Riding on the sidewalk. It is a charged concept, especially in places like San Francisco that are very busy. I remember the law in California being that only those under the age of 12 were allowed to ride on the sidewalk, and then only on residential streets. When I go to look for actual code I get a lot of hits pertaining to cyclists "21200 (a) Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver...". To me, this means don't ride on the sidewalk as we are not supposed to be driving on the sidewalk (although I have not found anything that specifically addresses that, either). Then again, there are times when even I am forced onto the sidewalk for a variety of reasons. Especially on my street.
Monterey Blvd. is very busy. 1700 cars an hour in the afternoon rush period! There is no bicycle lane, no sharrows and not much consideration between the hours of 3:30 and 6:30 pm (and all day Sunday, for some reason). It is a 30 MPH street (!!!!!!), entirely uphill when traveling west, and it is the best bicycle connector between CCSF/SFSU and the Mission, which is a major connection. If you do not know how to ride in that kind of traffic, it can be harrowing. I am not surprised when I see people choosing to ride on the sidewalk. There are times when I do-
when riding west bound with Declan by ourselves without the bike posse that is the rest of the family with us.
when riding home from the grocery store with very heavy bags during the wind season
for certain blocks during rush hour because I don't want to become a statistic
anytime I am too tired or slow to be able to compete or cope with traffic.
Even then, I find myself mildly indignant when I see others doing the same thing. The opportunity to be a hypocrite is seldom let pass me by. Why? Are there no times when riding on the sidewalk is the better option? I have stated the circumstances when I do (I will say that this is the only time I ride on the sidewalk other than a stretch of Dolores St. which is so terribly lovely to ride on on very hot days I can not always resist). Now, if the City would do something to calm traffic and provide bicycle space on my street, it would not be a problem (the neighboring Hearst St. is where the City would like us to ride but it is poorly controlled at the intersections and unacceptably hilly for most riders to tackle regularly). No one would have to make a choice between the street and the sidewalk.
When do you think it is OK to ride on a sidewalk? Or is it ever OK?