Saturday, August 18, 2012
A friend of mine was just hit by a car while riding her bike. She wasn't badly injured, thank goodness.
When we discussed the circumstances of the accident, my suspicions were confirmed: she'd been riding on the sidewalk, and was hit by a driver who was turning right from a stop sign. The driver did not check to the right, but only looked left, and hit my friend as she entered the intersection from the sidewalk.
And this is how most bike/car collisions happen: cyclists on the sidewalk, car in the road. As in, these kinds of accidents are 25 TIMES more frequent than accidents involving a bike on a major road with no designated bike lanes at all.
State law in most states indicates that bikes are road vehicles, allowed on all roads except where expressly prohibited (usually just freeways), and in most states adults are actually prohibited by law from riding on the sidewalk. But people continue to ride on the sidewalk from a mistaken apprehension that this is safer for the cyclist.
It's NOT. It's not safer for the cyclist, and it's certainly not safer for pedestrians using the sidewalk, because bikes travel MUCH faster than foot traffic. So a bike on the sidewalk is a hazard to other people and a hazard to itself.
I know it's scary to start riding on the road. Cars go much faster, and are so much bigger. But it only *seems* safer to be on the sidewalk.