Riding on the sidewalk against traffic- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Riding on the sidewalk against traffic

    I've started commuting in the past 2 months, and there are two sections that I have been riding on the sidewalk... one is against traffic. The rest of the time I'm in the road. Tell me if I'm out of line here please.

    1st spot is on the way to work, Its about a mile long moderately steep uphill with no bike lane and a semi-blind curve. If a car is in the lane they will have their left tire on the line and their right tire about a foot from the gutter. I hop the curb onto the sidewalk and pedal up the hill in the same direction as automobile traffic. Speed limit on the road is 50mph with regular 60mph+ speeders and big rigs.

    2nd spot is on the way home. Again, it is an area with no bike lanes and an uphill. It is passing through a major freeway onramp with no traffic control (traffic moves from city street to freeway at near freeway speeds.) The right side of the road HAD a sidewalk/dirt path that was removed in favor of landscaping. The wrong side of the road has a sidewalk that I have been riding. I climb the hill (bike path on the right side begins about halfway up the hill) and continue on the sidewalk for about 800 feet on the wrong side of the road until I can cross over to ride on the road again.

    Am I doing the wrong thing by riding on the sidewalk in these spots? There is a route that I could take to bypass both of these problem areas; but there are some further safety issues riding the alternate route along with 2 extra hills.

  2. #2
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    I would have to say that a bike does not belong anywhere near a road where people are driving 60.

  3. #3
    Frt Range, CO
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    I do the same thing here. There's a section of road that has really fast traffic and I use the sidewalk. I ride against the traffic on the sidewalk so nobody can right hook me when making a right turn. I am very aware of right hooks from left turning cars at every driveway/parking lot and sidestreet. I yield to everything, walkers/runners/cars/whatever.

  4. #4
    jrm
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    Riding thru interchanges sucks

    [some times sidewalks will be removed to discourage ped/bike access and improve operation. At least drivers are seeing you as you approach the on ramp. But id find another route just so wouldnt have to cross that on ramp.


    I say try the alternative route you spoke of. My route takes me about 3 miles out of way so i can ride on a class II facility instead of thru an very old busy interchange. avoid interchanges. I like it cuz its a much nicer ride then taking a shorter route.

  5. #5
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    i don't commute a lot but i say ride wherever it is safe. if there are not a lot of pedestrians on the sidewalk and the road is unsafe, by all means, take that sidewalk!

  6. #6
    Off the back...
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    I'd generally berate you for riding on the sidewalk, but in this case I think you're doing the right thing. You may want to look at an alternate route - the extra 3 miles and two hills sound like a great way to stay in shape for mtn biking...

  7. #7
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    I would not fault you in either of these instances. Ultimately, you have to do what is going to get you to work safely and if that includes riding on the sidewalk, against traffic then so be it. In some areas this is legal anyway, because there isn't any other safe route for a cyclist. Check your local traffic ordinances if you're curious, otherwise I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
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  8. #8
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter
    .........I yield to everything, walkers/runners/cars/whatever.
    Me too, along with slowing way down if congested.

    I have several similar unsafe areas on my commute as well. When going against any traffic rules, resume following traffic laws as soon possible. I like to believe if I ever to get stopped by law enforcement, logic would prevail.
    .

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  9. #9
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    Do what is safe. I use to have to ride against traffic on a sidewalk for about a 1/4 mile but even that got too dangerous. Cars only look left to turn right and don't see you. So I just added .2 miles to my route going to work by avoiding that section all together. Plus in California, its illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk and also against traffic. Bikes follow the same rules of the road as a motor vehicle, and I take advantage of that.
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  10. #10
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    Here in Cali, you'll get some of the bike commuting Nazi's who would hammer you for jumping on the sidewalks...we all take our lives into our hands at times being out on the road on a bike anyways, if your route is that unsafe find an alternative like you mention...personally I stay on the road wherever I travel, and like some of the others here I often use alterantive routes that are safer...

