Cycling on pavements

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by Micky, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. Micky

    Micky New Member

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    Can cycles with wheels smaller than 20" be legally ridden on pavements, or is that an urban myth?

    Thanks

    M
     
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  2. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    In which jurisdiction? I assume by the use of the word "pavement", it may be the UK??

    Certainly not in any Canadian jurisdiction that I know of or any American one.

    Besides, it's just plain dangerous for both cyclist and pedestrian. Why would anyone wish to cycle on the sidewalk or pavement?
     
  3. Micky

    Micky New Member

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    Hello Kate

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I am in the UK, I should have thought for a moment before posting!

    Young (and some not so young) cyclists in the UK use the pavement/sidewalk, usually to avoid manic car drivers.

    M
     
  4. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    I can't comment directly as I've never visited your lovely island nation although I hope to some day. I've read a lot on uk.cycling.rec and I understand that drivers are a whole lot more discourteous in your neck of the woods than they are here. Or maybe just worse drivers overall.

    However, in my limited and certainly not international experience, sidewalk/pavement riding is a fool's errand. It poses considerable danger to both the cyclist and pedestrian. Primary problem being pedestrians who are unpredictable in their speed and direction of movements. Sidewalks around here are littered with all manner of obstacles, such as litter bins, mail boxes, pay phone boxes, flower pots, light poles, parking meters, fire hydrants, sidewalk cafes in front of restaurants and loitering beggars sitting in front of banks bumming change. Add to this mix that over here a lot of shop doors open out onto the sidewalk and that exiting shoppers aren't looking for a cyclist on the street,....well, just asking for trouble. I nearly clocked 5 sidewalk riders the other day coming out of my bank and no, I don't intentionally gun at other cyclists, even if they are being twits.

    We've got more than our fair share of sidewalk riders around here. I'm sure they have what they consider good excuses for the behaviour. I know it's horribly arrogant of me to think thus but when I see these sidewalk riders, I always think "Nice bike; too bad you don't know how to ride it." But again, that's sheer arrogance on my part and I'll admit it.

    I think a reasonable exception can be made for very young children who don't have the mental capacity to understand and judge traffic and who are very short on their bikes and may not be seen by motorists driving high vehicles such as SUVs. Speed is usually not an issue with these bikers in training.
     
  5. Chris_L

    Chris_L New Member

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    Just about every statistic I've ever seen quoted from any part of the world indicates that you're more likely to be hit by a driver on the sidewalk/footpath than on the road. The issue mainly occurs at intersections, driveways and so on because you're in a place where drivers just don't look.

    It might be safer for children under 12 who don't have the judgement to ride on the road safely, and aren't going all that fast that they can't stop at every driveway along the route. However, for an adult riding at 30km/h, the road is a much safer route.
     
  6. tanyaq

    tanyaq New Member

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    In Toronto, it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk EXCEPT if the tire size is 61 cm/24 in or less. (by city bylaw) The intent of this bylaw is to allow young children to use the sidewalk to learn how to ride. Since children don't usually carry ID, an age based bylaw would be hard to enforce. However this does allow people with say folding bicycles to legally ride on the sidewalk by the letter of the bylaw (but not the spirit). There is also a fine for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk without due care and attention and reasonable consideration for others.
     
  7. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    I stand corrected. I now know of one jurisdiction...thank you for the information.
     
  8. franklen

    franklen New Member

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    Though this has nothing to do with tire size: To my understanding in Pennsylvania it is illegal to ride on the sidewalks through business districts, but there are no restrictions to riding on the sidewalks in residential or other zoned areas.

    I never see anyone regard this rule per say, never seen anyone ticketed or stopped. Even see people who ride the road elsewhere, jump onto the sidewalk at business districts because there are usually lots of cars parked and pulling in and out along the roadway due to shoppers and business. So I think they percieve it as safer because they dont have to deal with being squeezed or surprised, they only have to watch out for the pedestrians.
     
  9. Chris_L

    Chris_L New Member

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    Not necessarily true. I see cars driving along the footpath/sidewalk frequently around here - and you still have to be aware of cars pulling out of driveways or parking lots. In traffic situations where the lane is not wide enough to share with a car, I simply claim the whole thing.
     
  10. franklen

    franklen New Member

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    """ I see cars driving along the footpath/sidewalk frequently around here -"""

    Fortunately this is not something we have to deal with in Pennsylvania. Cars do not routinely drive on those areas, maybe you'll see it once in a blue moon when a moving or utility truck is getting position, or something similar. But that situation is just not a concern here. The driveways and parking lots surely are. But for slower travellers it is a better alternative in some cases.


    """In traffic situations where the lane is not wide enough to share with a car, I simply claim the whole thing.""""

    This brings up the issue of delaying traffic though. Where I live there is a long stretch maybe 1 -2 miles, that is mostly a gradual uphill, all within the business district. Now for you, or even me, we might be able to keep up a fast enough pace to not delay the vehicles too unecessarily. But what do you say to an older citizen, or someone not as physically fit? If they were to take up the whole lane and pace along at only 3 -4 mph, they would be unecessarily holding up traffic in my opinion. And they would undoubdtedly take flack from the vehicles behind with honking and attempts to squeeze past, or pass quickly when a small gap opens in the other direction (this is reckless on thier part, but happens all the time).
     
