JUST SAY NO! to riding your bike on the sidewalk

Today’s JUST SAY NO! is a little different. Rather than address a topic strictly geared towards mothers & daughters, I will instead – for the benefit of mankind – address a topic which affects us all. All of us using sidewalks, that is. Today we will JUST SAY NO! to riding your bike on the sidewalk.

That’s right, I am talking to YOU. You, the 45-year old man, wearing the helmet, timidly riding your cruiser ON THE SIDEWALK of Walnut Street, Philadelphia. The wrong direction. Oh. Yes, we saw you. And do you know why? B/c you nearly ran us over. You poor pathetic creature.

You, my good man, need to GROW A PAIR OF TESTICLES. Take that bike off the sidewalk where people are WALKING and place it in the BIKE LANE. It is right there next to the curb on the yonder side of the street. Now, you take that bike and ride it the right way. In the STREET.

There is no excuse for your behavior. None. You are a grown man. At least in physical body, if not mind. You have a bike, you have a helmet, you obviously are not blind. Do you not see those special lanes on the streets of Philadelphia? Those lanes marked w/ this:

That is not a man rolling donuts. He is RIDING HIS BIKE. IN THE STREET. He has a helmet. He has BALLS.

Several days ago, I saw a young child and her momma riding their bikes on the sidewalk of Baltimore Ave. It was a little annoying, since I had to negotiate around them w/ my two kids and a filled-to-the-brim super freaking heavy push-shopping cart. But at least they have an excuse. A 5 year old learning to ride her bike needs some guidance, and a busy street w/ trolleys is not the best place. Maybe her momma should take her to a parking lot or something, rather than a busy sidewalk. But I am not one to judge. No.

But these MEN. And grown WOMEN. Riding their bikes on the sidewalk when there are clearly defined bike lanes in the street. Well. You people are either cowards or self-absorbed morons. Or both.

If you are too afraid to ride your bike the legal way, then you should sell it and walk. Or take public transportation. Or just stay home. I don’t really care, but I do take issue w/ your callous disregard of other people. Like me, and my 2 kids. Trying to walk. On the sidewalk. Trying to get across town w/out being run over. On the sidewalk.

You should be pulled from your bikes and slapped. Hard. Especially since you nearly ran my 4 year old over. And my husband. All over Philly there are bike lanes. Bike lanes. USE THEM.

JUST SAY NO! to riding your bike on the sidewalk.

68 thoughts on “JUST SAY NO! to riding your bike on the sidewalk

  1. As a biker and a walker, I’m not sure which I hate more, bikers on the sidewalk or cars stopping in the bike lane. They both should be beaten with a rubber hose.

  2. “That is not a man rolling donuts.” That is too freakin funneee! Air horn sounds like a great plan! Or maybe a super soaker water gun.

  3. You just carry a stick with you for the sole purpose of throwing into their spokes to bring their sidewalk joyride to an halt. πŸ˜‰ You can follow up with pepper spray and a rubber hose if need be. πŸ˜›

  4. Antitrust, I couldn’t agree w/ you more. The worst is when a driver pulls up on the wrong side of the street – blocking the bike lane – and then throws his/her door WIDE OPEN. Then they look at you like you’re the idiot. It makes my blood boil.

    Hayden, you are BRILLIANT. I will have to put hornie in my bag for such emergencies.

    Hey Connie! yes, I was going to make a further wisecrack about the anatomy of the painted man vs. the real one, but I thought it best left to the imagination.

    Spidey, my husband always laments not having jacks to toss down to pop their tires. His present tactic is to block the width of the sidewalk so they are forced into the street. This can be somewhat amusing, particularly when the bicyclist is (as they often seem to be) riding the WRONG direction on a one-way street – on the sidewalk of course.

    I have to say, as both a biker and a walker, this “riding on the sidewalk” thing is a REAL pet peeve. People had to fight hard to get bike lanes in Philly, and there are way too many people riding on the sidewalks. The more people using the bike lanes, the better. Automobile drivers are far more aware of bicyclists en masse, and there truly is safety in numbers. The bottom line: If you are too cowardly to ride in the street, then you shouldn’t be biking in the city. Riding on the sidewalk puts pedestrians at risk. It’s selfish and illegal.

  5. Ok, so I guess I’m gonna be a coward and play both sides on this one. I can certainly see why you don’t want the bike riders on the sidewalk… I can certainly see why they are afraid to ride on the bike paths! Those bike paths are scary! I guess I’ll stick to the exercyle in my kitchen until I get it all sorted out.

