DON’T RIDE ON SIDEWALKS!
THERE ARE SOUND REASONS WHY THE MOTOR VEHICLE ACT AND MOST MUNICIPAL BY-LAWS MAKE CYCLING ON SIDEWALKS ILLEGAL:
Bicycles can travel too quickly for people walking to react. Pedestrians do not expect moving bikes on the sidewalk. Motorists crossing intersections don’t expect to encounter bicycles at crosswalks and alley intersections.
People along with other users, legal and illegal, on sidewalks and bike paths are dangerous for cyclists. Pedestrians move sideways at random with little or no warning as they turn to look into windows and buildings. Pedestrians are not obligated to signal. People exiting buildings can’t be seen by approaching cyclists, and cyclists can’t see people coming out of buildings, shops and/or alcoves. Cyclists can’t anticipate these conflicts in time to prevent collisions.
Generally, motorists don’t respect cyclists, and cyclists don’t respect the rules
In Vancouver, 80% of all bicycle/vehicle incidents happen at intersections. Cycling on sidewalks turns every driveway or alley entrance into an intersection. Motorists don’t expect cyclists to be on a sidewalk or crosswalks (an extension of a sidewalk). A normally alert motorist scans sidewalks and crosswalks for conflicts when turning or entering an intersection but does not expect a person/bike/ street person /shopping buggies to emerge, sometimes at a much higher pace than normal.
Sidewalks aren’t built for cyclists, cycle lanes, and separated cycle paths are. Sidewalks are not designed or maintained to be safe for cyclists. The line of sight is often obstructed by objects, such as trees, street people/shopping buggies, parking meters, post boxes, and sidewalk cafes.
An example of the pedestrian/cyclist conflict is found along Stanley Park Seawall. The Vancouver Parks Board has attempted to provide access for both cyclists and pedestrians by a line separating their paths. This is ineffective because some members of both groups won’t abide by the restriction. The Vancouver Parks Board is reviewing the situation.
When you add the many forms of path users into the mix, then you have a recipe for major heated conflicts and serious injuries.
As an experienced cyclist and a volunteer cyclist patroller, it is expected that you’ll travel and operate as a vehicle, keeping in mind all the aspects of safe cycling.
Remember, that others are looking to you as a role model. You are also a representative of your Community Police office, local Police Jurisdiction, Municipal bylaws office, Provincial and or Regional Park.
Safe Ride Home, Chuck