Author Topic: Ride on the Sidewalk?  (Read 10074 times)

dandarc

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Ride on the Sidewalk?
« on: August 15, 2014, 02:53:33 PM »
As I'm approaching a particular intersection on my bike route in the bike lane, a right-turn lane appears which is to the right of the bike lane.  As I want to turn right, I get in the right lane.  This is the steepest uphill part of my ride, so I am going very slowly.  Try to stay out of the way, and there is plenty of space for cars to get around me but it still makes me nervous.  There is a sidewalk along side, and I'm thinking of using that instead. 

I can get  on the sidewalk at the last driveway that is a good ways away from the intersection, then other than right at this intersection, there is no driveway crossing until I am well past this spot - at the next crosswalk, I can just merge back over into the bike lane (very carefully, of course).  It is legal to ride on the sidewalk here provided we yield to pedestrians and so on.  And I've yet to see a pedestrian on the sidewalk along here - I'm sure someone has walked it, but this is not really close to anything so not much pedestrian traffic.

Am I missing anything here?  I know staying in the road is within my rights, but given how hard a time I have getting up this hill, might be best to not be in the road.




RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2014, 03:24:38 PM »
As long as you're going slow, which it sounds like you have to choice to, sounds fine.  I have no problems hopping on sidewalks briefly if it's the safest route around something.  Most bicycling accidents happen on the sidewalk, but that's when you don't slow down.  If you're going pedestrian speeds and yielding as needed it shouldn't matter.

dycker1978

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 03:25:22 PM »
I will get on the sidewalk if safe from time to time in the harder area's of my commute.

iamadummy

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 03:59:58 PM »
Sidewalk is a better option. Now days too many people talking on the phone or texting. Don't want to get swipped.

Russ

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 04:26:05 PM »
Getting hit from behind is by far the rarest car-bike collision. As you've said, there's plenty of room for both you and passing cars. And I suspect whatever right-turning crosswalk bike lane merge you're imagining is more dangerous than you think. Stay on the road.

Plus you'll be making it harder for the rest of us (and yourself) to get respect where we belong.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 07:56:44 PM »
Getting hit from behind is by far the rarest car-bike collision. As you've said, there's plenty of room for both you and passing cars. And I suspect whatever right-turning crosswalk bike lane merge you're imagining is more dangerous than you think. Stay on the road.

Plus you'll be making it harder for the rest of us (and yourself) to get respect where we belong.

+1

GuitarStv

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 08:54:23 AM »
Getting hit from behind is by far the rarest car-bike collision. As you've said, there's plenty of room for both you and passing cars. And I suspect whatever right-turning crosswalk bike lane merge you're imagining is more dangerous than you think. Stay on the road.

Plus you'll be making it harder for the rest of us (and yourself) to get respect where we belong.

+1

+1

If you're on the road and cycling predictably cars will both see you and know what to expect.  If you want to go on the sidewalk, dismount and become a pedestrian.  People who say they bike on sidewalks at the same speed as pedestrians are lying.  If they really were going the same speed they wouldn't mind dismounting.

ender

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 09:22:29 AM »
I'm always scared every time I turn right on green that some moron biker is going to be flying up the sidewalks and then either hit me or I hit them.

I live in a college town so this is probably a high possibility, add in lots of stupid bikers who almost exclusively bike on sidewalks? ugh.

Sparafusile

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2014, 09:25:36 AM »
Try not to act timid. Car drivers can smell the fear on you. Even if it were dangerous for motor vehicles to pass you on the hill, you shouldn't be on the sidewalk - you should be in the middle of the lane! As a cyclist you have the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle on the road. You are allowed to own the lane for your own safety. This doesn't seem to be the case here, so by all means let them pass. Once you've done it a few times you'll get use to them passing and it wont bother you any more. They will get use to seeing cyclists and make it easier for all of us.

