Cyclists, beware!

I keep coming close to killing people (motorists behind me, cyclists, or oncoming traffic) by having to brake suddenly because there’s nowhere to go to avoid the cyclist on the road or the oncoming car in the other lane.

Those of you who are cyclists: how do you feel about this? Do you condone riding wherever, whenever? Please don’t just flame; I really want to know the other side to this!

There is no other side to it.

They should ride on the sidewalks or not ride at all.


Well, I can see where if you were going to ride 30 miles or whatever, going up and down all the curbs would pretty much make for an unhappy booty. Plus, people walking their dogs get in the way. So I guess I understand why not on the sidewalk.

On major thouroughfares they have bike trails, or medians, don’t they?

"No job’s too small, we bomb them all."
-Ace Wrecking Company

In lots of cities (Chicago, for one), it’s illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. No joke. You can get a ticket if you’re not in the street next to the cars, risking life and limb.

Where are we going?
And why am I in this handbasket?

No way! If you let them ride on the sidewalks, where the hell is my wife supposed to drive then?

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

It’s illegal, inconsiderate and dangerous to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in NYC.

More importantly, whenever I see a bicyclist on the sidewalk, I find a stick or an umbrella or something.

Then I ram it through the spokes.


So stay off the fucking sidewalk.


Yeah, Misanthrope, there’s no other side to it, but you got it wrong. Bicycles are vehicles, and as such, are entitled to use of the public roadways. Cyclists must, of course, ride with traffic, and obey all the rules of the road including speed limits and traffic signals.

In many (if not most) municipalities it is expressly illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk.

Bicyclists do not register their bikes and pay exhorbatent(sp?) taxes for road maintenance. (Although AK is far less the CA) They are not motor vehicles. More and more highways are forbidding pedistrian traffic with bicycles on the list. So bicycles are not vehicles!

pldennison: I understand that cyclists have the right to use the roadway, which for many roads may be fine. If there’s room for all, I have no problem.

But when you say they have to obey speed limits, does that include minimum speeds where posted? And what about roads that are too narrow to pass a cyclist without crossing the center line?

I think some roads should be marked “unsafe” or somehow off limits, just as some roads are off limits to trucks of a certain weight, etc.

Eden, there are such restrictions, as is apparent in the passage below. Bicyclists are banned from most roads that have minimum speeds.

DW3 sez:

Did you make that up all by yourself, or did you need help to be exactly wrong?

From the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles web page.

A bicyclist (and, as it happens, a skater) is, for legal purposes, operating a vehicle, motor or no. The restriction against bicyclists on certain roads is different from the blanket prohibition of pedestrians on highways. They also ban motorcycles from the New Jersey Turnpike when the wind exceeds a certain speed. That does not put the motorcyclist on the sidewalk, it put him on a different road.

Stay off of the fucking sidewalk.

I’ve done my share of bike-commuting, and YEAH, IT’S FU$#%# SCARY. OK, got that off my chest.

I don’t think it’s so much a matter of riding “whereever, whenever” as just about all roads are legal to bicycle on. The ones that aren’t usually have large signs stating this. But, there are rude ways to ride and considerate ways to ride. I’m of the opinion that the rude ways to ride usually get you killed. It doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong, when your car hits my bike I’m gonna be hurt.

Eden, if you find yourself braking fast to avoid a bicyclist, is it that you’re not seeing them in enough time to brake slowly? If this is the case, you can usually train yourself to see cyclist a little better - it’s just a matter of remembering to look farther ahead, and to see bikes like you see cars. Of course, I know a lot of bicyclist can be hard to see at night (they should be wearing reflective clothing and lights) and some bicyclists don’t follow the rules of the road.

If there are more than one cyclists riding together, they should be riding single file. If you’re having to brake to avoid a pack that’s riding in parallel, then you have the right to be mad!

Most cities do outlaw riding on the sidewalks, so that’s not really an option.

DW3 said:
Bicyclists do not register their bikes and pay exhorbatent(sp?) taxes for road maintenance. (Although AK is far less the CA) They are not motor vehicles. More and more highways are forbidding pedistrian traffic with bicycles on the list. So bicycles are not vehicles!

VERY few bicyclist have a bike as their only vehicle. We register our cars and pay the same taxes you do. So if you’re going to complain about bicyclists on the road, get a better argument.

Bicycles aren’t vehicles since we can’t be on a highway. Bicycles aren’t pedestrians, since we can’t be on the sidewalk. Where CAN we be?!?

