Wrong way sidewalk cyclist in Palo Alto

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    This woman is actually on the crosswalk in this photo and she continued on the sidewalk. This is on Bryant Street at Lytton Avenue in Palo.

    Bicyclists are very much a part of the traffic flow in this part of Palo Alto. The roads are narrow and everybody rides in the lane here, motorists absolutely expect to see cyclists, nobody honks (unless a car is in the way), nobody flips the bird, everybody gets along just fine. Everybody seems to know what to do and everybody gets along just fine.

    Yet, we still see cyclists riding the wrong way on the sidewalk here, in spite of the heavy pedestrian traffic. Bikes are forbidden from the sidewalk (UK:pavement) in the downtown area -- Lytton is one street over from downtown and I don't know if this particular intersection is included in the no-bikes zone.

    More bicycle stuff at my cycling blog.

    View 3 more comments

    1. vfm4 102 months ago | reply

      i would love to see this photo in the Blue Bikes pool! may i invite you?

    2. professional recreationalist 102 months ago | reply

      Yes - the sidewalk is the pedestrians terrain - I teach my daughter this - and I teach her to ride only ON the sidewalk.


      ...The truth of the matter is that cycling on sidewalks and cycling without a helmet are not real serious issues when looking at the big picture.

      There are so few serous injuries arising from cyclist/pedestrian accidents on sidewalks as to be statistically insignificant (not my words).

      Now, cyclist/car and pedestrian/car accidents are another matter, of life and serious injury, and death.

      Studies prove that it is safer for a cyclist to cross an intersection using the sidewalk and crosswalk instead of the road.

      ...and sorry to say, cyclists' need helmets mostly to protect themselves from motorvehicle impact - and if safety is the issue, then motorvehicle occupants and pedestrians should be required to wear helmets as they are far more likely to suffer a serious head injury than a cyclist.

      This doesn't mean I don't advocate wearing a helmet in high risk situations - but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to, on occassion, loving to feel the breeze in my hair as a glide along on my 2-wheeled cruiser...

      There are a couple of discussions in this thread (Stupid Cyclists) which address this issue and provide the names of the related research.

      ...thanx for keeping the issue of cyclist safety/responsibility in the public view.

    3. Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious 102 months ago | reply

      I don't generally get uptight about sidewalk cyclists. In downtown Palo Alto, however, pedestrian traffic is very heavy on the sidewalk AND road traffic is slow enough and the drivers careful enough that it's not an issue to ride in the road. There is no reason for a cyclist to ride on the sidewalk in downtown Palo Alto, and several good reasons for them to keep off the sidewalk.

      PR, I agree with you on the helmet issue -- there's no statistical difference in injury rates before and after widespread helmet use among "casual" cyclists.

      There is, however, an order of magnitude difference in collision rates between crossing the intersection via the normal traffic lane versus via the crosswalk -- using the crosswalk is much more likely to result in a collision.

    4. professional recreationalist 102 months ago | reply

      ...collision rates don't take into account the severity of injuries recieved:

      "The study emphasizes that, "simply advising (or forcing) these cyclists to use the roads could result in more on-road collisions, which tend to yield more serious injuries."
      This contradicts sidewalk cycling reports from a local daily newspaper, and local cycling advocacy groups, which state and teach that, "the safest place is on the road, in traffic" - when, in fact, cyclists' odds are better on sidewalks and in crosswalks.
      The 2003 study clearly shows that, "Collisions in which the cyclists were riding on the roadway tended to result in slightly more severe injuries (and many more fatalities) than those in which the cyclists were riding on the sidewalk or within the crosswalk area." (2003 City of Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study)"

    5. Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious 102 months ago | reply

      I repeat: Downtown Palo Alto is a HEAVILY PEDESTRIAN DOWNTOWN AREA WITH VERY SLOW TRAFFIC. 10-20 mph is typical for this area.

      I read the studies and I'm very well aware that road riding has a higher rate of serious injuries and fatalities, though these fatalities are typically on high speed thoroughfares.