RapmasterD

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2014, 03:08:12 PM »
It's called a sideWALK. No. And yes I ride my bike, including over a crazy scary highway overpass.

dandarc

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2014, 04:01:22 PM »
All right, got it, keep it in the road.  Getting into the right turn lane immediately when it is available is the correct move yes?  That's what I'd do in my car.  That leaves what is a pretty wide right-turn lane + the bike lane for people to pass me, until I'm right at the intersection.  Situation looks pretty much like this, except there is a bike lane on the crossing street as well:



Anyone's opinion change if we replace 'sidewalk' with 'multi-use trail'?  Not on this route, but nearby we have a road that's 6 lanes wide, has bike lanes and also has a paved trail running parallel, about where your traditional concrete sidewalk would be.

I think I thought about this only because had my first driver yell at me while I was laboring up the hill in the turn lane, and my wife pointed out that riding on the sidewalk actually is legal here (and showed me the statute) on the same day.

MDM

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2014, 04:44:28 PM »
...there is plenty of space for cars to get around me but it still makes me nervous.
Trust your instincts.  As you get more experienced and improve your climbing speed you might decide that staying on the road is better (because "...plenty of space...").  For now, you have described a situation where moving to the sidewalk is a perfectly feasible ("legal here") and reasonable approach (because "...makes me nervous.").

Eggman111

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2014, 05:43:12 PM »
I have a similar turn on my way to work, except I'm on level ground instead of a hill. I stay in the road and take the lane about 1/3 in, until I can merge back into the bike lane. Even on a hill, I would stay in the road. Based on the diagram, because of the bike lane and turn lane, people can go around you if they need to, except when you're in the turn itself. That's such a short distance that if any driver is mad that you made them less than a minute late, they can deal with it themselves.

With a multi-use trail, I would consider using it more, because then people should expect it. Even if cycling in the sidewalk is legal in your area, I still don't believe drivers are looking there.

Dismounting and walking is also an option, but even on hills in the lowest gear I still bike faster than walking.

Russ

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2014, 08:15:18 PM »
...there is plenty of space for cars to get around me but it still makes me nervous.
Trust your instincts.  As you get more experienced and improve your climbing speed you might decide that staying on the road is better (because "...plenty of space...").  For now, you have described a situation where moving to the sidewalk is a perfectly feasible ("legal here") and reasonable approach (because "...makes me nervous.").

how is OP ever going to get un-nervous then?

daverobev

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2014, 09:10:53 PM »
Can you get a bike cam? Drivers yelling at cyclists should be reported.

MDM

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2014, 10:07:47 PM »
how is OP ever going to get un-nervous then?
Good question.  Without knowing more about the OP and the location in question, one can only speculate.  So speculating: either OP will develop more expertise  (and the confidence that comes with it) as general cycling experience grows - or it actually is smarter to take the sidewalk in this particular location.

Rollin

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2014, 06:20:19 AM »
As long as you're going slow, which it sounds like you have to choice to, sounds fine.  I have no problems hopping on sidewalks briefly if it's the safest route around something.  Most bicycling accidents happen on the sidewalk, but that's when you don't slow down.  If you're going pedestrian speeds and yielding as needed it shouldn't matter.

Not related to your particular instance (i.e., yes, go for the sidewalk since it is brief and you are slow there), but as Ryan said it is more dangerous generally - 14 times more apt to have an accident on a sidewalk.

GuitarStv

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2014, 07:55:34 AM »
Anyone's opinion change if we replace 'sidewalk' with 'multi-use trail'?  Not on this route, but nearby we have a road that's 6 lanes wide, has bike lanes and also has a paved trail running parallel, about where your traditional concrete sidewalk would be.

Maybe.  MUPs should be designed to be safer for cyclists than sidewalks . . . but often they are not.  It would be a judgement call based on the path design.

Scandium

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2014, 08:29:25 AM »
On the road the cars are in control of accidents, on the sidewalk you are in control. Easy choice; ride on the sidewalk and pay attention. Better than riding on the road and relying on someone else to pay attention (hah! as if they will).

Is it legal? Probably not, but who cares? a) risk of being arrested is minimal and b) better in jail than dead.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 08:34:39 AM by Scandium »

GuitarStv

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2014, 09:35:18 AM »
On the road the cars are in control of accidents, on the sidewalk you are in control. Easy choice; ride on the sidewalk and pay attention. Better than riding on the road and relying on someone else to pay attention (hah! as if they will).