  6. Yes, Tracie, I can appreciate being frightened by the drivers here in Philly. That goes w/out saying. But yesterday we were nearly run over TWICE – again – by bicyclists on the sidewalk. There really is NO EXCUSE.

    Curly, you & your car will ne’er be parted.. So glad you’re back babe!

  7. Are sidewalk-menacing restaurant delivery guys not a problem in Philadelphia? They certainly are in NYC. In fact, a few years ago, an older gentleman leaving an Italian restaurant was knocked dead one evening by a Chinese delivery man on a bicycle. I’m sure it isn’t the only instance, but this happened right across the street from where I work.

    Wrong-way bicyclists are also a huge danger. I usually yell at them when they go by.

  8. We get the same problem with cyclists coming up behind us when we are walking along the lovely Forth/Clyde canal.

    So if we are in a group, one or two of us stay further back as tail-end Charlies, to warn everyone else about these plonkers.

    Why don’t they invest in a nice shiny cycle bell and give us advance warning of their intention to run us down!

    We also get them going through red lights, and annoying pedestrians who are trying to cross legally.

    Hanging’s too good for them!

  9. Dear mssc54. I know you reeeeeaaaallly get what I am talking about – BUT JUST FOR THE REST OF YOU. A few days ago a young woman riding her bike down 40th st here in west philly nearly ran over my younger daughter. and ME. There were 2 men standing beside us outside the cobbler’s shoppe, and we all proceeded to tell her where she should go — TO THE BIKE LANE RIGHT THERE IN THE STREET. SHe completely ignored us all, and proceeded along the sidewalk, where she then actually ran into a grown man. We continued yelling at her to get OFF THE SIDEWALK. She got back on her bike and continued on. Ignoring ALL OF US – and apologizing to no one. This woman should be physically removed from her bicycle and hogtied. Then she should be dragged behind her bike IN THE BIKE LANE to the river where she & her bike should both be tossed from the bridge. Just to give her a fair chance, I would of course untie her before throwing her into the water. B/c THAT Is the kind of person I am.

    Panny babe, we fortunately (or unfortunately?) don’t have a restaurant delivery problem here in Philly b/c most of the delivery people drive cars. The only food delivery biker is the guy from Lees Hoagies, and he is simply super. Always wearing his helmet, always riding in the bike lane w/ the flow of traffic. The issue we have here is the police and renta-cops who ride on the sidewalk. ALWAYS. They are supposed to be keeping us safe, and yet, there they are – almost knocking us down. It is a rarity when I see them biking in the street or using the bike lane. I think they should be setting an EXAMPLE. Not encouraging people to use the freaking sidewalks.

    Heyya Pisky! I am reminded to put my airhorn in my purse. THANK YOU!! It’s all this bad behavior that makes everyone angry at bicyclists. Some guy nearly ran us over yesterday in the street. We were crossing on the green- he had the red, but since he was on his bike he wasn’t going to stop and he didn’t even BOTHER TO LOOK. I’m like DAMN DUDE WAKE UP!!!!

  10. Dish, I think I understand how you reeeeeeealy feel about this subject now.

    Here is a suggestion (that may get you into a wee bit of truoble if it’s not accidintal. Carry with you a “walking stick” and when you hear or see one of these cyclists coming time it so that some how the “walking stick” is jamed into the spokes of the wheel.

    Lesson learned and problem solved.

  11. I am 17 years old and although currently don’t have a bike, intend on getting one next year for my 18th birthday. I can understand not wanting people biking on the sidewalk, but here’s the thing, I think that if people expect other people to ride on the street, then the bike lanes should be wider, not the almost the width of the person riding, it is scary to be that close to a car, especially considering the fact that you never know if the person driving is sober enough to notice you, or even knows how to drive. Personally I think, because of the dangers on the road, it should be permitted to ride on the sidewalk providing you watch out for those walking and move out of the way for them and have some way of letting them know you’re coming from behind them. Just my honest opinion. Safety matters, not just for those walking, not just for those driving, and not just for those biking, but for everyone.

  12. I agree with Joy. I’m saving up for a nice bike myself, and although I intend on riding near the curb, that will probably just stick for my division. Once I’m out the neighborhood and onto the busy streets, I doubt I’ll ride in the street.

    You do realize how dangerous it is just for motorcyclists, right? I don’t think I’d like to put my trust (and might as well say life) in the hands of some guy who didn’t see you, or that girl yapping on her cell phone, far too distracted to realize her surroundings.

    Because it’s a sidewalk, those walking should have the, ahem, ‘right of way’. When a cyclist sees one walking, simply ride AROUND the walker. It’s as simple as that.

    Adjusting the common sense of cyclists using the sidewalk would be better than hollering at cyclists for taking their safety in mind.