    6. professional recreationalist 102 months ago | reply

      ...our studies show that the majority of cyclist injury is recieved at intersections, not thouroughfares.

      [The studies ranking of, "the different types of collisions using a combination of frequency and injury severity suggests that the crash types causing the most harm (that is, the largest number of more-severe injuries and fatalities)-" "These include motorists overtaking, dooring, and motorist left-turn facing cyclist crash types.]

      "More than half of all bike accidents occur at intersections."

    7. fvaldes 100 months ago | reply

      Pero está guapa, no?

    8. professional recreationalist 99 months ago | reply

      [Comment deleted after I posted]
      _Russ_ says:
      I think side walk cycling is not responsible if you are traveling at a faster pace than the average pedestrian. I can vouch for that personally. I have riden about 200 miles on side walks commuting. Three times pedestrians have walked out infront of me, and Two times I have been hit while crossing an intersection at the cross walk. Pedestrians don't expect to get passed on a side walk. On the other hand I have about 2500 miles commting on the road and have never been hit by a car, hit a car, or hit a pedestrian.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~

      ...if you've travelled 2500 miles commuting on the road while riding a bike without being hit, you have horseshoes up your ass / you should count your blessings / you should knock on wood when saying things like that.

      You're tempting fate, or you're blessed.

      I've done a lot of research and interviewing in my writing and I have never heard of a bike commuter travelling that often without even being clipped by a car door, or mirror or something...

      The studies prove that you are less likely to be injured or killed if you ride on the sidewalk or crosswalk as opposed to the road.

      Roads need to be made safer for cyclists.

      Roads shouldn't be the lesser of two evils for cyclist safety.

    9. Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious 99 months ago | reply

      "..if you've travelled 2500 miles commuting on the road while riding a bike without being hit...

      The last time I was hit by a car was in 1987, and that's partly because I was riding at night with inadequate lighting. Since then, I've put literally tens of thousands of miles riding on the road. My experience is not unusual or uncommon.

    10. professional recreationalist 99 months ago | reply

      ...gee, I'll have to talk to the DMV, Stats Can, City of Toronto, etc, etc...

      Who the hell are they talking about getting hit all of the time.

      Cycling in the streets must be safe.

    11. Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious 99 months ago | reply

      In Toronto, about a half dozen collisions are reported each day. That's out of an estimated half a million bicycle trips each day. About two to five of these collisions in a given year result in a death. I think that's a 0.001% chance of getting hit by a car each time I ride a bike in Toronto (but check my math), which works out to something like a collision once every 90 years if you ride a bike three times a day.

    12. professional recreationalist 99 months ago | reply

      ...the clue there is "reported"

      ...I reported being hit once and I learned what an exercise in futility that is, and the recent and thorough Toronto study recognized this, the under reporting of cycling accidents and the low priority given by the police due to the typical minimal damage to the "vehicles" involved.

      Some people may ride many years without being hit/bumped/nudged/killed by a car, but bragging about not being hit and using it as a value of measurement both tempts fate and serves little purpose in making the roads safer for cyclists, my goal.

      What's your goal ?

    13. Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious 99 months ago | reply

      Yes, I mentioned "reported" on purpose. Unreported collisions are estimated at 10 to 20 times reported, but you're the one who mentioned using Stats Can, which only has reported numbers. So we move the decimal point over a place. I too experienced the frustration of attempting to report my collision way back in 1987 when the police officer clearly expressed his belief that I was wasting his time in spite of the clear traffic violation and hundreds of dollars in property damage.

      My goal is to encourage cycling as a safe and fun activity. More cyclists on the road provably results in safer conditions for cyclists. While safety must be enhanced and I don't seek to hide the real risks, exaggerating the dangers of cycling is contrary to the task of encouraging cycling.

    14. professional recreationalist 99 months ago | reply

      I've never exaggerated the dangers of cycling. No editor would've published my writing. You diminished the dangers by omitting the 10 to 20 times greater estimates.

      Diminishing the dangers of cycling helps to maintain the status quo, leaves little motivation to make the road safer, and encourages cyclists to ride with a false sense of security.

