Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Biking on sidewalks is legal in DC

On today's Kojo Nnamdi show with Roger Lewis, at 23:14 into the segment a caller complains about bicyclists riding on the sidewalk and says that she's "pretty sure" it's illegal in DC. Lewis talked about how it's often reasonable to ride on the sidewalk, but didn't address the specific law.

A lot of people think riding on the sidewalk is illegal, but actually it's not true. You are allowed to ride on sidewalks except in the central business district, which is basically everything between Mass Ave and the Mall.

A map from DDOT:


Riding on sidewalks is legal in DC outside the gray area.
David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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I'm an avid cyclist and yet I hate to see people riding on the sidewalks. I was always taught it was against "etiquette" if not illegal. It is simply dangerous in a lot of cases, both to the cyclist and pedestrians. Making DC safer for cyclists should be focused on improving bike lanes, paths, etc., not encouraging cyclist/pedestrian collisions.

by G on May 29, 2008 3:32 pm • linkreport

G's on point here. Just cause it's legal doesn't mean it's right or advisable. I've counted too many bicyclists riding on sidewalks and being completely rude to pedestrians, as if it weren't enough to have only motorists be anti-bike. Get a helmet and get in the street, folks.

by fartynonsense on May 29, 2008 3:37 pm • linkreport

Whatever. I thought riding on sidewalks was illegal so I didn't. Now that I know it's not, I'll do it whenever I want.

by asl on May 29, 2008 4:32 pm • linkreport

"I've counted too many bicyclists riding on sidewalks and being completely rude to pedestrians"

But what they did wrong was being rude, not being on the sidewalk. I agree that one is usually safer on the street. But at times the sidewalk is the way to go. Some DC bike routes actually direct people to the sidewalk.

I think the bigger point is that people like to dismiss cyclists as scofflaws, but what they often point to - riding on the sidewalk or lane splitting for example - are legal.

by washcycle on May 29, 2008 5:30 pm • linkreport

I agree with washcycle, but would take it further: not only is sidewalk riding legal, sometimes it's necesary.

I generally prefer riding in the street because it tends to be better maintained than the sidewalk. However, in some situations it's simply too dangerous to be on the road (most of Wisconsin between Calvert and Western for instance). The road is already super congested, the drivers are aggressive, and there are next to no bike lanes there. I've already had 2 near misses.

When I have to use the sidewalk, I give warning, slow down for pedestrians, and even get off the bike when it's especially crowded. I realize it's not the best solution, but don't damn cyclists straight away when safety needs force us to be there.

by B on May 29, 2008 7:37 pm • linkreport

The city has some bike lane and, of course, I use them when available. But when I ride on the road, it's in the middle of a lane because that's safest for me. And I'll use the sidewalk when I feel that's the safest.

When drivers honk to get me out of the way, they often don't realize that I'm faster than auto traffic and will be way ahead of them in a few blocks. But that's besides the point, which is a bicyclist isn't blocking traffic but IS traffic.

by asl on May 29, 2008 8:38 pm • linkreport

B - I'm not intimately familiar with that part of Northwest, but if you're taking Wisconsin from Western to Calvert, it sure looks from the map like there are plenty of side streets to travel on that don't cost you much distance, given that that stretch of Wisconsin is only slightly off N-S over that stretch. Looks like it's hard to avoid Wisconsin between Rodman and Van Ness, but that's not very far. Surely you can make better time on 44th and Van Ness, or some other alternate route, than on the sidewalks of Wisconsin.

