SIDEWALK RIDING, OH NO! Yes, we mentioned sidewalk riding. Those rough, uneven, busted, cracked, not even fit to be called a riding surface, that only pedestrians can survive.
Many of us cyclists would prefer to ride in the road, instead of trying to navigate these awful areas (known as sidewalks) that resemble the surface of the moon.
Unfortunately, sometimes we have no choice but to ride on the sidewalk. Maybe there’s a main road with no bicycle lanes. Or a bridge close to an expressway that we must cross.
As much as we’d love to ride on the main road, and avoid fighting for riding space with pedestrians, sometimes it’s the only option.
Whether you’re the type of cyclist that’s afraid to ride on the road. Or your commute makes it too dangerous to do so. We’re going to give you some sidewalk riding tips, so that you can survive these awful surfaces, when you have no other choice.
Just remember that we warned you of the following should you dare to ride on the sidewalk:
- Riding on the sidewalk might be illegal: I know, it just doesn’t seem fair! Even though we’re riding a bike, and have to ride on the road with vehicles that are much bigger and heavier than us, we still have to follow the same rules of the road. Cars aren’t allowed on sidewalks, and this is sometimes the same for bicycles.
- Can be dangerous for us and pedestrians: The dangers us poor cyclists have to endure when riding on the sidewalk. We have to watch out for cars pulling out of driveways. Vehicles turning at intersections. And of course pedestrians that we don’t want getting hurt either.
Us cyclists don’t want to break any laws, get crushed by any vehicles, or hurt any pedestrians who have every right to be on the sidewalk. All we want to do is get to our destination as safely and stress-free as possible.
Here’s how to survive sidewalk riding and live to tell all your cycling buddies about it
- WATCH YOUR SPEED: I know, I know. We all have places to be, and sometimes have to pick up the pace to get there. The problem is that the sidewalk is made exclusively for pedestrians. Pedestrians move at a much slower speed than us making it much easier for us to run into them, causing injury. Ride at a speed no faster than a relaxed jog, and use your bell to notify pedestrians whenever approaching from behind. (Don’t ring your bell in Japan, it’s illegal)
- GIVE PEDESTRIANS THE RIGHT-OF-WAY: Whenever approaching pedestrians from behind, let them know you’re there politely. Don’t yell, swear, or just speed past them without giving notice. Ring your bell ahead of time from a distance, so you don’t startle them. If you don’t own a bell, politely ask them to let you pass.
- BE CAUTIOUS AT INTERSECTIONS AND DRIVEWAYS: When approaching intersections or riding past driveways, be extremely cautious. Intersections are the most dangerous sections of the road, because drivers don’t always look before turning. While passing driveways, be on the lookout for drivers that don’t expect you to be there when backing out.
- USE THE CROSSWALKS TO CROSS THE STREET: Don’t jump off the sidewalk to the street randomly into traffic. Drivers don’t expect you to suddenly transition from the sidewalk to riding in the road. Use the crosswalk to cross the road to avoid getting hit by a car.
- WALK YOUR BIKE WHEN NECESSARY: This is going to hurt, but sometimes, you just need to get of your bike and walk it. Yes, we know you ride a bike because it’s way faster than walking, but sometimes walking your bike is way safer than walking. Walking your bike is much better than getting hit by a car while crossing a street, or hitting a pedestrian.
As cyclists, we always strive to follow all rules of the road, while also keeping ourselves and others safe (such as pedestrians).
Riding the sidewalk is never the first option when trying to get to our destination, safely and stress-free. But that’s not always possible, which is why this sidewalk riding survival guide is so useful.