    Those people who were about to run you down? ONLY THEM, and people like them. Please, don’t group all riders on the sidewalk the same way. That’s just…ignorant on all levels. Not everyone’s the same, you just ran into some bad apples.

    ‘Not the one to judge..’ Your entire rant contradicts that statement.

  13. BOY I really haven’t been keeping up w/ these comments. But I will do so now.

    Mssc54, brilliant suggestion. And after jamming said stick into said spokes, and said bicyclist is rendered unconscious, I will not feel badly throwing said bike into said street to remind them to ride THERE.

    Joy, bike lanes are several feet wide. Wide enough to accommodate a bicyclist w/out difficulty. And people do use them daily w/out issue. As long as cars are not also using them, to drive, double-park, and/or discharge passengers, there is no problem. In any of the above situations, an urban cyclist needs to be prepared to RIDE AROUND THEM. I know this sounds terrifying, and sometimes in reality is, but those are the facts. If you are a city cyclist you need to be cautious and you need to wear a helmet. Plain and simple. If you are too afraid to abide by these rules, then DON’T BUY A BIKE. You cannot pick & choose. The sidewalk is where (as the word clearly states) people WALK. The bike lanes are for (as the name indicates) BIKING. The street is to be SHARED by cars and bikes. I do not mean to sound obnoxious, but your fear of biking in the street does not necessitate a re-classification of the sidewalk. If you ride on the sidewalk, even as a courteous bicyclist, you put yourself and others at risk. And I will be carrying a stick from now on, so WATCH OUT.

    Jay, perhaps in Ocala, Florida this sort of thing is tolerated. But here in Philly, it is not. Nor should it be. When you live in a large city, the sidewalks surge w/ people. There simply is not enough space on a city sidewalk for both pedestrians and bicyclists. That is why lanes have been designated in the street for bicycle use. When a person decides to ride their bike on the sidewalk when there is a bike lane right there in the street – they are in essence saying FUCK YOU ALL. I am more important than you. I do not need to use that bike lane. B/c for ME, it is OPTIONAL. Whether this decision is made out of pure selfishness, cowardice, or some other motivation, I do not care. You say we need to adjust the common sense of cyclists using the sidewalk. I could not agree more. RIDE IN THE DAMN STREET, the lot of you. You tell me not to group all sidewalk riders together. But how can I not? When you are all so clearly thumbing your nose at the rest of the us. Finally, I am not sure what motorcyclists have to do w/ this discussion, but for the sake of argument. YES I am aware that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. Surely you are not suggesting they also use the sidewalk to escape street danger?
    I jest. In the same way I was jesting when I said “I’m not one to judge.”

  14. I was just riding my bike with my 3 year old on the back of it. I am an avid biker, commuter and friend of the biking community. I was on the sidewalk for 1/2 block to get to the street that went the right way. A man walking on the side walk pushed me – I had my son on the back. The man was about 5’10, stocky, and I was on Locust around 4th. Had I not been a biker at the core, I’d probably have wiped out. Obviously, with my child in tow I wasnt going to set a bad example and kick the shit out of this guy on the spot. I am all for keeping the side walks clear, but if I ever see this man again there’s little chance he’ll be walking away.

  15. AvidRider; Let me see if I understand your point.

    You not wanting to set a bad example for your child by beating the tar out of a stocky man (I don’t know why that information is pertenant) decided to ride your bike a mere 1/2 block illegally, thereby putting all pedestrians on the sidewalk in harms way?

    Perhaps next time, instead of not setting a bad example you should strive to actually SET A GOOD EXAMPLE! Walk your bike on the sidewalk!

    You, sir are the one who placed your child in danger. You should immediately report your reckless behavior to the Child Protection Services.

    It’s pretty common for some parents to see other’s failures while ignoring their own.

    Good job.

  16. Hold the hatin’ for one second (please). I totally get where you’re coming from. I KNOW you’re not supposed to ride your bike on the sidewalk. I ALSO yell at people when they do it (let me beat you to the punch, yes, I’m a hypocrite occasionally). Like I said, I’ve been bike-commuting for 10 years and often go way out of my way to keep it all legal. But meet me in the middle here, riding on the sidewalk is never cool, but attempting to cause harm to a 3 year old is overtly less cool.

  17. YOUCH!

    Okay. As a fellow parent & Philadelphian, let me first say – I feel your pain. But I do have to agree w/ Mssc54. you should have just walked your bike the 1/2 block.

    Now, having said that- as much as I joke about throwing sidewalk riders off the Walnut St Bridge – there is simply no excuse for someone pushing a bike w/ a child. EVER. That’s assault, plain and simple, and you should have called the cops.