I'll ride on sidewalks if there's simply no safe alternative, but even a slow-moving cyclist is an implicit threat to a pedestrian: on foot, you've got to give the cyclist a lot more room to be comfortably safe than you would have to give a man pushing a wheelbarrow, who actually takes up more room. Cyclists are just a lot 'bigger' on the sidewalk than the actual space they take up, in terms of avoidance. It's just a bad combination.

by low-tech cyclist on May 30, 2008 6:08 am • linkreport

I think that it might be legal so that cyclists are protected when they have to get on the sidewalks. I don't know, it just strikes me as kind of weird that a cyclist would have the right to just plow on through like he/she would do on a street. My feeling is that if you can't ride on the street, and there are people on the sidewalk (ie, it is not 11 pm at night) then get off the bike and walk it. Do this especially when it's lunch hour downtown, and the like. To me, that is basic human courtesy and common sense. It is what I usually try to do. I mean, I am the imposition when I am on my bike on the sidewalk. I know that some humility is in order.

by Pedfriendly on May 30, 2008 8:09 am • linkreport

Everyone above is right, and it mostly comes down to making safe & courteous choices. If I've got to bike Mass Ave. after dark, I'm going to stick to the sidewalk for good stretches. I just have to know that pedestrians probably aren't going to expect to see me & that I'll have to go at ped-speed from time to time. Bike light or no bike light, large stretches of NY, Conn, Wisc, & Mass can feel unsafe when darkness coincides with suburbanites commuting home.

by Jad on May 30, 2008 1:44 pm • linkreport

A number of years ago a cycling advocate friend of mine told me about John Forester's Effective Cycling, which I read and which convinced me that vehicular cycling was the best way to cycle and therefore, that I could commute on streets that most non-cyclists found intimidating. So I rarely ride on sidewalks. I will sometimes: if there are no pedestrians around, then I ride briskly, but if there are, then I try to ride no faster than at pedestrian walking speed, and also yield to pedestrians the way I would if I were on foot.

Forester, of course, is a traffic engineer, and I've really come to distrust traffic engineers in general, so I'm more skeptical of the vehicular cycling theory now. And I'm also told that ideas which Forester hates, like bike lanes and bike trails, are really important for increasing bicycle mode share.

by thm on May 30, 2008 1:56 pm • linkreport

I'm 100% *pro-cycling* but sometimes cyclists are their own worst enemy.

I was in that gray area, on a sidewalk full of pedestrians, and was nearly hit by a cyclist coming up from behind me at a high rate of speed. She had the gall to make some nasty comment to me. That's certainly no going to win friends.

by JI on Jun 13, 2008 12:42 pm • linkreport

I agree with most of the above comments, so I won't repeat them. I will say that I don't ride on the sidewalk. Where I grew up (Georgia) it is illegal to do so. If I need to use a stretch of sidewalk, I dismount and walk my bike. I avoid major roads unless there is no alternative.

However, I think that it should be pointed out that while it is legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in DC (except downtown), regulations differ in other jurisdictions.

Virginia leaves it up to individual jurisdictions and puts the onus on them for posting restrictions. It is therefore safe to say that if you don't see a sign prohibiting sidewalk biking in Virginia, it's legal. (http://www.bikewalkvirginia.org/resources/documents/VirginiaBicycleRules2004.pdf)

Maryland has bicycle laws prohibiting sidewalk riding. In Maryland, a bicycle is conisdered a vehicle, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. (http://www.cpabc.org/mdlaws.htm)

by Matt' on Jun 16, 2008 4:19 pm • linkreport

I'm sick of bike riders on the sidewalks in my neighborhood. They should ride in the street like any other vehicle and get themselves bike lanes if that is so important. They go too fast, give too little warning and are rude to pedestrians making us get out of their way, rather than getting out of our way. IF they don't like the busy roads they should walk or take the bus like the rest of us.

by Julie Mugler on Feb 12, 2009 10:08 am • linkreport

I live in Dupont, and I don't mind cyclists on the sidewalk. Ideally, cyclists would prefer riding on a road (or so I'm told; I don't bike), which is smoother and faster than a sidewalk, so if s/he is on the sidewalk, I presume its for a good reason.

The bikers I have encountered have always been polite and cautious, and I would much rather be slightly inconvenienced for the 10 seconds max it takes us to maneouver around each other, than insist someone risk life and limb riding in our traffic.