  11. kwv

    kwv New Member

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    It is dangerous and encourages cyclists to break the law as proven by the large number of cyclists that ride straight off the footpath (sidwalk or pavement) onto the crossing.

    But Queensland Transport (http://www.transport.qld.gov.au/qt/driver.nsf/index/cyc_home_qld) and Brisbane Council (www.brisbane.qld.gov.au) both in Australia thinks okay anyway to allow cyclists to ride on the footpath.
     
  12. kwv

    kwv New Member

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  13. Chris_L

    Chris_L New Member

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  14. franklen

    franklen New Member

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    I totally understand what you mean in regards to not getting squeezed and claiming the whole lane. But it does seem to me that there are many, many times when the lane is not wide enough to share particularly in business districts when there are vehicles parked along the side of the road, leaving only a travel lane. And I'd prefer to not see people weaving in and out between parked cars. So rather than taking up the lane when it would delay traffic, I wouldn't feel bad about seeing people on the sidewalk in these cases. It just shouldn't feel like a race or a sprint when you are riding, and it often does unless you are holding up traffic, or unless you are able to keep an experienced or physically fit pace. Like you said, its a judgement call, though I often wish it wasn't subjective at all, unfortunately the facilities don't exist for that.

    Becoming desensitized is easy enough, just try living on the main street of any town with the traffic roaring by at all times, soon enough you can sleep trhough anything. But lets not give people the impression that they need to ignore or not consider the actions of these people. We are after all trying to share an environment, not exist apart from it. Its time for advocacy for sure in these cases.
     
  15. tanyaq

    tanyaq New Member

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    In the scenario you describe, if the road is 2 lanes in each direction with the curb lane containing parked cars, I would ride to the far left of the parked car lane. Usually it is wide enough to do so without getting doored. I would continue to ride along the left in a straight line despite gaps in cars in my lane - so I would not be weaving in and out of parked cars. And I'm much more visible to a car looking to enter my lane to turn right etc.

    If the lane is not wide enough not to be too close to the door zone, either you can attempt to be very attentive and ride at a slower pace to make it easier to brake in case someone flings open a door. Warn recently stopped cars of your approach with your bell. Or ride to the far right of the traffic lane (better) If this lane is not wide enough to share, its easier for the car to give you space by nudging over the center line than trying to make a regular pass around you.

    Although you may feel sympathetic for the cyclist who uses the sidewalk in this case it is bad bad bad because:
    1. if this is the business district there's likely to be lots of pedestrians on the sidewalk as well who won't appreciate being hit or being dinged at to move etc.
    2. Unless the cyclist stops at every driveway, intersection etc. to check for turning traffic they risk getting hit as cars do not expect traffic at speed on the sidewalks. Alternatively the cyclist could slow to a pedestrian pace on the sidewalks but then why not just walk instead of cycle?

    Tanya
     
  16. franklen

    franklen New Member

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    I always try to ride the road when possible, and I am not arguing for myself but for others who are not as capable of road cycling, and would not regard slowing down on the sidewalk as a nuisance.

    On a sidewalk bikers should always give pedestrians the right of way and full respect in order to share the space with them. It is also safer for the bicyclists in my mind to be on the sidewalk and to ride slow, stopping at intersection, crosswalks, etc, than to be out on the road either in the door zone, or forcing cars to pass you by crossing the yellow lines.

    Which brings up a question. Is it legal to pass on solid lines in cases such as this, or is it illegal in all cases. I always thought illegal, so holding up traffic and forcing them to pass by crossing solid traffic lines, is forcing them to ride illegaly and recklessly. Our bike riding shouldn't be a cause for this.
     
  17. kwv

    kwv New Member

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    But how safe is it really for cyclists to be riding on the sidewalk or footpath when you have cyclists riding around corners, pass shop doors that can be opened.

    But then again how can cyclists gain the experience of riding on the roads if they are allow and encourage to break the law by being allow to ride on the sidewalk or footpath.

    Such as what the Queensland Government is doing and since they won't do anything about this stupid law.

    I will do something by naming and shaming cyclists who break the law:

    Male Cyclist turning right from Boundary St into Vulture St West End Friday 17/10/2003 around 11.45am Blue Jeans, Kahaki Top, White Helmet riding against the red light nearly knocking down pedestrians who had the walk signal.
     
  18. kwv

    kwv New Member

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    Another cyclist breaking the law thanks to Queensland Transport:

    Female Cyclist wearing white helmet, Black Top and Brownish pants riding straight of the footpath into the crossing Boundary and Vulture St West End Monday 20/10/2003 around 11.45am.
     
  19. Dee

    Dee New Member

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    Here, we gotta. Either that or give up and drive. Oh, or we could die on the bike; there's always that option.

    We don't have to stay on the sidewalks long; just long enough to get outta the congested part of town. And we have NO pedestrians (in a study, this state was the least likely out of all 50 for people to walk somewhere); the sidewalks are empty. The sidewalks run beside the streets; there are no shopfronts; all the shopfronts are in shopping centers or malls set far back from the streets. Get in line here at a busy intersection and you won't soon do it again; cars full of enraged rednecks will "explain" it to you as soon as the light turns green.
     
  20. kwv

    kwv New Member

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    Or another option is to walk but how long is long enough for an cyclist to knock down an pedestrian on the sidewalk or footpath.

    And do you have photo's to prove the sidewalks are empty ?
     
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