    If I were acting as judge & jury, I’d say both of you were wrong. You should have been walking your bike. That person should never ever have touched your bike.

    The end.

    Fortunately I have a feeling this isn’t going to happen again – at least to you. Stay safe!

  18. I see where you all are coming from if you live in a heavily populated city with people actually ON the sidewalks. Here though, where I maybe see two pedestrians on my entire ride, it barely matters. Granted, the bike lane is a lot more comfortable to ride in, but there are some places where it’s a pain to be in the street. For example, there are some residential neighborhoods where everyone parks their cars right on the side of the road, meaning you are either riding directly in the center of the road to get around them or on the sidewalk. Since nobody is walking, I prefer the sidewalk, because quite simply I go slower than cars and:

    a) It’s annoying to be stuck behind a slow bicycle.

    b) It’s dangerous to be in the center of the road with the crazy drivers that exist.

    Now, there are some places where a bike lane is provided on the main roads, and those are good to ride in, but not always. Why? Once again, nobody is ever on the sidewalks, so I won’t bother anyone, and sometimes I like to bike slow. Most bikers here are the type that train for races, and they go like 20 mph all the time. If I go in the bike lane going 10 mph I’m going to be a nuisance to them, and they will have no reasonable way to pass me in the crowded bike lane. So when I’m tired I bike on the sidewalk so I can bike at a leisurely pace.

    I’m not trying to defend biking on the sidewalk in a heavily populated area, but I’m just trying to say that in my opinion, it’s OK if you are doing it in a more residential area, and safely. If I ever do see a pedestrian, I slow down to a few miles per hour, and make sure they see me. Just sayin’.

  19. Anonymous, first of all let me say congrats on being so brave as to post here. haha

    Let me see if I understand you correctly.

    It’s okay for you to go 90mph on the interstate at night because you rarely see any other cars and if you do you put on your bright ligts and slow way down so they can get out of your way in time?

    You just pick and choose which laws and safety rules you want to follow and let the rest of society know. We’ll be sure to work around you.

  20. Mssc54, that’s taking it way to the extreme. First of all, you do realize that all my bike riding is done in the day, and that as I said if I do go at any reasonable pace I use the bike lane if there is one. I mean, if you have the guts to go into a road with NO bike lane and traffic moving at 50 mph three feet from the curb, well good for you. I don’t think you realize how residential the place I live in is, and how few people are ever out on the sidewalks. There pretty much no buildings above two stories here; all houses. There are only a few major roads, some with bike lanes and some without. There are a ton of minor (but fairly wide) roads that lead from house to house. And please, get out of my way in time? Are you joking? If I ever see a pedestrian, I’m the one to slow down, hell I put my feet on the ground and “scooter” past them to do it safely. And, I swear by it, on my eight mile bike rides I usually only see two or three pedestrians the ENTIRE journey.

    After reading this, I do try to use the bike lane when there is one (unless I’m going like six miles per hour), but where there isn’t a bike lane, in my opinion, it is far more unsafe to bike in the road here than on the sidewalk. Also, like I said before, on residential roads where people park their cars on the curb instead of the driveway (every freaking place), I prefer to stay on the side and not interfere with traffic. In my opinion what I try to do is best for both walkers (because I use the bike lanes when there is one), bikers (because I don’t ride extremely slow in the bike lanes), and drivers (because I don’t ride in the center of residential roads, thus slowing down traffic from 25mph to 17mph).

    But, hey, I like a good debate, so respond back if you can.

  21. Mssc54, thank you – truly – for doing all the legwork w/ these comments. I am frankly a little bored having to repeat myself. So rather than try to explain YET AGAIN why all bicyclists should stay the hell off the sidewalk,you are doing me a great service. GRACIAS!

    Anon, I suggest you speak directly to Mssc54. I’m not sure how often he visits this blog, so I think you’re better off just writing him directly. Feel free to click the link above or go HERE. Best of luck.

    JCSB, I am sensing you like the sidewalk. Fortunately I know what you look like and will be prepared.

  22. Your rite! Sidewaks blast, but I know it bad for law. Thanks 4 it and why use capitol lettrs?

  23. GYUSD! Gghnbjyuydn duhfi uynd id – hf fod fdifu djfoiuiore. Lo jndio yud kfjs ooash njhy uioerh oaj; oqw djdok. Sp dkdojkamd:


  24. I dot uderstad? In all cerious, why cant I ride in the sidewalk? I ride. U ride. Why cant we do it and safe 2?

  25. I must say that when there is no bike lane present the sidewalk is the next best option, Lance Armstrong wannabies on the side of the road slowing traffic isnt ideal.

