Riding on Sidewalks

It has been longer than usual since my last post. I have been busy creating a couple of new blogs (which i will add to my blogroll) but the main reason is I wanted to get a photograph for this post but I misplaced my camera. I thought I left it at work so I didn’t look to hard here at home. It turned up this weekend in my car but now the weather is bad again.

The issue I have is with riding on sidewalks. I know any hardcore biker would laugh at us armatures on the sidewalk but I have to say there are some area where I don’t feel safe on the road.

I ride about ten miles to work and about one mile, maybe a little less, is spent on the sidewalk. Perhaps a third of that is going against traffic.

When I was a child visiting my grandparents in Clearwater, Florida, I was scolded by a police officer for riding my bike on the sidewalk. Since then I always assumed it was illegal. When I was older I moved to Florida and have lived here since 1988. In all that time I have never looked into the law until just a few months ago.

Your state might be different but here is what the Florida statute says:

Sidewalk riding(Section 316.2065(10) and (11), F.S.)

A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.
Comment:  Sidewalks are not designed for bicycle speeds, but a bicycle propelled by human power may be used except where prohibited by local ordinance…

A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

I took out some of this regulation to keep my readers awake but there was a point in there that riding against the flow of traffic on a sidewalk was legal but dangerous because drivers pulling out of driveways are not expecting anyone from that direction.  It also said a bicyclist was three to four times more likely to be hit by a car while riding in the wrong direction. I am always careful but I need to be extra vigilant when riding against traffic.

I don’t like riding on sidewalks. Often they are uneven, and coming up from behind a pedestrian sucks because I feel I am invading their space and I should not expect them to move out of the way. I am also embarrassed when a  tough-as-nails cyclist rides by on the same busy street that scared me onto the sidewalk.

The bike lanes are a good alternative and many roads in the area have them but they are not perfect. I think I mentioned that a truck’s mirror came within inches of hitting me in the head while I was riding in the bike lane. The other problem is that most of the road debris ends up on the side of the road where the bike lane is. It can be tricky (and unsafe) maneuvering around the mine field of glass, pieces of metal and other crap. This is where I wanted to add a photo but I will just have to update this post when I have one.

If anyone has any thoughts or tips, I would love to hear them.



6 thoughts on “Riding on Sidewalks

  1. Lune

    As long as you’re traveling at safe speeds and are respectful of all the pedestrians, dog walkers and joggers, then I have no problem with sidewalk riding. I spend a lot of time on “multi-use paths” where there are plenty of other cyclists, and the dog walkers are the worst.

    1. Chuck Huss Post author

      I don’t see many dog walkers but I actually seem to have the most trouble on the trails which are plenty wide if people don’t walk side by side down the middle, which they do. Whats worse, they don’t walk in a straight line so I don’t know what they are going to do. I always have to yell to get their attention.

      1. Lune

        Or they’re listening to Black Sabbath with earbuds and don’t hear you calling out “on the left” no matter how much you yell.

  2. Rick L.

    Always remember, you are invisible and inaudible, i ride the sidewalk whenever i can! Even when a bike lane is available, i will try to use the sidewalk. I always drop to a lower gear and slow down if i see a person walking!


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