Are sidewalk cyclists hurting the image of bike commuters?

yes
73%
no
27%
Total votes: 89

7 Comments

true that cyclists who

true that cyclists who blindly jump from road to sidewalk, or run over people on sidewalks hurt us. however I always tell people that sometimes you need to get off the road for your safety, so there's no 100% rule that being on a sidewalk is bad. you need to follow the rules and the law (Boulder law says being on the sidewalk is ok except for downtown and on the Hill), but above all do what keeps you from being run over. That said I think there's maybe one or 2 places in all of Boulder where I feel the need to be on the sidewalk (one being when the bus is behind you climbing up Shannanhan ridge where the geniuses decided there's no need to continue the bike line or even a shoulder).

I think it would be easier

I think it would be easier if critics of sidewalk-cycling recognized that people who ride on the sidewalk either don't know what they're doing (people who don't know that bikes should be on the street even if there is no bike lane) or are engaged in ignorant jackassery (riding bike down a crowded sidewalk and expecting people to get out of their way). The important thing is that it is the person who is on the spot, not their vehicle.

As for Jen's article ... I think she means well, but bikes are actually allowed on Spruce and Walnut downtown, theres bike logos painted on the street. Maybe she just meant that bike-salmoning is prohibited. An aside to that: in Toronto there are bike lanes on both sides of many streets, including one-way streets, to avoid such problems.

Maybe some bike activist could push for more cyclist education in drivers ed classes or something to clear up the confusions people seem to have about riding on the sidewalk, but in the mean time we will all just have to face-palm whenever we see people riding on the sidewalk.

Tell me those who voted no

Tell me why would you ride on a sidewalk if there is a bike lane on that very road?

I guess some will say they ride on the side walk on Broadway because there is no bike lane. Fair enough, did you know there are other streets that run parallel to Broadway with way less traffic and some even have a lane?

I really want to understand

The question is "do you

The question is "do you think cyclists on sidewalks hurt the image of cyclists", not "why ride on the sidewalk instead of the road". The result of this poll has nothing to do with a choice of a cyclist to ride on the road or the sidewalk.

Boulder has a great bike

Boulder has a great bike route system and good driver culture, much better than anywhere else I've lived. It does still have some issues. Mostly via some confusion as to where bikes really "should go" (path vs. bike shoulder vs. sidewalks), and by being non-obvious as to what rules apply for what surfaces. On the Boulder Creek path thru downtown, it's obvious: suck it up and use the bike path, because Pearl and Canyon are death traps. Alternatively you can use Walnut or Spruce, assuming your destination isn't east of Folsom or west of 6th. What about getting to a restaurant or shop along 28th? Not quite as simple - there's "path" (which closely resembles a sidewalk), but only if where you're going is on the east side of 28th. If you're trying to get to businesses on the west side of 28th, it's not straightforward. Then there's (now some, up from zero) bike shoulder on 28th itself but it randomly comes and goes. And then there's Broadway from downtown south to Table Mesa, which is just a confusing and dangerous muddle with no good direct alternative (okay, Folsom, which is what I generally use, but the route through campus isn't exactly intuitive). Between the foot traffic, student cyclists / skateboarders pulling amateur hour cafe' racer stunts, and RTD riders crossing / queueing on the bike path without looking, it's a hazardous nuisance pretty much 24/7.

I think education would help a lot, but it's also up to the city to also be aware of conflicting and confusing messages they send by using "bike path" arrangements which run parallel to busy streets, closely resemble sidewalks, and that sometimes just vanish with no legit bailout option. An example of this is the "bike path" configuration that runs along the north side of Arapahoe from Folsom to "kinda-sorta" Cherryvale. The expectation seems to be that bikes use this "sidewalk" path instead of Arapahoe itself as Arapahoe has no bike shoulder until east of 55th. In reality, it's pretty sketchy to ride on, especially eastbound. There's heavy cross traffic on all those side streets, and if you're on it with a bike, you've basically zero chance of being seen by right or left turning drivers because of how far it sets you back from their sight line. And it doesn't even logically continue for the last couple hundred yards or whatever onto the East Boulder path; it just dies in the middle of a weed patch by the car dealership. So if you're headed out along the EB path, being misled onto this "bike route" leaves your options as 1) dart across six lanes of traffic plus hop a centre divider to get to the eastbound bike shoulder, or 2) ride counterflow to drop quickly onto the path and get out of traffic. Guess which option is going to look more appealing to a casual rider? That's a confusing system that sets the user up for failure.

For others who deliberately ride counterflow on bike shoulders, that's just an education issue. Operator licensing for adult (i.e. road-using) cyclists, then stricter enforcement maybe a start, though how that would even get enforced is probably a non-starter (the cops don't seem to be able to enforce a kajillion examples of driving infractions I see daily as it is). I pay a decent chunk for an ACA and USAC license every year, part of which hopefully confers some skill and responsibility out on the road. It might be fair to consider enforcing a nominal permit fee to the rest of the mob if only to educate them in basic safety when they're on public streets and bike routes. Not to mention it would sure be nice to be considered a legitimately licensed operator in a car vs. bike accident from the simple standpoint of litigation rights.