Q The new "Walk Your Bike" signs on San Jose downtown sidewalks are the result of work done by the city's Senior Citizens Commission, especially by Commissioner Martha O'Connell. Her photos and anecdotes indicate that senior citizens, some using walkers and wheelchairs, are hit and endangered in disproportionate numbers by bike riders on the sidewalks. The rude, arrogant attitude of bike riders that readers like Katie Gillespie have noted is not uncommon. The commission presented O'Connell's material and requests for action to the City Council.
We will continue to monitor this serious issue and would appreciate getting additional reports of specific incidents and photos. They can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Jose Senior Citizens Commission chairwoman
A The new signs are a test project and if not heeded could result in a ban on riding bicycles on sidewalks downtown.
Q Sadly, Ms. Gillespie witnessed an all-too frequent situation with those snarky bike riders on the sidewalk. In many communities, bike riders feel safer on sidewalks and feel as though pedestrians should be aware of their superior presence. Unless expressly permitted, bike riders should not be on sidewalks. But then, maybe people don't know the rules anymore -- bike riders OR pedestrians.
A Becky has more to say.
Q When I was young (and I'm not THAT old!), rules of the road were crystal clear. Bike riders were to ride WITH traffic on the right side of the road; pedestrians, if no sidewalk was available, were to walk AGAINST traffic on the left side.
Now, folks don't have a clue on which side to walk because everyone does it differently, and many bike riders ride the wrong way in bike lanes, ride as if they own sidewalks and don't obey any road rules.
I've been admonished for walking my dog on the correct side of the road by people walking their dog on the wrong side of the road -- expecting me to move out of their way. Ignoring rules has become the norm.
A A sad and troubling note: Pedestrian deaths have risen each year since 2010 in the U.S., while other road-related deaths have fallen.
Q It appears a new contest has sprung up in downtown San Jose. I walk to work (yes, one of the few) and it seems there is now a contest as to which driver can come the closest to my heels in a crosswalk as I cross. Did you know about this? The prizes must be fantastic as they are really trying to get closer every day!
A Not good at all.
Q Every day I walk my 72-pound pit bull, which is very friendly. But I am constantly being harassed by speeding bicyclists riding on the sidewalk. I thought they were supposed to be treated like vehicles and use the street.
A Rules for riding on the sidewalk vary from city to city. It's legal to bike on downtown San Jose sidewalks -- for now.