Q I am writing in response to bicyclists riding on sidewalks.
A As have so many others.
Q I walk several miles a day and have been knocked down by bicyclists twice; once from behind and once while crossing at a green light, when the bike rider ran the red and hit me broadside. When I see a bicycle near me on the sidewalk, I get off, either onto a lawn, or out into the bike lane. It's safer. The bad ones ruin it for everyone, just like bad drivers.
A The debate over whether bicyclists should ride on sidewalks rolls on. Today, most readers voice their unhappiness with this practice.
Q I agree with you that for adults and older kids, riding bikes on the sidewalk is a "Roadshow no-no." I have had a number of incidents where if it wasn't for extra caution on my part I would have hit a fast-riding cyclist on the sidewalk or one going opposite to traffic when leaving my townhouse complex to enter Agnew Road in Santa Clara. If the cyclist had been following the rules of the road there never would have been an issue, especially since Agnew has a bike lane.
A And ...
This is extremely dangerous because as the driver approaches the road, they are looking to their left at oncoming traffic. If they look to the right at all, they will be checking for pedestrians, who move at approximately 3 mph.
When they see no pedestrians, they will assume that there is no need to keep looking right, and will concentrate on traffic to their left, looking for a break so they can pull into the road. When a bike comes up on the driver's right as the driver is looking left, the bike is essentially invisible.
Parents, make sure your kids know about this. One of the accidents I investigated involved a small child on a bike, on a sidewalk, riding to a nearby elementary school. The child was hidden from the driver's view by a hedge to the right of the driveway. The driver never had a chance to see the child.
San Juan Bautista
A So scary.
Q It's clear to me that many people don't understand or can't visualize why riding a bike on the sidewalk can be extremely dangerous. I witnessed firsthand a very near-miss that illustrates the potential hazard. A middle-schooler was riding quite fast down a residential sidewalk toward school. An SUV was backing out of a driveway, unable to see the approaching bicyclist because of a tall shrub abutting the sidewalk. The shrub no doubt obscured the SUV from the bicyclist's view as well. The SUV crossed the plane of the sidewalk a split-second before the bicycle reached the same spot, causing the kid to swerve into the street. I breathed a big sigh of relief.
But it made me wonder why the student wasn't using the nice bike lane. A motorist backing out of a driveway has a much better chance to see oncoming bicyclists going with the flow of traffic on the street.
I think the only way to ride safely on the sidewalk is to ride as though you were a pedestrian. That means going slowly, watching driveways, and stopping and looking at intersections.
A When my kids were little, I was afraid to let them ride tricycles on the sidewalk for this exact reason.
Q At the beginning of summer, they removed the sidewalks on San Carlos Street from Second to Fourth streets. Here it is November and they still are not finished. Are they ever going to finish?
A Yep, and soon. Work on this phase began in May and has been slow because the utilities had to relocate equipment. The city also wanted to keep some driveways open for adjacent businesses and traffic bound for San Jose State. The good news: The project will be substantially complete in late November and then you'll have a nice pedestrian corridor connecting San Jose State and the SoFA District.