Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Bicyclists Will Stay On Sidewalks (And Bike Against Traffic)

Most of the city officials and city road workers I have met are not sympathetic to bicyclists as far as taking action to make streets more accommodating to bicyclists.

And many bicyclists I have met around Tampa are also not keen on the idea of cycling on the road either.

Like the bicyclist I met this afternoon while we both pedaled north on Florida Avenue. He was biking a used Cannondale road bicycle on the sidewalk while I was on my errand bicycle on the road surface.

While he was riding on the sidewalk he took evasive action to bike around the front of a SUV that was leaving a parking lot and exiting onto Florida Avenue. The bicyclist rode around the front of the car, avoiding a crash.

Then a pedestrian came walking right at him.

Again, more evasive action by the bicyclist. This time he swerved to the right onto grass next to the sidewalk to avoid crashing into the guy walking right at him.

He followed the curb cuts at each intersection, his bike rattling every time he bounced through the curb cut at the corner.

I finally caught up with him and inquired why he liked to bike on the sidewalk. I mentioned to him that I saw that the SUV almost broadsided him while he was biking on the sidewalk and that maybe he might be safer on the road.

He angrily said he wanted to bike on the sidewalk and said his daddy was killed while riding a bicycle in the street.

He thanked me for my interest and continued biking on the sidewalk.

I also met several bicyclists on Morris Bridge Road on the way to Flatwoods county park who insisted that it's safer to bike against cars.

Nothing I said could convince them otherwise.


GhostRider said...

I've noticed that, too...folks who look like they know what they're doing (cycling-specific clothing, helmets and good bikes), but are up on the sidewalk. It doesn't make a lot of sense...

To be fair, there are a couple short stretches where I use the sidewalk (going up Nebraska north of Hillsborough Ave. -- it's too damn fast and narrow for me to feel safe with my boy on the back of the Xtra), but otherwise I feel MUCH safer mixing it up in the street with the cars.

Rick said...

I couldn't agree more. I often see (or have to dodge) people riding against traffic. Especially, along the new bike lanes on Nebraska and Tampa St.. What are they thinking? Cycling with or in traffic, in my opinion, increases your visibility to other cars. It puts you in a predictable location with respect to drivers who are looking to avoid other vehicles.

Hymie said...

Why are your panties in a bunch? It's perfectly legal to ride bicycles on the sidewalk. See Fla. Stat. 316.2065 (10) and (11)

It's not comparable to riding against traffic. (I assume this is what you mean by "bike against cars.") That is prohibited by Fla. Stat. 316.2065 (5).

Hymie said...

Oh, yeah, one more thing. Some municipalities in their infinite wisdom (e.g., Bal Harbour) have decided to make it illegal to bike on the sidewalk, despite not providing bike lanes.

If you're all gosh-darned against riding on the sidewalk, perhaps you should contact your local city commission and get a law passed...