Thursday, June 19, 2014

What sidewalks are for (not bicycling!)

Here's the letter to the editor I submitted yesterday to the Burlington Free-Press, Vermont.

Local bicycling safety expert Tim Rogers said most cycling groups tell bicyclists to avoid riding on a sidewalk if possible.
“Sidewalks have a lot more conflicts than people realize,” Rogers said. “If you want to ride on the sidewalk, you’re a fast-moving pedestrian.”

I walk a great deal, both for transportation and exercise. I’m also the survivor of a traumatic brain injury sustained in 2007, a life-threatening injury suffered when I was hit by a car as I was bicycling.
Seven years later, I remain an advocate for both walking and bicycling. But it’s not enough for me to yell at others – all of them bicyclists – while trekking along a sidewalk in Williston or Essex Junction.
Note the word “walk” is one of two syllables in “sidewalk.” That means this: Sidewalks are for people who choose to walk. And they, not cars or bicyclists, have the right-of-way.
Bicycle lanes in Chittenden County are marked in several ways: Signs, lines painted on the pavement, and even on-pavement logos of cyclists.
Let’s all give each other room, whether we’re walking, cycling or steering a motor vehicle. But let’s remember that sidewalks are for walking and walking only.
Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.
222 Eastview Circle
878-5152 land line
570-401-3116 cell

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