Is it legal? Probably not, but who cares? a) risk of being arrested is minimal and b) better in jail than dead.

The illusion of control that you are talking about is not reality.  Check the stats.  By distance traveled, many times more cyclists on sidewalks are hit by cars than cyclists on roadways.  Any time there's a driveway, entrance to a parking lot, or any other crossing for cars that goes over the sidewalk you are more likely to be hit because the vehicle isn't expecting you to be moving that quickly on a walking path, and therefore aren't looking for you.

It's comparatively rare for a car to run into a cyclist who is on the road . . . even if they hate you being there, they usually don't want to get the cyclist shaped dent in their bumper.

Scandium

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2014, 11:28:06 AM »
On the road the cars are in control of accidents, on the sidewalk you are in control. Easy choice; ride on the sidewalk and pay attention. Better than riding on the road and relying on someone else to pay attention (hah! as if they will).

Is it legal? Probably not, but who cares? a) risk of being arrested is minimal and b) better in jail than dead.

The illusion of control that you are talking about is not reality.  Check the stats.  By distance traveled, many times more cyclists on sidewalks are hit by cars than cyclists on roadways.  Any time there's a driveway, entrance to a parking lot, or any other crossing for cars that goes over the sidewalk you are more likely to be hit because the vehicle isn't expecting you to be moving that quickly on a walking path, and therefore aren't looking for you.

It's comparatively rare for a car to run into a cyclist who is on the road . . . even if they hate you being there, they usually don't want to get the cyclist shaped dent in their bumper.
That's why I said pay attention. There are of course lots of non-attentive cyclists too. And those are likely the ones that get injured. When you see a car in a crossing, assume they won't see you and take appropriate action. Versus being on the road and assuming the car takes the correct action? In a situation where they risk a dent covered by insurance and you risk life-long injuries, at best? No thanks!

In car vs car; ok, I'll take the risk because I might survive. But when the power balance is so skewed (SUV vs skinny guy on bike) there is no way you can convince me to rely on other people being responsible/attentive. I do not have that much faith in humanity.

Lis

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2014, 12:07:24 PM »
I'm of the opinion that safety is better than pride. You're allowed on the road in a bike lane, great. You're allowed on the sidewalk which may or may not be safer, great. Do what feels comfortable and safe for you. If both options are legal, then who cares what other drivers/walkers think?

GuitarStv

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2014, 12:50:03 PM »
That's why I said pay attention. There are of course lots of non-attentive cyclists too. And those are likely the ones that get injured. When you see a car in a crossing, assume they won't see you and take appropriate action. Versus being on the road and assuming the car takes the correct action? In a situation where they risk a dent covered by insurance and you risk life-long injuries, at best? No thanks!

In car vs car; ok, I'll take the risk because I might survive. But when the power balance is so skewed (SUV vs skinny guy on bike) there is no way you can convince me to rely on other people being responsible/attentive. I do not have that much faith in humanity.

You won't see the car every time.  It's pretty foolhardy to believe that you can.  A car that's driving behind you and then decides to turn will only be scanning the sidewalk that crosses the driveway they're about to enter.  That's enough line of sight to see pedestrians, but is not far enough back to see a cyclist as we move much faster on bikes.

There is a reason that it's 20 times more dangerous to bike on the sidewalk than the street (http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/Moritz2.htm) . . . it's not because every person on the sidewalk is negligent.

Timmmy

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2014, 01:36:40 PM »
Take whatever path is the safest for you.  Notice I didn't say "feels the safest".  Each person needs to be able to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.  High speed,  frequently traveled roads that have long approaches before the sidewalk with good visibility will be safer on the sidewalk.  Roads with frequent blind streets and driveways will be safer on the road regardless (probably) of the street traffic.

There are places I refuse to ride in the street and others I refuse to ride on the sidewalk.  I frankly don't care what image of cyclists I'm portraying while riding on the sidewalk.  If I determine that the safest place for me to ride is the sidewalk that's where I'm going.  I'd rather be alive with a bad image.