Since all we have here in the sticks is dirt roads, and since I enjoy riding 15-20 miles at a stretch, I share have to share the road with the cars.This is not something Einstein-ish to me. Most folks are very considerate, considering the gravel and dust that gets kicked up on the road. I always make sure I have ID and Medical info on me in case I get nailed.

It’s the yahoos that fly by me that leave a trail of choking dust and dirt that I could whip a rock through their windshields.

What I wouldn’t give for a baby hauler cart behind the bike so I could take my son along.

I invite you all to come to Holland, the only place in the world where’s there are more bicycles than people - with the possible exception of China :slight_smile:
Almost 16 million people, more than 20 million bikes with annual new-bike-sales over 1 million. Bicycle paths everywhere except in DownTown Amsterdam - where cycling is almost as dangerous as in NYC.
Over here, it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk (small kids are allowed to BTW), and YES, a bike is a vehicle - I don’t believe there are states in the US where a bike isn’t considered a vehicle. Just seems very stupid, bicycle paths or not.


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

Okay, Coldfire, we’re on our way.

Can we stay at your place? Last time I checked, there were only 2,668 of us…dibs on the sofa.


pldennison said:

Funny, the cyclists I see in Houston do not ride with traffic. They certainly don’t obey traffic signals (is jayriding a word?) and they don’t obey the minimum speed limits.

Coldfire, thanks for your post.

Despite what you have read here, bicycles are vehicles in every State of the U.S. What’s confusing you is that some people have observed that bicycles are banned from superhighways.

In the United States, most public roads do not have bicycle paths running along them. On smaller roads and highways, bicyclists ride on the same roadway as motor vehicles, as Shirley relays. When a car comes up from behind, it moves a little left and goes around the bicyclist. On the really big interstate and intrastate highways (typically quite busy and with maximum speeds of 55 MPH or more), bicyclists simply aren’t allowed.

From this fact, and from the fact that in most places one does not have to license a bicycle as one does a car, they have concluded that bicycles are not “vehicles” in the United States.

But they’re wrong. You’re right.

And I’ll be in Holland during the spring of '00. :slight_smile:

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

manhattan: Thank you for the law! I wonder if it’s any different here in Florida.

Athena: The main road into my neighborhood (my beef area) is a very narrow and winding 2-lane road. The speed limit is not high, but even 35 is too fast when you round a bend and whoops! there’s a guy in your lane on a bike.

I should mention that the people I’m seeing are not commuting…either that or they have VERY strange hours and nothing to take to work. (Also an interesting dress code!)

There is no shortage of safe bike trails in my area: Fort DeSoto park trails and the Pinellas trail are set up specifically for bicycle traffic, complete with stop signs for cars where the road crosses the trails.

Oh, Athena, your comment about riding parallel brought back a great moment from living in Chicago: I was driving home one night behind just such a group (on a one-lane, one-way street) and the taxi behind me was honking its horn incessantly. I was so angry I got out at a stop sign and nearly grabbed the male taxi driver by the throat and yelled at him to cut it out, obviously I couldn’t get past the cyclists! My adrenaline must have been really high to practically assault a male cabbie in the middle of the night on a dark street in the city…

Thanks Manhattan, the US does make some sense after all :slight_smile:


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)


You might have me on a legal point but when was the last time you were driving and waited oncoming traffic to clear and used your blinkers to pass a bicyclist? You might call 'em vehicles but you don’t treat them like vehicles.

I mentioned vehicle registration because a letter to the editor in a local paper noted that no unregistered vehicles are allowed on city streets. Not just highways. It is a state law. This same debate is going on here in Anchorage.

I’m sorry I havn’t lived in a major metropolitan area. Don’t plan to. The largest city I ever lived in was Chatanooga, but really a suburb called Soddy-Daisy. Anchorage Bowl is 250,000+. But we have our share of cyclests and some are annoying.

Nothing pisses me off more than having to wait for a cyclest holding up traffic on the road. Especially when there is a multi-million tax-dollar bike path just 3 ft away. Not a sidewalk a bike path.

When I ride my bike I try to keep in mind how the car driver views me and adjust accordingly.

You feel the same way I do just different situations. Only I would never put something through a bicyclists spokes. I don’t if I could beat the crap out of the bicyclest or if they could do the same to me. It is something I just wouldn’t do. I’ve had the urge to but always controlled myself.