Even if I were to encounter a rude cyclist, I don't think it would change my mind. Our streets aren't safe for cyclists, and until the city gets its act together and creates bike lanes that drivers will respect, I don't think its any big sacrifice on the part of pedestrians to be a bit flexible.

Its all about perspective.

Now, since I'm commenting, I'll add: what the city should ban are motorcycles. Motorcyclists are the real assholes - thinking everyone in the neighborhood needs to hear their ridiculous engine noise. Surely we have a noise pollution law? If not, let's get on and start picking off these fools.

by Nina M. on Mar 24, 2009 5:51 pm • linkreport

why trash motorcyclists? This is a very efficient and cheap form of transportation and doesn't use a lot of gas, doesn't take up a lot of parking space and doesn't cause traffic jams (like big hulking cars and busses do). Maybe you have some stereotypes about motorcyclists such as that we are "bad" or "aggressive". Maybe you need to clean your head out and start looking at the continuum of transportation options and let go of the Neo Luddite mentality that "bikes will save the earth."

by John Smth on Mar 25, 2009 11:46 pm • linkreport

Seems to me you're arguing against your own case there. And even in parts of DC where it is legal, doesn't make it smart. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians aren't expecting someone to be driving down the sidewalk, especially opposite the flow of adjacent traffic: Nobody's looking for you when you do that, and you're just begging some unsuspecting motorist to peg you when you do.

Ride safe, ride predictably, ride legal: Two out of three isn't good enough, and that's the best you can do on a sidewalk (it's not safe even if it's predictable, it's probably not predictable to other people what you need to do to safely clear obstacles, and it's often illegal to drive a bike on the sidewalk).

It'd be nice if we could join the rest of the first world in banning this practice except for children.

by Baloo on May 6, 2009 1:07 pm • linkreport

I went to DC this weekend with a friend. We took our bikes. In the area of NC that I am in, most streets have bike lanes. I think it is illegal to bike on the sidewalks but I ignore the rules since it's too dangerous to ride a bike in the street. I've known too many people who have been hit by cars because the people in vehicles get impatient and pass but drive too close and cause the biker to crash. Or they just straight out hit the biker and keep going.

When we were in DC, we biked on all the sidewalks (it wasn't till I got back and looked this up that I saw that there was a spot in DC that we shouldn't have been on the sidewalks. I guess since it was the weekend the cops didn't complain (since there were cops everywhere we went). But then we weren't the only ones on the sidewalk.

When we got in to heavy congested areas like around the outdoor resturants we either walked the bike or rode at the speed of the people walking. We wouldn't pass anyone or push people out of the way. Unfortuantely people who walk the streets get grumpy and yell to get on the street. We ignored them. Most like people who were either rude or drunk.

I don't see any problems with people biking on the sidewalk as long as they follow the patterns of pedistrians. If there are not many people then go slow and announce when you are about to pass. If it's heavy traffic then walk the bike or ride as slow as the walkers.

If you want to ride fast, then ride on the street. If you want to ride erratic, find find a wide open area like a park where people can see you. If you want to get around patiently then ride on the sidewalk.

It's not safe to ride in the street when there isn't may cars on the road. It's even less safe when you are in a big town like DC. Especially when you don't know where you are going in the first place.

I saw one person while up there who was on a bike and was trying to read a map while sitting still at a green light with an impatient taxi drier behind them. *laughs*

by bdot on Jun 1, 2009 8:01 pm • linkreport

@bodt: Translation: "I'm a selfish douchebag unconcerned with the welfare of others."

by Baloo on Jun 1, 2009 9:05 pm • linkreport

@Baloo: Translation: "I don't care if you get hit by a car, and I don't care if its legal - the sidewalk is mine, all mine."

by E. D'Arborea on Jun 2, 2009 8:42 am • linkreport

If vehicles were meant to operate on the sidewalk, you'd be allowed to drive on it with a bus, car, truck or van. Sidewalks are for pedestrians only, hence the word WALK.

by Baloo on Jun 2, 2009 4:55 pm • linkreport

Baloo, what's the headline of this post? "Biking on sidewalks is legal in DC."