  26. Just won’t die, will this one?

    β€’ Average speed of a pedestrian in an urban environment Β· 3mph
    β€’ Average speed of a bicycle rider in an urban environment Β· 15mph
    β€’ Average speed of a motor vehicle in an urban environment 20-25mph

    Additionally, sidewalks may be crowded, and are populated by two-way traffic that is unpredictable, often with abrupt changes in direction and velocity. Street traffic is comprised of vehicles that travel essentially in extended vectors and in proscribed areas or lanes (even if it’s just the shoulder or near to the gutter for the bicyclist).

  27. Good! We Agree alot! Biks, People, Cars are all very cimilar in SOOO many ways 2 me!!! And have U fallen in a drain 4 it????

  28. I only WISH we had bike lanes in Orlando FL!!! Its near suicide to ride in the streets here. pity. Actually, my gripe here is pedestrians who walk IN THE STREET! No kidding. perfectly good sidewalks, but apparently it takes too much energy and mental attention to stay on the sidewalk, so they walk down the middle of suburban streets impeding the occasional driver. I swear to god I am not making this up.

  29. it may sound contradictory, I mean to say you cannot bike commute here because the roads don’t have bike lanes. And traffic is horrible due to unmanaged sprawl. But in the lightly traveled neighborhoods, people are too lazy to use the GD sidewalks.

  30. baribob; You sound a little high-strung. Mayabe you should consider switching to decaf! πŸ™‚

    I say if the pedesterians are in the street… run them down with your bicycle! You can get those little skull and cross-bones decals to place on your helmet (I’m sure you wear one. Safety and all).

    After you’ve nailed a few you will be fameous and all pedestrians will know to stay the heck out of your way!

    I hope this helps. Now… take a deep breath. Exhale…..


  31. i am a long time bicycle rider . ovwer the years i have developed a bicycle riding philosophy and i call it “better safe then sorry. ” when there a sidewalk with nobody on it I ride on the sidewalk.

  32. john farris: As aware and competent as you may think yourself to be, there’s a chance that you might not see, or see too late, a pedestrian who pops out of the shadows or doorway or who was somehow obscured from your version. Pedestrians shouldn’t have to worry about high-speed dangers while on the sidewalk.

    By riding where you aren’t expected to be you arrogantly put the entire onus of vigilance on your shoulders and not even the best of us are faultless,

  33. See? I’m practically perfect yet I still goofed and typed a comma instead of a period at the end of my comment.

    Thank goodness no one got killed this time.

  34. Well, in the end you guys changed my riding habits significantly. I think part of it was that before I was 15 and hadn’t yet learned all the right of way laws, which scared me away from the road. Now that I did, I feel much more comfortable in the street and ride in it whenever I get the chance. There’s more freedom anyway, since you don’t have to limit speed to 10mph. It’s also nice to be able to cross on green lights. The only time I go on the sidewalk now is to cross the street on the crosswalks when making a left turn, because I don’t feel comfortable driving in the middle of the road and getting potentially stuck between fast traffic. Also there are the times where there is the dreaded “right lane must turn right” sign, where if there isn’t a bike lane I prefer to cross at the crosswalk.

  35. I stumbled across this by Google-ing bike riding on sidewalks. I have always ridden my bike on the sidewalk as I never considered myself fast enough to ride in the street. My average speed is probably 10 miles an hour at MOST….I am a casual bike rider, not an experienced biker. I bet that car drivers would be much more annoyed with my riding in the street than any walkers would be with my sidewalk riding. There are NO bike paths here for me to use.

    When approaching pedestrians I slow down and call out “Excuse me!”or “Coming through!”. I’ve never run anyone over, and I don’t see the problem with slow bike riding (under 10 mph) on the sidewalk. I’m going about as fast as a speedy runner. And pedestrians already have to look out for large fast moving objects (cars coming out of driveways).

  36. I just came across this as I cannot stand bicyclists on sidewalks. I enjoyed reading the lame excuses some of you are making to justify riding on a sidewalk: it’s only for a 1/2 of a block or I need to make a “left turn”. Each and everyone of you is full of crap and is breaking the law. To thedailydish and mssc54, I salute you. The only real way to make change is to file roll call complaints with the Phila. Police Department in addition to calling each District. I shout at bicyclists on the sidewalks and it does no good, short of clotheslining them or taking boltcutters to their chains; it is only the Police that will begin to affect change. The problem is that this City has not made it a priority to protect pedestrians from this behavior. I also love the way that every, and I mean every bicyclist I see feels it is OK to treat red lights as stop signs and stop-signs as yield signs. Stay off the sidewalks, stop at intersections and stop going the wrong way down one way streets and to the any police in their patrol cars, yapping on a cell phone and not paying attention when this happens all of the time in front of them: Please do something and enforce the law!