Funny story...  I was riding along a stretch of road (in the road) and got stopped at an intersection.  A guy on a bike came up next to me on the sidewalk and started telling me about how dangerous it was to be in the road.  As the light changes we start pedaling away, we are riding about the same speed with him just in front of me when the front door of a business he is riding past opens.  He hit the edge of the door at a decent speed and comes to a very abrupt halt.  I stopped and checked and nobody was hurt but man did he feel stupid. 

Bottom line is, every situation is unique and should be assessed individually.  Ride in the safest spot.  It's frequently going to be the road but there are plenty of times where the sidewalk is safer. 

dandarc

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2014, 01:59:19 PM »
I decided to try the sidewalk route today and it worked very well - made it up and over this hill for the first time ever.  May revisit when I'm faster.

I'll post a satellite image that shows tonight once I'm home - I think most of the perils of riding on the sidewalk truly are absent in this particular case (at least until further development of the area happens) - and I think I may not have been clear about how I get back onto the road.  Still have yet to see an actual pedestrian on this stretch of road, and to my right, there is nothing but woods the entire time I am on the sidewalk.

dandarc

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2014, 06:33:02 PM »
So as promised photos of route in question:

Overview:


Close up of point of exiting sidewalk:


I used the very last driveway to go onto the sidewalk - this is an entrance to an electrical sub-station, so almost never anyone coming or going.  None of the usual problem with sidewalks - no doors to open into me, nothing crossing the sidewalk, generally no pedestrians, and so on.  Obviously the most dangerous part is getting back on the road at the next intersection.  Mitigating this by 1. Slowing down (stopping if necessary) 2. Turning and looking for anyone who might be turning right.  3. Obviously obeying the light and such.  Generally paying attention.  As you can see, they are developing the lot on the other side of the street - might have to stay in the road if they build the lot I ride by, but right now I think the sidewalk is not a bad choice.

The whole thing is up-hill - my merge into the street point is more or less the top of the hill.  Steepest part is from a bit before turn lane starts for intersection 1, up to a few hundred feet around the corner.  Whole stretch is .9 miles long - probably not much more than a bump to more experienced riders, however pretty hard for me - all the way down to my lowest available gear for the steep part and struggling with that.  Did get all the way up without stopping today at least.

Russ

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2014, 10:28:16 PM »
Man I'm trying not to get too upset about this but there is no fucking way you will be able to see well enough behind you from that or any crosswalk to eliminate the risk of someone turning into you. No matter how patient you think you are. They also will not expect you to be there, even if you think your presence is obvious, because it is clear the nobody uses that sidewalk ever. Nobody uses that sidewalk = nobody pays attention to whether or not anybody's on it. As opposed to you being in the road, where drivers are looking and expecting something to be there. Maybe not expecting a bicycle, but at least expecting something and at least they will see you.

Do not trust your instincts on this. Your instincts are wrong, and anybody who tells you "do what feels right" is full of shit. I understand that it's scary being passed by things that can kill you, but the risk of being off the road here is far greater than the risk of being on it.

Goldielocks

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2014, 11:00:27 PM »
Ride the sidewalk.  Stop at crosswaslk.  Walk with the light when safe using the crosswalk so cars have time to see you.

Look out for morons.

Get back on bicycle, cycling on far side of intersection when traffic is safely past you.  Easy.

When you are stronger, avoid sidewalk.

GuitarStv

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2014, 10:05:48 AM »
Ride the sidewalk.  Stop at crosswaslk.  Walk with the light when safe using the crosswalk so cars have time to see you.

Look out for morons.

Get back on bicycle, cycling on far side of intersection when traffic is safely past you.  Easy.

When you are stronger, avoid sidewalk.

Yep, this would work.

Eric

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2014, 12:59:50 PM »
made it up and over this hill for the first time ever.  May revisit when I'm faster.

Great job!  Keep at it.  It gets easier.

MDM

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Re: Ride on the Sidewalk?
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2014, 01:31:08 PM »
Trust your instincts.
Do not trust your instincts on this.

Let's hear it for diversity of opinion.  dandarc, seems you can find support for whatever you choose.  The more I see and hear from you the more comfortable I am with "trust your instincts" - but it's good to consider the merits of other perspectives from time to time.