This is a blog, hence the word READ.

by E. D'Arborea on Jun 2, 2009 7:11 pm • linkreport

I read that. It's legal to bludgeon yourself in the head with a baseball bat, too, but that doesn't make it smart.

by Baloo on Jun 2, 2009 7:31 pm • linkreport

Pedestrians ... Bring a bike and come with me one morning from Silver Spring to my work in Adams Morgan. I choose to ride on the sidewalk from East-West Hwy to Columbia Road. Riding on 16th Street would mean sure death or dismemberment! And, riding down Beach Drive through Rock Creek Park would probably mean the same - because I held up traffic, and someone takes a tire iron to me as they roar past! So, get me a decent bike lane commuter route, and I'll stay of the sidewalk and out of your way. Thanks.

by B. Jacobs on Jun 10, 2009 2:43 pm • linkreport

right, blackmail and drag us pedestrians into your personal cause to get a bike lane commuter route -- I expect you also expect us to PAY FOR THIS OUT OF OUR TAXES AS WELL -- instead of respecting us pedestrians and our right to be left in one piece, in peace

by Joanie Smith on Jun 11, 2009 2:53 pm • linkreport

Can't We All Just Get Along?? As a cyclist, LEGALLY riding on DC sidewalks, I'll respect your (pedestrian) space just as you should respect mine. Not all of us are obnoxious hoggers of the sidewalk.

by B. Jacobs on Jun 12, 2009 12:43 pm • linkreport

if you really respect pedestrian space you would dismount from your speeding bike when you approach a group of people waiting for the bus on the sidewalk rather than zizagging through them or expecting us to get our of YOUR way. That's what respect is. IT is NOT us pedestrians stepping aside to let YOU whip through us.

by john smith on Jun 19, 2009 10:28 pm • linkreport

Respectfully, I do not speed through pedestrians at a bus stop, and I do not stop to dismount. I approach making eye contact with folks standing there, and wait until a pathway is made ... if at all because some folks are just plain confrontational and just want to play a game of chicken instead of taking one step forward/back.

by B. Jacobs on Jun 20, 2009 8:54 am • linkreport

I ride on the sidewalk for safety, after almost being hit several times in a bike lane - some agressive driver turning right and disregarding the bike lane.

I am very conscious and courteous of pedestrians. I ride on the opposite sidewalk of the commuter traffic to avoid people waiting at bus stops. And in my ride on sidewalks (down 16th street), I pass an average of three or four pedestrians per block.

It's legal, there is definitely room for both on the sidewalk - and it just takes polite behavior to make it work.

by SB on Jun 25, 2009 2:28 pm • linkreport

Perhaps it is legal for biking on sidewalks; however, just as SB thinks that using the streets for biking is dangerous to the biker; we pedestrians have the same concern about aggressive and/or unware bikers, who give no warnings - just this morning I was almost hit by 2 different bikers who sped past me as I walk along the sidewalk. It is quite a bit to be concern about other joggers, pedestrians with dog (large and small), parents with strollers and vehicles entering and exiting blind spots, to have to add to the mix bikers on the sidewalk. Very soon, we pedestrians will have to start scurring up trees and then the squirrels will have to learn how to fly. It would be nice if the bikers used the streets and left the sidewalks to the pedestrians and so forth. ,-)

by Lmh on Jul 13, 2009 11:30 am • linkreport

DC should change its law that lets bicylcsts ride on sidewalks to one with NO BIKES ON SIDEWALKS. There are a lot more people now than when this law was first enacted and WE PEDESTRIANS NEED THE SIDE W A L K. That bike riders expect us to make space for them so they can speed through us is just outrageous. Time for DC law to be changed!
On my way to see my city counciller today!
(take that you idiot bicyclists!)