  37. A quandary: You just bought a bike and are ignorant or just don’t care about the motor vehicle laws in the Commonwealth of Pa. and the City of Philadelphia -those pesky laws that govern bicycles. How do you fit in with most Philadelphia bicyclists? Answer: Ignore those ridiculous laws! Ride on the sidewalks – screw the pedestrians. Ignore the white lines at red lights and stop signs – coast through them or better yet do something very cool like balance your stupid track bike and do little circles in the crosswalk, you are too hip to be expected to stop your bike as the law says you must, I mean please! Don’t worry about those in-the-way pedestrians using YOUR crosswalk, keep making your circles, they will just have to go around you. Also, go the wrong way down a one-way street or better yet hop on the sidewalk. Remember, as a Philadelphia bicyclist you need to be cool, the law is for squares anyway. My apologies to the 5% of bicyclists who do the right thing and obey the law. You folks need to work on the other 95%, the police aren’t.

  38. Umm, excuse me missvoluptuous, but you just made yourself seem like a bit of a jerk to me. You are telling me that I need to ride in the street; literally inside the street with 50 mile per hour traffic (and I am not lying, the speed limit is indeed 50), and go five lanes in to make a damned left turn??? I would be killed. Plain and simple, this is not safe, and could cause an automobile accident. I ride in the street with every opprotunity that I can, but sometimes, it is not possible. I don’t know, maybe in PA you have bicycle lanes everywhere, but I can assure you that here in California we do NOT. I stop at stop signs just like every other car, and at lights, and I go only on green. I obey every law there is when I’m on the street. But, again, you are going to bitch to me that I can’t use the crosswalks because left turn lanes are freaking five lanes in with AT LEAST 30 mph traffic???? I have tested the speed I can maintain on a bicycle; it is about 15 mph max for any maintained distance, going into traffic at that speed is suicide.

    I have a question for you now missvolumtuous. Did you ever ride a bicycle in a street with quick traffic a couple feet from the edge of the road and no bicycle lane? With 50 mph traffic (on one section it is not uncommon for cars to pass at 60). Do it. Come back. See how it is. As a pedestrian and a cyclist in this city, with few pedestrians and or cyclists, it hardly is a big deal to step aside a bit for cyclists that slow significantly to pass. I understand that you live in a “real” city. In a city like that, yes, nobody should bike on the sidewalks. But have you put thoughts into cities like this, built completely for cars with no thought for bicycles?

    I’m sorry if I snapped at you a little too much, but it is angering as a recreational cyclist to have someone tell me that I am a selfish bastard just because I like to stay in one piece and not fly into traffic. I honestly do my best. If there is a bike lane I go in it. If it is a small road I bike in it. If it is a big road without a bicycle lane and cars stay to the left I ride in it. If it is a big road and cars pass within a couple feet of me I DON’T ride in it. If I ride on the sidewalk, I don’t zoom. If I pass a pedestrian I slow to a crawl and kick my feet on the sidewalk to pass. But please acknowledge that in some cities/roads, the dangers of riding that road exceed the good you can do staying off the sidewalk (and yes, if there were many people on the sidewalk instead of the literally 1-3 per mile I see here I’d walk).

    1. Dear Jacob: although this is not my blog I have been given authority by the High Priestest to keep up with this thread.

      So here goes.

      So to break it down to it’s simplest form it’s really all about you and as long as there are only 1-3 pedesterians per mile where you ride your bike illegally then all is good… for you.

      Where does your situational obligation to obey the biking laws begin then. Certainly you would agree that 100 pedesterians would warrant you to abandon the PEDESTERIAN sidewalk for the areas designated for vehicles with tires. So then somewhere between 3 and 100 is where you MAY consider actually obeying the law. Fine. What if a busy widowed mother of 3 is shopping one day and as she is trying to make her way out of a store one of her 3 small children dart out the door and get run over by your “I need to be safe” self? I guess that will teach that widow to better handle her young children. And I’ll bet once the kid gets out of the emergency room it will be a cold day in June before he/she EVER leaves her mommies side again.

