars.

    I haven't seen a single bicycle lane in the US and in the suburbs I also haven't seen a single person walking on the sidewalk.. the choice is then easy.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2005 #8
    Many countries, many bike laws. In Germany the law prescribes that kids shall bicycle on the sidewalk.
     
  10. Aug 1, 2005 #9

    arildno

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    Bicycles are to be on the road, not on the sidewalk. End of assertion.
     
  11. Aug 1, 2005 #10

    in many European countries there are special bike lines exclusivelly made for bicyclers with their own signal lights and all the stuff. we have nothig like that in N.America and propably never gonna have.
     
  12. Aug 1, 2005 #11

    Monique

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    Ever been to the US?
     
  13. Aug 1, 2005 #12

    arildno

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    Nope.
    However, I have been the victim of bicyclical terrorism as I was just walking peacefully on the sidewalk here in Norway. :grumpy:
     
  14. Aug 1, 2005 #13
    Same law over here. When I lived in the suburbs I always rode on the sidewalk, cause there's no one there. But now I live in the near the CBD, the sidwalks are always busy, and so I ride on the road. I also find that around the CBD drivers are far more aware of bikes, and so they look out for you. But I ride my bike every day almost, and as long as you are careful and don't act stupid its not too bad.
     
  15. Aug 1, 2005 #14

    arildno

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    And, of course, in Australia, you would have to compete with those pesky kangaroos for sidewalk space, so I understand why you use the road instead.
     
  16. Aug 1, 2005 #15

    adrenaline

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    When I am road training and riding fast (an average speed of 18-20mph,) I ride on the road. When I'm just tooling around the neighborhood on a mountain bike, I go on the sidewalk but I bunny hop back into the road if I see any pedestrians (they have right of way.) By the way, here in Atlanta there is a very antagonistic attitude towards us bicyclists. ( Two to three days a week I bike commute thirty miles to work to save gas and keep in race form shape for mountain biking)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2005
  17. Aug 1, 2005 #16

    DocToxyn

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    Exactly, if you're on the sidewalk coming out of a store or coming around a corner, are you expecting to encounter a large mass of metal, rubber and human to be coming at you at 25+ mph? I ride to go fast and I can't do that on a sidewalk. It's much safer to be on the street for both cyclists and pedestrians. The car drivers are (hopefully) looking to see such things and are ready for them. Most pedestrians aren't paying that much attention and sidewalks aren't set-up to deal with highspeed traffic (no stop signs, lights, turning lanes, etc.). I've got some sources on this issue somewhere, I'll dig them up soon.
     
  18. Aug 1, 2005 #17

    Moonbear

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    Whatever the actual laws are, if a bicyclist is going fast (like when you're commuting to work or training for a race), you should stay on a road, but over to the right so faster cars can pass you easily (I get very annoyed with the bicyclists riding down the center of the lane as if they own the road; even a tractor trailer will pull toward the right when they know they can't go as fast as traffic and give you some room to get around, so this should be much easier for a bicyclist).

    If the bicyclist is a child with training wheels, or otherwise inexperienced or slow, and likely they'll fall often, I'd say stay on the sidewalk and just stop or slow down or carefully go around pedestrians. If the sidewalk is very crowded, such as in a city, someone who isn't safe to ride their bike in the street should walk their bike on the sidewalk (they're no safer to be riding on the sidewalk).

    Don't they teach these rules to kids in school? When I was in school, they taught us bicycle safety along with rules of the road so we'd be safe riding our bikes. I often wish they would require a test to "license" bicyclists before they are allowed out on the roads. Afterall, if they are going to share the road with cars, and are expected to follow the same rules, they too should get tested and licensed to prove they are sufficiently knowledgable to do that. Perhaps just the written test portion about road signs, right of way, how to signal turns, helmet laws, etc.

    Interestingly, I recall way back when I took my driving test in NJ that a portion of our driver's ed class covered bicycles, though from the perspective of drivers and what their signals are and who yields to whom, etc. But, I've never seen that addressed in the driving manual in any other state I've lived in. Education is probably needed on both sides to keep the roads safe for both bicyclists and drivers (as well as pedestrians in places where there are no sidewalks; if you're a pedestrian, you're supposed to walk on the LEFT side of the road, not the right, so you have a clear view of the cars coming your way...I really don't understand the people around here who wear all dark clothing and then walk down the middle of the road at night or run out from between cars to cross the street rather than at the crosswalk at the corner).
     
  19. Aug 1, 2005 #18

    matthyaouw

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    In the UK, it is illegal to ride on the pavement, and there is a £30 fine if you are caught(about $50 i think), though its not always enforced. Kids up to age 4 or 5 can get away with it if they are accompanied by a parent, but kids don't get any cycle training until 11 or 12, and even then it doesn't really give them much experience with traffic.
     
  20. Aug 1, 2005 #19

    Monique

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    Here in the Netherlands in the last year of primary school you are required to take a bicycle road test, where you take a certain route and on stragetic points there are people watching the kids and noting down how they perform. It prepares you for high school where all the kids have to get on their bikes and go through traffic everyday (primary school is usually in walking distance).
     
  21. Aug 1, 2005 #20

    Moonbear

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    That's a really good idea. Schools are set up pretty much like that in the US too, where the elementary (primary) schools are either within walking distance or buses are provided or the parents drive the kids to school, but then the junior high and high schools are further away and more kids start biking to school rather than walking or getting rides from parents (buses are still usually provided to kids who are too far for a reasonable biking distance or who would need to cross very dangerous/busy roads). So, it would make sense to do the same thing when kids are at that age where they're getting old enough to bike to school without a parent accompanying them.
     
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