by John E Smith on Jul 15, 2009 9:44 pm • linkreport

Are you guys nuts? Biker etiquette? What about life etiquette, ride on northern virginia and dc roads and your more than likely going to be in a hospital or dead. There are so many drunks and teen girls on the road. Its way to risky, riding on a sidewalk is the only safe thing to do. Plus, not everyone has Road Bikes and go 20 mph, alot people ride for fun and go about 10-15 mph, like myself and are nice to people walking on sidewalks. Sure there are jerks on bikes but not me or maybe others. The main thing is this, if riders didnt have the sidewalk we would be in a big mess. And I really dont feel like dying while riding on busy streets, which in NOVA and DC are plenty galore.

by Marcelo Miranda on Aug 19, 2009 10:41 pm • linkreport

Maryland Law

Subtitle 11. Miscellaneous Rules. 21-1103 Driving on sidewalk
(a)
Driving prohibited – Except as provided in subsection (b), (c), or (d) of this section, a person may not drive a vehicle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area unless it is a permanent or authorized temporary driveway.
(b)
Exceptions - Bicycles, play vehicles, etc. –
(1)
For the purposes of this subsection, “bicycle” does not include “moped”, as defined an Section 11-134.1 of this article.
(2)
Where permitted by local ordinance, a person may ride a bicycle, play vehicle, or unicycle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area.
(c)
Same – Special vehicles of individuals with disabilities person. – Unless prohibited by local ordinance, an individual with a disability may use a special vehicle other than a wheelchair on sidewalks or sidewalk areas.
(d)
Use of wheelchair on sidewalks. – An individual may use a wheelchair on sidewalks or sidewalk areas in accordance with subsection 21-501.1 of the title.

by DR on Apr 20, 2010 11:01 am • linkreport

Today I was criticized by an angry pedestrian for riding too close to him on the sidewalk. I try to be courteous to pedestrians, give them plenty of room, and ride slowly when I'm on the sidewalk (I mostly ride on the street, but sometimes go on the sidewalk when there's no bike lane). In this case I admit that I screwed up and immediately apologized to him.

But as I was about to pull away he started complaining about being sick of bicyclists on the sidewalk, there's a bike lane right over there that I should have been in, and how the city is wasting his tax dollars on these things when people like me don't use them anyway. So, annoyed, I pointed out that it was a one-way street in the wrong direction, so I couldn't very well have used that particular bike lane, and there are no streets with bike lanes between my home and office that go in the right direction in the morning (I do ride in the bike lane all the way home in the evening). I would be glad if the city spent our tax dollars (I pay taxes, too...) on more bike lanes so I wouldn't be faced with only having the choice of riding in the car lane on a lot of streets. Unfortunately, this turned into a heated debate that went on for several blocks and ended in the pedestrian insulting my intelligence because I didn't agree with all of his criticisms, although I apologized repeatedly for not being considerate and riding too close to him (obviously I didn't hit him or anything but he seemed concerned.)

He was right about one other thing: I should have educated myself about the debate about riding on sidewalks vs. the street. Thanks to this and other articles I now know he was wrong about it being illegal in DC - but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.

All that said I suppose it doesn't do anyone any good to be discourteous to others and stoke the flames of car vs. bike vs. pedestrian antagonisms. If I do decide to go on the sidewalk again I will definitely be a LOT more careful and heed the good advice of those above. I may even be convinced to stay off the sidewalk altogether... (perhaps the most convincing argument for that being that we all need to try to get along...)