      I like the part where you say that if the road is busy and cars stay to the left then you ride in the street but if the road is busy and cars don’t stay to the left then you ride on the sidewalk. That is INCREDIBLE! Look Buck-O, if you can see into the future to be able to know if cars will or will not stay to the left then look a little further into the future and see if one of them will run your B-hind over! If you see you are going to get run over then (in your mind’s eye) as the car pummles you and drives away look up and get the tag number, write that tag number down on a piece of paper with a note; “This is the car that ran me over. List the tag number and give a full description of the vehicle. Further state in your imaginary note that if you should die from your injuries… because you were sacrificing yourself for the safety of pedesterian foot traffic on the sidewalk, that you want the town to install a bike lane in that area and officially name it the “Mr. Safe Buck-O Memorial Bicycle Lane.”

      The short version would be:

      There will ALWAYS be situations where SOME PEOPLE think that they are special enough to ignore the laws. This one is yours.

      I hope I’ve helped. πŸ™‚

  39. First of all, I never ride my bicycle on the sidewalk in a parking lot. In a parking lot, I ALWAYS stay on the asphalt, and if I must go on the sidewalk I walk my bicycle. You made an assumption about me that is incorrect. Also, this city is not structured like yours. We do not have stores on the sides of the sidewalk; the only places I ride on the sidewalk ever are on the three or so main roads in this place, where there is no bicycle lane, and no connection to stores or houses. This city is structured into groups of houses, in which case I do not ride on the sidewalk ever in those places, especially because, as you said, I may not see a pedestrian walk out from behind his car in a driveway, and it is just unneeded. It is also structured into numerous random shopping centers, not lines of stores like you may be familiar with.

    When I meant the cars don’t stay to the left, I meant it like there is no room for the cars to stay to the left because the road is too narrow. I admit there are not many places like this, but there still are a few where traffic must drive within a couple feet of the curb and cannot go in further leftward because of oncoming traffic. Also, yes, you can see into the future in some regard; I’ve noticed people tend to stay to the left when given enough space, and tend to follow behind the driver in front of them, which means that people will continue to stay to mainly to the left, and I trust that drivers a little more to the right will be able to clearly see me as they are not blocked by other rightward traffic.

    It is not true that when there are few pedestrians I ride on the sidewalk. Yesterday I went on a 9 mile bike ride around town, and stayed on the road for the entire time except twice for about 50 meter stretches. Recall that this is on a road with no houses or store connections, not the type of area you may be imagining.

    Trust me, I read this blog a long time ago, and I considered it very thoroughly. I changed my riding habits significantly after reading it, and now do my very very best to stay off the sidewalk. I am not so closed-minded that I completely ignored the advice I read in this blog. I honestly am doing my very best not to be a public nuisance and ride in the road at least 95% of the time on my rides. The real point I’m trying to make, is that sometimes it is necessary for me to go onto the sidewalks/crosswalks.

    Take the largest road in our city: three lanes of flowing traffic and two lanes for left turns. Traffic stopped here is so pressed together you would be unable to maneuver a bicycle into the left turn lanes. Also, traffic is so close to the curb, I can’t even get my bicycle through (in this case even less than 2 feet). I believe that the road was once expanded from 4-5 lanes or something which is why it is so tight. Anyway, in these areas I cross at the crosswalk, then soon as I have crossed go back to the street.

    Lastly, I think it is odd that you find it funny that I am concerned over the safety of bikers, while you are so concerned over the safety of pedestrians. I wish you would be a little more conscious of the safety of everyone.

    I see your point, really. Once again, I do my very best now to not ride on the sidewalk/cross like a car at stoplights.

    Well, follow up and try to convince me otherwise I guess but don’t just laugh at everything I said. Remember I did take this blog to heart…

  40. Ah, just had to add this in.

    One major problem for bicycles is that you don’t know where you are supposed to be. I got in a discussion on a different chat about cycling, and said I try to ride in the road. I was promptly called an asshole that slows down traffic (which is why as I said in my previous posts that I only bike in places traffic doesn’t pass closely). I was then told to go on the sidewalk where I belong.

    Very annoying.

  41. Thanks the anger Jacob,

    I was referring to bicycling in Philadelphia where I thought the originator of this blog was based.
    I stand my premise in that bicycles do not belong on sidewalks, as sidewalks were designed to be walked on by pedestrians. Nobody is forcing you to ride a bike so when you do, grow a pair and ride on the street and when the cars become too scary for you to share the road with then become a pedestrian like me and walk the damn bike. I said GoodDay!

  42. missvoluptous; you were a bit harsh on the girly man. It can be real scary riding your bike legally (like a big boy) in the street. Telling him to “grow a pair” is so demeaning. In all likyhood he already has a pair. … he keeps them in his man purse while he rides his bike… which by the way does not have the man bar in the center.

