A debate started up on a discussion board I lurk. It started harmlessly enough with one person writing up a helpful document instructing bicyclists not to ride on the sidewalk. I didn't ask but I wondered if the plan was to fold the documents into paper airplanes and hurl them at misbehaving bicyclists. Maybe the person was going to hand them a business card with a link to the document. Really I don't know.
Me? I think riding on the sidewalk is for the young and for the old. It's for people who for one reason or another can't ride predictably enough to be safe among cars. Did you know that people who are wheel-chair bound because of Parkinson's can still ride a bicycle? Some places are just so frigging narrow and dangerous that the only sane place for the bicyclist to be is on the sidewalk. I hear you saying "well then they should be in a car." To which I say: "Fuck you and the ugly-ass worthless piece of shit you drove in on."
The most anti-bikes-on-sidewalk person wept verbally that he had been hit by bicyclists, twice! Twice I tell you. However as the debate progressed (one bicyclist pointed out that pedestrians and bicyclists share multi-use trails more or less equably) it turned out that he had been almost hit by bicyclists on two separate occasions.
I've been hit by cars on three occasions that I can easily remember, more if I reach back. Only once seriously. I guarantee you being hit by a car and bicyclist (I've experienced both) are very different animals.
Now you're probably thinking I'm a crappy bicyclist. Yeah well, maybe I am. But it turns out that I've never hit a pedestrian despite the daily experience of having them jaywalk in front of me, open their car doors in my face, and show utter disregard for red lights. So even a crappy worthless bicyclist like myself has no difficulty avoiding pedestrians.
Where was I besides "very annoyed."
1. To that pedestrian who was "almost" hit by a bicyclist on two occasions? Dial 1-800-people-have-real-problems. I mean it. If your biggest grievance is that someone biked by too close to you you should quit your job and go over to Afghanistan and volunteer. When you get back you will feel fine about bicyclists. I guarantee it. You may however be jumpy during thunderstorms.
2. Once again with vigor. No one is pure as driven snow. Pedestrians walk wherever the fuck they feel like it, ignoring cross-walks and traffic lights with the best of them. Bicyclists run red lights, whip around corners, shout obscenities (well, just me actually) and have clip-failures that leave them lying on their sides like turtles on their backs. But the biggest problem on the road are the cars. Some are good and some are bad. But when they're bad, they're super bad.
Let's keep our eyes on the prize people. And it's not bicyclists noodling up sidewalks.