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Robert Thomson said:
"Biking manuals do point it out, but what are the chances a biker is going to see the manuals?"

Better question is: What are the chances that a police officer is going to see the manuals?

I work in downtown DC and don't often see bikers on the sidewalk -- when I do, they're usually on their way to bike racks or a garage entrance.

The rest of DC is open for bikers, so I wonder if the pedestrian knows that north of Mass Av, biking is allowed on sidewalks.

It always frustrates me that people see the speed a bike is traveling as the controlling factor on whether or not it is dangerous to pedestrians. It certainly plays a role but the experience and the courtesy of the rider plays a far more important role. If we are going strictly on speed I would guess you are actually more likely to get hit by a rider going under 10 MPH than one going over 10 MPH on a trail or bridge.

Carla, that was my immediate reaction. I rarely see bicyclists on the sidewalk downtown. And if I do, they are either the super slo-mo guys on mountainbikes w/o helmets or commuters trying to get into the garage.

Maybe bicyclists should whine more about pedestrians stepping into ttraffic and endangering us to see who really most enjoys a good pissing match.

I think people have no idea what a 10mph speed limit means for riding a bicycle. Most people probably canot ride in a straight line at that speed.

I ride a short way on the sidewalk as I approach my office on I street which carries a veritable train of metro and commuter buses. Pedestrians, especially tourists - I call them "Dervishes" for one can never tell where they shall whirl next. I simply ride the same speed as pedestrians walk on those final stretches. In my 20 years of DC bike commuting I have never hit anyone. I HAVE been hit by a bus, also by TWO softballs while riding on the Mall.

Amy Smith wrote: especially tourists - I call them "Dervishes"

I call them "tourons."

The sidewalk thing got me, too. I work downtown and ride one block on the sidewalk at the end of my commute, doing pretty much the same as Amy - slowing down and going their speed if they happen to be around. I used to metro to work and walking down 17th from FW, I almost never saw/see any cyclists on the sidewalk, especially inconsiderate or reckless ones.

As for the speed limit on the bridge, I rode it this weekend and if you haven't ridden it yet, I can tell you that you'd quickly hit 10 mph coasting from a dead start as you approach land on the VA side. That speed limit is ridiculous! +1 on dcl's comment.

I too ride on the sidewalk at the end of my commute and have never, in 5 years, come close to hitting a walker. I slow to a crawl around them and anticipate changes in direction. Although I ride on the road 99% of the time, riding on the road for this part of my commute requires me to do something that I think is too dangerous.

And BTW, I often see police officers on the sidewalk as well. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but we are in the forbidden zone.

What is this person doing that they have been nearly hit multiple times?

Maybe he's one of the people who jump five feet in the wrong direction when you call out "On your left."

The sidewalk thing shows up often in the drivers vs. cyclists vs. pedestrians comment threads. Frankly, as a pedestrian, I almost never see cyclists on the sidewalk - when I do it's outside the CBD, and they're going slow (too slow for safety sometimes). But then I don't spend a lot of time downtown. There may be some bad spots - I know that people often complain about crossing Mass near union station as a place where cyclists pass too closely (and I've seen several such incidents). Still, I hardly ever see cyclists on the sidewalk.

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