  43. bikers can be very annoying. i am both a biker and a driver when distances are too great. a growing trend i notice in philadelphia is that bikers are not braking. its very annoying when you are in your car and are being courteous using your turning signals to indicate you are coming out of a parking spot (for example). all the cars behind me are stopped waiting for me to pull out (which doesn’t take long) and here comes a person on a bike who zooms and swerves in and around the stopped cars behind me and myself pulling out of the spot. then, they have the audacity to look at me like i’m some asshole driver. there are brakes on a bike for a reason. unless you’re a hipster idiot with a track bike. which makes perfect sense by the way, a bike in the city without breaks. i should just take the breaks off my car to be cooler.

  44. @kate: I feel you pain. Truly! It is important to remember that cyclists are legally governed by the same laws as motor vehicle drivers.

    If you see this happening on a regular basis at the same location I encourage you to have some fun with it. For instance you can go to the local automobile rental agency and rent the cheepest vehicle they have. However, take out the additional insurance (usually about $12 a day). They head down to where you find the regular cyclist offender. Watch for him/her to act like THEY own the road and either 1) open your door in such a timely way that it causes them to crash into the properly insured vehicle. Or 2. (and this is my favorite) make your turn right into the cyclist. Hopefully either one of those will cause serious injury to the cycle while only giving some serious abrasions to the cyclist.

    Okay, okay, if you don’t want to go to that extreme you can at least pick up one of those annoying air horns that some people use at sporting events and lower your window and blast them when they pull up. But be sure to wear ear protection for yourself.

    Lesson learned.

  45. I had another encounter today with a bicyclist all decked out with protective gear and a very nice bike. She was riding on the sidewalk and then proceeded to bike through the crosswalk, weaving around pedestrians, and then back on the sidewalk. As she came up to me on the sidewalk I screamed at her and told her why I was doing so. There was a bike lane in the street not more than 3 feet from her. I also told her the fine is $50 for doing so in Center City Philadelphia. This city could help solve its fiscal mess on the arrogance and stupidity of bicyclists doing this and other illegal behaviors.

  46. @Missvoluptuous:

    Next time scream, “CITIZENS ARREST!!! CITIZENS ARREST!!” Then then tell the offender that they have two choices. 1) They can wait there until the coppers arrive. 2) They can pay you the fine (in cash of course) and they are free to go. If they choose to pay the fine take a pic of them with your handy-dandy camera phone. Take the pic down to your local sign company and have their image placed on a sign with the verbage, “I BIKE WHERE I WANT” written on it. Take the sign and post it on the Bile Lane sign. Granted it will take some effort on your part but wow what a thrill! haha

  47. Should it or should this continue to be a forum for calling out those behaviors which seemed to annoy you while you were in Philadelphia which was the basis for this rant?

  48. Well I saw this way after the fact. Where I live it is also illegal for a biker over the age of 12 to ride on the sidewalk. But there is an exception for someone riding with a child on a bike seat or a trailer. Such a biker is allowed on the sidewalk. Don’t you have that exception in Philadelphia?

  49. I am also late to this. On August 9th I hit a bicycle rider who was riding on the sidewalk. I struck him with my car when he was crossing through the intersection and I was making a right hand turn. I did not see him enter the intersection. I feel terrible about what happened.

    It is however, legal in Michigan to ride your bicycle on the side walk. BUT you must follow all the rules a pedestrian would follow when riding on the side walk. So even though my rider was riding against the traffic flow, a very poor idea and a good way to get “right hooked”, it still would have been legal. However, since he ran the Do Not Walk signal, it was an illegal move on his part.

    I was however cited by the police for “not yielding the right of way.” This remains to be worked out in court, I guess. I mean I know I will challenge the findings of the police. BUT, this still does not change how I feel about having hurt someone. The cyclist was knocked from his bicycle and got rather scrapped up. No serious injury, but hurt none the less. I believe that as a human being that I should be compassionate about this. I should feel bad about his having been hit. Sure, it was his fault. He disobeyed a traffic control device. That does not mean he should be injured. It does not mean that he should be without the use of his bicycle, his primary means of transportation. He should probably receive a ticket, because it is a civil infraction for a pedestrian to cross against the do not walk signal in Michigan.

    I guess in the end what I am saying is, let’s educate people about this. Let’s not threaten bodily harm,even jokingly, it’s not okay. Remember, you will certainly make errors in judgement. Let’s all learn from them. Let’s not call names. It is not okay. To be a real adult, man or woman, is to realize one’s own short-comings and then seek to better one’s self in these.

    By the ways, I have also been struck by a car while a pedestrian. Not much fun. I would still not wish it on the person who hit me. I have been forced to ditch my bicycle by a car who ran a stop sign while riding my bicycle in the street. I still have scars from that one. While I wish that person would have been ticketed, I do not wish her harm.

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