P.S. I come from LA, where it also is legal to ride on the sidewalk. But in most places around the country this isn't the case.

by BN on Oct 22, 2010 10:45 am • linkreport

Not surprisingly, most of the comments completely ignored the point here - it is illegal in the downtown area, where I see the greatest density of cyclists on sidewalks and I've never seen police respond when they obviously see it. Worse, there is a bike-rental operation behind the Old Post Office, in the downtown area, that actually encourages its customers to ride on sidewalks. These frequently consist of people who wobble all over the place, and less commonly teenagers who think they are kamikazes.

by walker on May 15, 2011 4:00 pm • linkreport

Sorry BN, the one-way is not really an excuse. You choose to be on the sidewalk or not, just as you choose not to use an appropriate one-way street, probably one block over. I just heard the longest torrent of the most pathetically moronic crude epithets, from a 30+ on an expensive bike and in several hundred dollars of bike fashion, who objected to a woman on the sidewalk getting in his way. When challenged, he also used the one-way argument, though there are appropriate bikelanes one block in either direction. Several people listening to this guy indicated how this motivates them to be in the path of other cyclists on the sidewalk. Loudmouth and scofflaw cyclists are endangering all cyclists.
I don't cycle in DC because, like many cyclists, I don't like my odds on too many of the streets. I walk because I think it's dangerous and arrogant for adults to bike on sidewalks - way too many near misses every day. I have no sympathy for deluded dandies who dress up for the olympics but find it too burdensome to move one block over to an appropriate bikelane - it's like wearing a target if you are going to be an idiot.

by walker on May 15, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

I don't understand how it's safer for cyclists to ride in the street. A bike hitting a pedestrian is far less serious than a car hitting a bike. In either case (sidewalk or street) the cyclist has responsibilities to ensure safety and so do cars. Naturally, there will ALWAYS be people who are jerks but all in all it's just far less deadly when a biker hits a pedestrian than when a car hits a biker. I do think however that if a bike wants to travel over a certain speed, then they should be required to ride in the street.

by S on May 15, 2011 5:09 pm • linkreport

@walkler:

I have no sympathy for deluded dandies who dress up for the olympics but find it too burdensome to move one block over to an appropriate bikelane - it's like wearing a target if you are going to be an idiot.

I'd like to introduce you to 'w' someday. He has the same contempt for anyone who rides at a faster clip than 12 mph, but thinks all cyclists should be required to ride on the sidewalk. I'd love to hear the debate between you two.

by oboe on May 15, 2011 7:19 pm • linkreport

@S:

I don't understand how it's safer for cyclists to ride in the street.

Sure, it's pretty simple really. Even if you're riding on the sidewalk, you're going to need to cross at intersections, and curb-cuts like driveways. If you're in the street you're visible. If you're not, you're likely to get hit by turning cars.

Statistics show that the chances of your being hit by a turning car are much, much greater than being hit by an overtaking vehicle. Cyclists actually make themselves *less* safe by riding on the sidewalks, even in high-traffic multilane roads.

Generally we do this as a favor to drivers. As you might imagine, we don't get a whole heck of a lot of credit for it, though.

by oboe on May 15, 2011 7:30 pm • linkreport

So, biking on the sidewalk is legal in some areas. You're more likely to get killed whilst biking on the sidewalk because cars don't expect bicyclists. If people dismount their bikes at certain points (crossing the street, coming upon a curb, traveling past a driveway) what's the problem with sharing the sidewalk (especially when there's no biking lane)? If the cyclist is traveling at a reasonable speed, dismounts and walks their bike past pedestrians, and takes other safety precautions, what's the problem?
Some people have cited safety reasons (speeding past pedstrians, zigzagging past pedestrians, getting hit by a car not expecting you), but others just seem like they want sidewalks all to themselves.

by John J. on Jul 19, 2011 7:59 pm • linkreport

"Maryland has bicycle laws prohibiting sidewalk riding. In Maryland, a bicycle is conisdered a vehicle, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. (http://www.cpabc.org/mdlaws.htm)"

WRONG. Bicycling on a sidewalk is completely legal in Maryland.

-----------
§ 21-1103. Driving on sidewalk.

(a) Driving prohibited.- Except as provided in subsection (b), (c), or (d) of this section, a person may not drive any vehicle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area unless it is a permanent or authorized temporary driveway.