      Cyclists don't kill pedestrians or motorists.

      Pedestrians don't kill cyclists or motorists.

      Motorists kill cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, wildlife, the environment...

      I believe all efforts should be made to create awareness of the reality.

      Yes, encouraging more cyclists will help make the roads safer because eventually everyone'll know someone who has been killed by a car...

      Even using your numbers, moving the decimal over one place, and then some, doesn't leave the best of odds, considering the consequences of motorvehicle impact upon a cyclist.

      ...and if you're one of these hero riders who rides thousands of miles, then you can't lay claim to the same odds as the beach cruiser rider...

    15. twinklehill 94 months ago | reply

      I just stumble onto this, but as a bicylist in Madison, here's my two cents.

      Bikes are prohibited on sidewalks on Madison in commercial areas (downtown as an example). The only collisions I've had with car and or pedestrians are on sidewalks or crosswalks. A bike is a vehicle, vehicles belong on the road.

      Helmets. Hmmm. can you bike without your hands or feet? How about your head? The helmet is as much a part of the bike as shoes and pedals. The one cycling head injury I've seen is of a spectator who blew a wheel after bunny hopping a curb. He went down, hit his head on the pavement, got up, off the road, and then went into convulsions. The head is the last thing to hit the pavement, at the greatest velocity.

      I don't really get PR's verbose defense of not doing simple, common sense things for personal safety. Helmets for pedestrians? Bikers being hit by cars? Maybe in Death Race 2000, but not in the world I live in. Spend $40 on a helmet, and keep that Stanford education where you can use it - or not, and learn to count to ten again.

      - GS

    16. professional recreationalist 94 months ago | reply

      ...you should check yer facts about helemet use and the safety of riding a bike on the sidewalk compared to the road.

      ...another comment from a faceless mystery Flickr member without profile, comments on photos - and no cycling photos.

      A non-cyclist commenting on the opinion of a published cycling writer photographer.

      If you don't wear a helmet while driving in a car - your argument is lost when it comes to safety and protecting your brain.

      ...I know why you don't get my "verbose defense" - try to read all of the posts and links before you offer an uneducated opinion.

      The cycling injuries I've seen and read - and researched about almost always involve a motor vehicle stricking a cyclist. How about slowing the cars down instead of padding their victims?

    17. twinklehill 89 months ago | reply

      PR -

      All due respect. I like your comparison to being a union trash man. You're a person of thoughtful opinon with a lot going on. This is a long, aging thread, and any addition won't change anybody's mind. I'm stubborn, but not that stubborn.

      FYI, I am a cyclist, one of those 2500 miles a year on the road commuting and recreational riders. Damn, that horseshoe hurts. At 43, that could just be hemarhoids. I have close ties to the Bike Fed of Wisconsin, and advocate bike safety and integrated planning. Please don't dimiss opinions for lack of posted bona fides or a face.

      Please refer to this page and others for stats and safety concerns


      The internet can be a great source of disinformation, but this and related pages reinterated what I've heard from other sources. I feel much safer going 45 downhill on a country road than on the UW campus. Congested areas are prime ground for bike accidents, and in the first week of a semester, I'm betting there's a bike/vehicle accident every hour. Recently on campus I was amazed by the number of people, mostly students, riding on campus without lights, without helmets, and in dark clothing. This is largely an educational and outreach matter.

      Not to argue particulars, PR - my point is that one should always be responsible for one's own safety, hence helmets, avoiding statistically more dangerous behavior, etc.... You can mend broken bones, but a damaged brain is a different matter. Freak things do happen, but safety is simply reducing risk, not eliminating it.

      - Scott

    18. professional recreationalist 89 months ago | reply

      ...even if you posted your entire resume it wouldn't change the fact that you are avoiding the issue presented and merely presenting an emotional argument while dismissing the facts you take exception to. Try again...

    19. henry.castiglione 77 months ago | reply

      Si está muy guapa.

    20. :p---e--d-ro 61 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called urban cycling, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

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