Author Topic: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.  (Read 689 times)

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Online Westinghouse

Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« on: July 25, 2021, 01:31:19 am »
First, the tip for safer cycling on sidewalks. Technically, cycling sidewalks may be an infraction in some towns, and where there usually is pedestrian traffic it makes sense not to do it. However, in many places you never see people walking on sidewalks. Everybody drives. For example, there is a three mile stretch of sidewalk I cycled more than 200 times. Not once did I encounter a walker, ever. In such places as these it is perfectly acceptable and much safer than using the roadway, especially where there is heavy traffic and no side / bike lane. This tip is useful under certain circumstances, and here those circumstances are.

It is a four lane roadway with a median with no crossing. You are on the sidewalk moving against traffic. For example, you are going north and traffic is moving south. There are stores and strip malls and restaurants and what have you. They all have parking lots where cars can enter from the road, and exit from the lots onto the road. A car pulls out to the stop line or partly onto the sidewalk. The driver is waiting for traffic to clear so he can enter the roadway. Because he knows people do not use the sidewalks, he has his head cranked around 180 degrees away from you. He might have no idea you are there at all. You might think it is OK to go in front of him and keep going because he is stopped. Well, what I have seen many times is this. He keeps his head facing only in the direction of oncoming traffic. He sometimes lets off the brake and moves forward to be nearer the edge of the road for when he makes his move to drive. If you are there you can get hit.

If the driver looking in the opposite direction has a passenger when stopped you will see the passenger alert the driver who will turn his head in your direction. Before that he does not have any idea you are there. Beware of this situation if you get in it. The pattern is for the driver to pull up, looking in opposite direction from where you are, and jockeying forward once, twice maybe three times and then taking off when traffic clears for him with no clue you are there unless he has a passenger who alerts him. Cycling in front of him could be hazardous. I have seen this pattern so many many times. If the windows are darkly tinted you cannot see whether he can see you or whether or not he has a passenger.

Second is cycling with cleaner air. This rule applies for any kind of road that has sidewalks that allow for making the adjustment. You are cycling north in some place with steady, bumper to bumper traffic much of which can emit illegal concentrations of poisonous exhaust fumes. The wind is blowing west to east and you are on the east side or road. All the way the wind blows the fumes onto you. You can get onto the west side sidewalk or path. That way the wind hits you first and the traffic second. That way you get clean fresh air, and the pollution is forced away from you by the wind and not onto you. I have make the adjustment many times when I knew I would be in heavy traffic for a while. It makes the difference between getting clean fresh air in you lungs, and having to suck up fumes from every car and truck that passes.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2021, 08:26:12 am »
Sidewalk information well taken ....
thank you ....

Btw, police in my riding venues, tell me that they are happiest when cyclists ride the sidewalks
cause it means less traffic accidents with which they have to address.

Meanwhile, sort of the converse of your comments on drivers pulling out into traffic,
& comparably valuable to me to keep in mind,
is drivers coming into parking lots from either lane, & are, also, crossing over the sidewalk,
& can be in a red hot hurry
& they are not thinking about: 'Hey, maybe there is somebody moving along on the sidewalk that they may wack.'
I have witnessed the red hot hurry part most frequently when the driver is in the far lane
& endeavoring to cross the closer lane to me .....
& do so before the oncoming traffic wacks them ....
At this point, low on their list is wondering about is: 'Yo? Is there a bicycler on the sidewalk?'

Speaking of occasionally avoiding getting wacked,
here is something else I have never ever knowingly read about in books or seen posted related to which I have had some close calls...
Re. 2 lane roads ~ there have been occasions where I have pulled out into the lane in which I wished to travel
that had, of course (duh? : ), no traffic that would wack me;
however, from outta nowhere a car that is passing another vehicle pulls into my lane. 
In doing so, neither he/she or I are expecting such to occur &, now, it is suddenly time for quick response on my part.

Which brings to mind another something or related other, of which I have never considered?
ARE there safety considerations that I should be wondering about
that are specific to A.I. driven vehicles,
since their presence is growing in number ..... sidewalk or road or anywheres : ), for that matter?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 08:27:43 am by BikePacker »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2021, 10:32:58 am »
Personally I think riding on the sidewalk is usually a bad idea.  There are rare situations where I resort to it, but generally consider it a bad idea.  It basically relegates you to pedestrian status.  In most places where you might ride on a sidewalk intersections are frequent and IMO dangerous when riding on the sidewalk unless you behave like a pedestrian.

Additionally you condition folks to expect cyclists to ride on the sidewalks.  The last thing I want to do is give the people who hate cyclists more ammunition in their crusade to get bikes off the road.   You know, the ones who yell, "bikes belong on the sidewalk" or "get off the road"  despite the fact that it is may be illegal to ride on the sidewalk there depending on the state or municipality.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 10:37:37 am by staehpj1 »

Offline John Nettles

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2021, 01:48:28 pm »
I mostly agree with Pete.  I have found riding on sidewalks usually is less safe.  This is true primarily due to cars turning in front of you as you enter the intersection, not seeing/expecting to see you as they pull out of a store's parking lot, etc.