(b) Exceptions - Bicycles, play vehicles, etc.-

------------

Actually, bicycling on a road with cars is often the illegal thing in Maryland. It is legal to drive on a road shared by cars only if the road has no shoulder and the speed limit is than 50 mph. Typically cyclists must drive on the shoulder OR sidewalk.

by Biycling on a sidewalk is legal in Maryland on Jul 31, 2011 10:02 pm • linkreport

Sounds like Maryland itself is wrong on the issue, and is actively trying to get people run over.

by Paul Johnson on Jul 31, 2011 10:34 pm • linkreport

Wow, Bicycling, thanks for the clarification that biking on the sidewalk is legal in Maryland too.

I just moved from Virginia, where it is also legal, and where I always used discretion when choosing between the road or sidewalk. On hilly and twisty suburban roads with no shoulder, sometimes a deserted sidewalk running parallel to the street is a lifesaver.

I'm glad to hear it's legal in Maryland and most of DC too. A bicyclist can notice and yield to pedestrians more easily and with less at stake than a car can notice and yield to bicyclists.

I agree that in urban environments, biking on the road is frequently safer for the bicyclist because of car visibility/turning issues. And the smooth road surface is certainly more comfortable and energy-efficient than the sidewalk. But there do exist roads where the sidewalk would be safer. Bicyclists should be allowed to make that judgment call on a case-by-case basis.

by Julia K. on Aug 2, 2011 3:54 pm • linkreport

@Julia K: Statistically speaking, you're less likely to notice a pedestrian on the sidewalk if you're riding on it, and motorists are more likely to not notice you on a bicycle and run you over at a driveway or crosswalk, if you ride on the sidewalk rather than riding on the road. The vast majority of injury and fatal accidents involving bicycles happens because the bicyclist was on the sidewalk.

by Paul Johnson on Aug 2, 2011 7:02 pm • linkreport

Wait, how are bicyclists less likely to notice pedestrians if they're riding on the sidewalk? Since the majority of injuries and fatalities are because of a bicyclist getting hit by a car at a driveway or crosswalk, wouldn't the less debate worthy solution be to require bicyclists to dismount their bikes before crossing driveways or intersections?

by John J. on Aug 3, 2011 12:02 am • linkreport

Why bother bringing the bicycle if you're just going to have to dismount, stop or slow to walking speed every 70 feet? Easier to just walk at that point, or safer and easier to use the vehicle lanes.

by Paul Johnson on Aug 3, 2011 12:24 am • linkreport

It's amazing hearing the complaints to cyclists and pedestrians. I have been a pedestrian in D.C. and I have had no problems with cyclists, but that is mainly because I lived in Japan for a few years where cyclists and pedestrians are both aware of their surroundings and both are courteous. Cycling on the sidewalks in commonplace. The overall attitude is common courtesy there but it seems as though here everyone has their own idea of how things should be and they stick to it rather than simply practicing common courtesy. For instance today I was crawling on the sidewalk today and almost hit someone I was not going fast enough to hurt her...actually she was facing me with her arm sticking out and saw me coming...and I was the one who fell. The woman reamed me out before I could even apologise to her. In Japan I would have been able to get in at least five apologies and maybe been able offer something to show my regrets. That's what I'm used to. No matter whether the person saw me I still apologise. Drivers where I lived in Japan are also the same way. They are very courteous, careful and apologetic. Along with all of this It is dangerous to ride in the streets in Washington D.C. It's tough riding on sidewalks too. If I didn't have arthritis in my knees (I'm young to have arthritis) I would walk everywhere like I used to, but walking still puts too much pressure on my knees.

by visitor on Jan 27, 2012 3:07 pm • linkreport

Car doors open into bike lanes injuring cyclists. Cars sometimes block or pull into the bike lanes and cause accidents. We need safer options for cyclists. Finally, why are segways allowed in bike lanes and on sidewalks even in the gray zone, but bikes are prohibited?

by Randy Brown on Sep 29, 2012 7:12 am • linkreport

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