Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cycling on the sidewalk

Our new friend, Oregonian reporter Casey Parks, has published a lovely article about our journey, including this video.  A lot of people made comments about us riding on the sidewalk, which I would like to respond to.  Why do we ride where we ride?
Coming home from Whole Foods.  Photo by

First we read the Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules that pertain to Bicyclists and Pedestrians. The law is clear that bicycle riders may ride their bikes on any public road and sidewalk where not prohibited, such as in urban core areas.  We also took the Traffic Skills 101 online course, which I highly recommend.

With small children and handicapped dad who sometimes falls due to sudden loss of feeling or twitching in limbs due to degenerative disc and joint disease, we often find that the sidewalk is the safest location to ride with the entire family.

We're pedestrians too!  And we don't like rude cyclists on the sidewalk any more than the next walker.  So we do our best to be courteous, and also make shopping runs, like the one featured in the article, during early morning hours to avoid congestion.  And hey, let's get real, there are pedestrians out there too who block the sidewalk with their width.  Can't we all just be polite to one another and share the space?

Thanks to League of American Bicyclists resources, teens and mom are now comfortable cycling in bike lanes, and we strive to improve our cycling skills all the time.  We haven't always been cyclists and have really learned a lot in the past year!  But really folks, small children in the bike lane alongside buses and trucks on main roads?  Not so much.  Our solution: keep working toward a carfree society where a carfree family doesn't have to worry if they are safe on the road.

12 comments:

  1. Good points. We should be working to make many more investments in bicycle infrastructure so that bicycling is on an even keel with car infrastructure. To get an idea what that looks like, just do an Internet search for photos of Copenhagen.

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  2. It was exciting to read about the change your family has read. My wife and I have two kids(4 and 2) and try to bicycle as much as possible. I ride to work and we have gone from two to one car. It is always motivating to read about someone making a big change for the better.
    I was sorry to see how many of the comments on the Oregonian website were critical. Don't take it to heart. Bicycling brings out strong feelings in folks, often without any rationale.
    Keep Pedaling!!!

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  3. Oops, that should be: the change your family has 'made'.

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