« Sunday Video - Americathon | Main | No bikes at MLK Memorial »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The best way to reduce the number of people riding on sidewalks is to simply provide a safe place for them to ride on the street.

I regularly encounter Columbia Heights sidewalk cyclists traveling annoyingly close, but the collision risk here is exaggerated or the result of people looking for trouble. It's not a matter of safety but of courtesy. Rudeness doesn't sound as dramatic as safety. ("Won't anyone think of the children!")

The aggressive sidewalk riding ought to end, of course.

It'd be a lot easier to analyze this problem, and propose solutions, if people were more specific about the riders involved. Sure, there are cyclists of all descriptions riding on sidewalks, but I've found that the more aggressive cyclists are overwhelmingly teenage and pre-teen kids or people who (look) Latino. That demographic split suggests that the normal outreach programs aren't going to have much effect.

How is a non-English-speaker supposed to know how to ride a bike in this city, anyway? Mightn't teenagers have a wholly different perspective than adults? They've never driven a car in the street.

Is it LACBC that's been doing good outreach work to "invisible" groups?

But no, if he's on a bike, he's a cyclist, and all cyclists are the same.

I should clarify: I mean to say that we don't know a whole lot about some kinds of cyclists, including the ones who seem disproportionately to be riding on Columbia Heights sidewalks.

If someone isn't in a bikelane, well, why isn't he in a bikelane? There's some basic user research needed here.

Because the sidewalk is separated from the bike lane by a barrier of parked cars?

More than once, I have encountered cyclists on the sidewalks along Fairfax Drive in Arlington (Ballston). I've been told it's because it's safer. (Of course, Ballston is where a cyclist told me it's safer if he runs red lights.)

There is no pat answer to this issue. It's completely contextual, and I say this as one who strongly advocates riding in the road. Cyclists should use the roads whenever they can/should, ride slowly where there are pedestrians, etc. This will not eliminate problems. Shared use of a facilities for two modes of transport with greatly different speeds will alwyas be contentious. And that's not even mentioning the fact that sidewalks are really not just for transportation, they are social spaces in their own right.

By "car-driver fight" you really meant the War on Cars, right?

@Crickey7: And riding on the sidewalk is illegal in most of Maryland (including parts of MoCo).

@Contrarian: Coincidentally, I was starting to draft something on sidewalk riding in Maryland. I hit a point where your in-depth understanding of vehicle codes may be invaluable.

Do you know the legal basis for the well-known rule that left-turning vehicles yield to those proceeding straight in MD? All I can find is the requirement to yield to vehicles on the right (since once you start to turn left the oncomming traffic is on the right). Some states have an explicit requirement that left-turning vehicles yield, but I don't see that in the Maryland Rule.

Jim, it's here:

§ 21-402. Vehicle turning left or making U-turn

(a) Turning left. -- If the driver of a vehicle intends to turn to the left in an intersection or into an alley or a private road or driveway, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and is in the intersection or so near to it as to be an immediate danger.

@NeilB. Thanks. I don't know why that didn't register--I even stared at that section.

You and I once noticed that at uncontrolled intersections, the boulevard rule applies to bikes, that is, the cyclist does not have right of way merely by virtue of being in the crosswalk when riding along a trail, or a sidewalk that follows a road with a stop sign at the intersection.

But I had assumed that a cyclist riding along a major road would always have right of way in the crosswalk anyway at uncontrolled intersections, for the same reasons that all vehicles have the right of way--the boulevard rule. But now I am unable to find any basis for assuming that a cyclist on the left sidewalk would generally have the right of way over a car coming from the opposite direction, who makes a right turn (provided that the driver signals and slows to an appropriate speed that makes yielding practicable). The driver turning right is coming from the cyclist's right, which seems to give the driver right-of-way under § 21-401; and § 21-402 only talks about drivers turning left.

Any ideas on that one?

I meant cyclist-driver fight

Been there, done that.

Jim, sorry about the late response - I've been having some medical "issues" that have kept me away from the computer. Anyway, I don't know what you mean by the boulevard rule.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader