Cyclists: Stay off the sidewalks

Bike lane in Columbia, Missouri
Image by MoBikeFed via Flickr

For my cycling friends who don’t get Parade Magazine in their Sunday newspaper, or who don’t get a Sunday paper at all, I thought I’d post this link about an increasingly bike-friendly city.

As interesting as I found the article, the comment by “cyclesafety” was more thought provoking. He or she points out that separating bicycles from traffic (alluding to sidepaths, if I understood correctly, and specifically citing bike lanes) raises its own significant safety issues.

I agree with the commenter that education is important, but I don’t share the negative view of bike lanes – unless they’re poorly placed. They aren’t a perfect solution, but they can be useful on particularly busy roads where motorists aren’t used to seeing cyclists (like one I experienced last week in Denver).

Sidepaths, though?

On a ride just this morning, before I read the story about Columbia, a friend said  he thought all new road projects should include a “wide sidewalk” for cyclists. I had to disagree. Sidewalks (and I consider sidepaths just wide sidewalks) are for pedestrians, skaters and children. They can be dangerous for cycling, and they are not necessary.

We need more cyclists – and fewer cars – on the streets. Our presence can be part of the education effort. We don’t need to reinforce the opinion many motorists seem to share about cyclists belonging on the sidewalks.

We need to share the road.

* * *

That commenter, in case you didn’t see it, suggested these links for information about vehicular cycling:

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2 Responses to “Cyclists: Stay off the sidewalks”

  1. 1 art3 September 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I agree completely. For my part, I try to act like a law-abiding and law-conscious cyclist every time I am on the road or street. For me this means stopping at stop signs, being assertive of my rights as a cyclist but also being considerate of drivers by riding in a predictable manner, and clearly signally my intentions every time.

  1. 1 Basics Rule For Bicycle Riding Safety | a directory of bicycle parts Trackback on December 5, 2009 at 12:15 pm
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