    Be predictable, hold your line, wear bright clothes...be safe.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tr2biker
    Here in Cali, you'll get some of the bike commuting Nazi's who would hammer you for jumping on the sidewalks...we all take our lives into our hands at times being out on the road on a bike anyways, if your route is that unsafe find an alternative like you mention...personally I stay on the road wherever I travel, and like some of the others here I often use alterantive routes that are safer...

    Be predictable, hold your line, wear bright clothes...be safe.
    Yeah, but you also live in one of the most bike friendly states around. I simply could not believe all the bike lanes there were in SLO and Pismo Beach. I've never seen a more bike friendly area.

    Regards to the OP, do what you feel is right. Personally, I plan my routes through town so as to minimize any contact with cars as possible, and if that means riding a couple miles out of my way to get to a dedicated bike path, then that's what I do.

  12. #12
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    Regards to the OP, do what you feel is right.
    agreed, gotta do what you as a individual feels is safe...Santa Barbara is just awesome too, and of course Davis.

    Yeah, but you also live in one of the most bike friendly states around. I simply could not believe all the bike lanes there were in SLO and Pismo Beach. I've never seen a more bike friendly area.
    I also agree about California roads, for the most part...I do NOT to live in the friendliest bike commuting area in California by any means...still nice to have the option to ride everyday to work! Most folks around here think it is just to dangerous, and steep (difficult)...I just laugh knowing what so many people are missing here...to each his own I guess.

  13. #13
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    I ride the sidewalks all the time (granted I am a student and my commute parallels campus so there are bikes everywhere and the sidewalks are 2 to 3 times wider than a normal one) its pretty much expected...

    but I would say you are in the right, id rather be safe than sorry especially when dealing with traffic congestion moving at 60mph

  14. #14
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    In my town it is illegal to ride against traffic on the sidewalk, but you can ride with traffic on the sidewalk. I would probably take the different route myself.

  15. #15
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    i ride sidewalks all i can unless theres a bike lane/parking lane to keep a buffer between me and grandma/grandpa/SUV SOCCER MOM.... i ride WITH traffic if at all possible but i do have to ride against every so often....just remember if youre in a accident and your on the wrong side they will more than likely blame you (been there, done that, have the AC DISLOCATION to prove it)
    just be careful cause you as bicycle rider have to deal with the same things i do as a motorcycle rider....... I DIDNT SEE HIM !!! ........ youre invisible .....

  16. #16
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    Where i live it is also legal to ride sidewalks, There is a no sholder 45MPH section that I do it on all the time.

    In general I assume every car is trying to hit me... So if that means riding the sidwalk to feel safe, then so be it.

    I think in the downtown area (very small for me) you cannot ride on the side walks. Speed limit is 25 and they are wide roads, so I don't mind riding the street.

  17. #17
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    I'd have to say no the sidewalk riding. ESPECIALLY against traffic. The one and only near really bad accident I have ever been in involved just such a scenario:

    I am riding on the sidewalk, against traffic (why oh why oh why?!?!? It was a short couple blocks, and I didn't think it was a big deal), and a car pulls forward in a driveway wanting to turn left. Naturally, he's looking away from me to make sure there is no oncoming traffic... trick is, I can't really see him from where I am either.... so I wind up sliding the bike sideways and down to avoid the collision. After pulling myself and my bike out from under the front of his car... I apologized for where I was riding. It was stupid. It was equally stupid for him to turn without looking BOTH ways, but many many drivers do this when there is a safe center turn lane to scoot into.

    Of either sidewalk to choose to ride, the one against the traffic flow is the most dangerous.

  18. #18
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    Doesn't seem like a big deal to me based on your description, mostly because both spots are uphill and I'm assuming your speed is really slow. Are there cross streets that come out along these sections, so you have to cross them while on the sidewalk? That could be a complication, becuase those people shouldn't be expecting you... otherwise it sounds like you're making a reasonable choice by riding on the sidewalk when you are forced to.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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