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How many of you ride on sidewalks and how many of you will not, and why?

For fitness and mountain bike training I ride around my home town suburban area. It's not very cyclist friendly on the main roads. I either ride on the road in neighborhoods or side streets, and take the sidewalks out on the busier roads to link them. Typically I see very few pedestrians when I'm on the sidewalks. If I do, I slow down and give them plenty of space. It's generally pretty open on the sidewalks and there aren't really areas where you can't see if a car is coming out of a driveway etc. I've passed the police while doing this for years. They've never said anything about it.

While riding on the road in the past, I've had numerous motorists buzz me, or yell things, long honks of the horn, throw things etc. I've had several over the years yell things like "get up on the sidewalk", "get out of the road" etc.. I've had several close calls while on the road in the past. In my area, we've had several injuries and deaths over the years. On the other hand, while riding on the sidewalk, I've had a couple of guys with bike racks yell, "get off the sidewalk". But, after doing it for several years, I've never had one close call that I can think of with a car.
 

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My county permits riding on the sidewalk, so thats what I do. I can be as visible and cautious as possible riding on the street, but its up to the people driving the cars and I dont trust them. Its not worth it.
 

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One of my friends was riding on the sidewalk in Louisiana because there was literally no room on the street and he was hit by a vehicle. He was mainly shaken up and the cops showed up and wanted to write him a ticket because he was riding on the sidewalk. don't mind the guy that hit him talking on his cell phone and not paying attention(from witnesses). My friends bike was a total loss. :( Even with that experience, I will ride on the sidewalk if I don't feel safe on the road.
 

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+1

Here in the middle of the USA (yes, Kansas) we have wide concrete paths adjacent to many roads. They are called "sidewalks", but I never see anyone walking on them.

So I use them for biking, because it beats taking chances in traffic.
 

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It's dangerous- Cars aren't watching out for something going faster than a walking pace when they pull into/out of driveways.

I find it best to just travel on roads with less traffic. It's usually a longer distance to get where I want to go, but it's also the safest.
 

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If you assume that all cars are potential dangers, then you will be observant when crossing the streets and driveways.

I am not going to rely on any drivers to look out for me. No. way.
 

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ktm300 said:
If you assume that all cars are potential dangers, then you will be observant when crossing the streets and driveways.

I am not going to rely on any drivers to look out for me. No. way.
That works for traffic ahead of you, but you can't stop and look behind you for cars turning from the rear into every single driveway that you cross.
 

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All these vary ride options make it really confusing for motorist. As a professional driver I can tell you how frustrating it is to deal with cyclist riding where ever they like in every conceivable direction. For the motorist it makes it almost impossible to determine what the cyclist is going to do, add to that the difficulty seeing small fast moving objects.

As a rider I'm as guilty of bad riding behavior anyone, I compensate by making eye contact, always keeping control of the situation, and riding defensively.

Cops in my town don't seem like they want to take the time to enforce the "no bikes on sidewalks law" unless they suspect you of something else.
 

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Illegal in Madison, WI where I grew up. I've been riding on the roads for 25 years. Close calls but never hit. Ride smart and obey the traffic laws and hope the drivers do too.
 

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Just to jump the curb. On my 20" and 26" BMX I can bust 3-4 feet off something decent, not so high on my MTB's, but I still love jumping curbs. Once a freestyle BMX'er, always a freestyle BMX'er.

See the famous shot of Vic Murphy jumping a curb from the early 90's (printed in Freestylin' Magazine). Amazing.

This is the only reason to ride on the sidewalk.

 

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Hey, if you aren't bothering anyone, no big deal.

But there was a thread a few years ago about someone riding on the sidewalk on Market Street, the busiest street in the city. A homeless bum knocked him off the bike.

And there are bike lanes and drivers are friendly (enough) on that street. The rider was just afraid to ride on the road.
 

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I totally understand suburban riders using empty sidewalks, but in the big city, cyclists that use sidewalks are morons. I live in San Francisco, and the only time I ever get on the sidewalk is if there is some sort of construction or other obstruction and the sidewalk is the only way through. Otherwise, I stay in the street.
 

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Depends on the area, some of the areas around Houston require bikes to be operated on the sidewalk other areas its illegal.

Personally I think sidewalk is dangerous, too many cars making turns, no one is looking for you, etc. Much safer to take the road and take a lane if necessary OR plan a route and take side/residential streets to avoid busier roads.
 

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Not usually. If it's 100% pedestrian clear then yes I'll ride on the sidewalk.

I'll say this, and probably incite a flamewar in the process - there's no reason why you should really ride on the sidewalk - busy traffic isn't an excuse. People ride in the streets in places like New York City which has more traffic than most of the rest of the world.

Riding on sidewalks in my experience isn't any safer. Motorists expect slow moving pedestrians on sidewalks - not bikes. Plus, people are very skittish when they see bikes coming towards them, especially when they're moving at any significant rate of speed.
 

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Berkley said:
Not usually. If it's 100% pedestrian clear then yes I'll ride on the sidewalk.

I'll say this, and probably incite a flamewar in the process - there's no reason why you should really ride on the sidewalk - busy traffic isn't an excuse. People ride in the streets in places like New York City which has more traffic than most of the rest of the world.

Riding on sidewalks in my experience isn't any safer. Motorists expect slow moving pedestrians on sidewalks - not bikes. Plus, people are very skittish when they see bikes coming towards them, especially when they're moving at any significant rate of speed.
I don't know about that, but these people seem to do fine ;)
 
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