Sometimes, especially in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where bike paths are much more prevalent and the paths sometimes turn into glorified sidewalks, then I have not had much issue riding sidewalks.  However, I would say this is about 15%-20% of the time.

Generally speaking, if the road is rideable, I think it is safer to ride the road than a sidewalk. That said, do what is most comfortable for you personally.

Tailwinds, John

Offline BikePacker

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2021, 06:57:38 pm »
Generally speaking, if the road is rideable, I think it is safer to ride the road than a sidewalk.
Concur 100% with "if."

Offline hikerjer

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2021, 10:53:23 pm »
Intersting discussion. I suppose one could argue the sidewalk question both ways until the cows come home. Here's a twist. One of the busiest streets I often cycle along has a very wide, well seperated from the road and very safe multi-use path clearly labeled for use by both pedistrians and cyclists. This is not a sidewalk but a dedicated paved muti-use path. It's safe except for the numerous round-abouts one has to negotiate at busy intersections.  When crossing these intersecting streets at a round-about there are clear signs giving the pedistrian the right of way as well marked pedistrian crossings. The specific term "pedestrian" is used at the signs and crossings. I've often wondered about my status as a cyclists at these crossings. Generally, I slow down, take a good look and just ride across the crosswalk although technically I don't think I'm pedesrian since I'm still mounted on my bike. My concern is that if I would be on the crosswalk while on my bike and was hit by a vehicle, would the driver be at fault or could he or more likely, his laweyer, argue that I wasn't reallly a pedestran since I wasn't walking my bke through the crosswalk and therefore, the driver really wasn't at fault. What say you? Just curious.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 11:40:31 am by hikerjer »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2021, 06:30:41 am »
My concern is that if I would be on the crosswalk while on my bike and was hit by a vehicle, would the driver be at fault or could he or more likely, his laweyer, argue that I wasn't reallly a pedestran since I wasn't walking my bke through the crosswalk and therefore, the driver really wasn't at fault. What say you? Just curious.
My guess is that the laws covering that might vary by state or even municipality.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2021, 07:56:05 am »
Intersting discussion. . What say you? Just curious.
Based on reading years of postings herein,
I know that amongst y'all, that I am 'odd man out' with what I am about to express;
however, my m.o. is to most always just simply yield to cars & trucks, when : ) I have a choice,
Why?
Cause if they do not yield to me,
then I am possibly dead, or worse....
and, resultingly, may possibly not be doing much more cycling of any sort.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 07:58:02 am by BikePacker »

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2021, 07:13:35 pm »
A couple of years ago, as I was finishing up the Erie Canal Towpath and riding into Buffalo to a motel, I used the sidewalk for a few miles to the motel.  The road surface was rough and in about 40 minutes, I did not see any pedestrians.  It was a frontage road situation, with lots of parking lots on the non-road side of the sidewalk.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2021, 10:17:55 pm »
My concern is that if I would be on the crosswalk while on my bike and was hit by a vehicle, would the driver be at fault or could he or more likely, his laweyer, argue that I wasn't reallly a pedestran since I wasn't walking my bke through the crosswalk and therefore, the driver really wasn't at fault. What say you? Just curious.
My guess is that the laws covering that might vary by state or even municipality.

Absolutely, and the laws change all the time. I think the trend is for states to make bicycle use of the crosswalk legal, but there is usually a caveat restricting the speed at which the bicycle can enter the crosswalk.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2021, 10:31:39 am »
I was driving one Halloween evening and had a bicycle come off a sidewalk (dirt path where there should be concrete) and run into me as I was starting to pull out from a stop sign. It was already dark and raining lightly and visibility was extremely poor. I had started to pull out and had to pause for a fast moving car to pass. As I started to pull out again this kid shot off the side walk (driver's side - which was behind my field of vision at this point) and tried to swerve around the front of my car as I started to pull out. Needless to say I took him down, even though I hit the brakes as soon as I picked him up in my field of vision. There was no damage to his bike and he had a scrape on his knee. We were both lucky. I called the police and made the two kids stay until they arrived. The pair had been riding at night with no lights and apparently up to some Halloween mischief. The police were going to cite them for riding without lights but settled for a stern warning and told them to walk their bikes the 3 miles to home - which the cops were going to confirm with a few drive by check ups. I took pity and drove them to the end of their street. I held my breath for years expecting some sort of lawsuit.

We were just on the Erie Canal path this week and actually had to resort to the sidewalk in a construction area in Syracuse to get to our hotel. So, yeah, sometimes it is safer or the only option, but I view it as a last resort.
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