Biking on a sidewalk? OK, but don’t be a jerk about it

November 11, 2013
alpert

Now that I have a baby, I’ve been pushing a stroller around D.C. sidewalks quite a lot. Our neighborhoods are great for walking and give our baby plenty to look at and experience. The only drawbacks are too-narrow sidewalks in some places (I’m looking at you, 17th Street in Dupont) and the occasional impolite operator of some kind of vehicle.

A few drivers come a little too close for comfort, though most take a little extra care when they see the baby carriage. Likewise, most people on bicycles give us plenty of room, except for a small minority who think that squeezing right next to a parent and baby at high speed is a totally peachy idea.

Most likely, if you are reading this, you are not one of those people, but just in case: Knock it off. There are times when cyclists need to be on the sidewalk, and if you pay attention, everyone can get where they’re going safely.

This comes up most often on curb ramps, which you need to get something with wheels on and off the sidewalk. Those of us pushing strollers need them, and it’s annoying when, sometimes, whoever built a street put the ramps awkwardly off to the side. (I’m looking at you, New Hampshire Avenue.)

If someone is riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, they will also use the ramps. And that’s okay by me. Sometimes people need to ride on the sidewalk because they’re about to dismount or the street is one-way and there’s no other good alternative. Some people just feel too uncomfortable riding in the street, and while I hope they will gain confidence, D.C. also needs to do more to make its streets bike-friendly. Sometimes there just seems to be no good reason and it’s probably not a smart idea.

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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Norman Leahy · November 6, 2013