If you see a cyclist riding on the sidewalk and you ask them why they’ve chosen to do so, even though bikes are supposed to share the road with cars, they’ll probably tell you that they don’t feel safe on the street. They feel safe when they ride on the sidewalk, and so they do it even when it’s less convenient.
What’s interesting is that research actually shows that it’s more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk. When you bike on the sidewalk, your odds of being hit by a car will actually go up. Why is this?
A significant increase in accident risk
First off, the coalition “People for Bikes” does note that the incidents when cyclists are hit by passing cars decrease when they ride on the sidewalk. Naturally, being separated from passing cars causes this reduction, and it’s what most cyclists consider.
However, they also state that riding on the sidewalk can “significantly increase the risk of being hit by turning drivers.”
These drivers could come from either lane. If a cyclist is riding on the street and a driver wants to turn right, he or she will see the bike and allow it to go by before turning. If that cyclist is on the sidewalk, though, odds are that the driver will never see it and could turn directly into the bike. The same goes for drivers who are turning left, especially since they are just thinking about quickly darting through the oncoming traffic lanes.
Have you been injured in an accident?
No matter where you ride your bike, accident risks exist. If you get injured, you need to know how to seek compensation for your losses. Holding a negligent driver accountable can be a complicated process, so don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance.