The Chainlink

As I get older (27!) I've noticed that I'm becoming much more risk-averse than I used to be.  When I first moved back here a few years ago, I'd look at a map, find the most direct route, and go with it--Ashland, Western, the shittier parts of Ogden, once took Archer as it merged with 1st Ave/Rte.171 (don't do it).  Now I'm more likely to take side streets if I can, and sometimes will go totally out of my way to find a comfy, relaxed route.  

However, sometimes I need to go somewhere that's, you know, on North or Western or Michigan or any other unpleasant street and there are really no other options*. And sometimes, in those situations, I look over at the big, often empty sidewalk, and I think, "Why not? It's just sitting there being big and empty." I know it's illegal. I know it's antisocial and rude. I know that when I am walking, I find it annoying when others ride their bikes on the sidewalk.  But is it really fair for me to have to stay on the street in an unsafe situation? Until there are proper bike facilities on all streets, or until Chicago drivers learn how to share... isn't it sort of ok to break the rules a little? 

*Where I ride on the sidewalk frequently: the North Ave. bridge, Division St. bridges, Damen (northbound) south of Fullerton, expressway underpasses. 

Thoughts?

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Do ride the sidewalk, I do all the time on either my 10 speed or the tallbike especially when I need something to lean out. I just always try to stay out of people way, so I may be inclined to go on the busy street or even walk if there are people. I don't ever want people to see me acting like an ass for sure... You only breaking rules where it is posted by the city to walk the bike or if you are creating an obstruction or riding in an unsafe manner (to paraphrase). It is neither anti-social or rude if your being polite. Anyone who says it is, is themselves anti-social and rude for implying that you be unsafe. I hate seeing people who fly down the walks with no consideration to other, but that is an entire different kind of bikeidiot. Is there a slang word for that, can you please post one that sounds good ? Cutifly
I know what you're saying, I have even rode that section on Archer you mentioned to make it to work on time once, never again because the trailers whizzing by almost blew me over. I also used to take these riskier routes probably because I have never had a close call (knock on wood) and so I guess I was too confident.

Nowadays I don't hesitate to jump on the sidewalk for a bit if its empty. Still ride on Ashland sometimes though. I have heard Oakley is a good route north and south but have never used it yet, not sure what the neighborhoods might be like.
I know it's illegal. I know it's antisocial and rude. I know that when I am walking, I find it annoying when others ride their bikes on the sidewalk.

You pretty much answered your question of you apply the golden rule to this.

I don't generally do it because it annoys me when others do it.
Right. I do know the answer to my own question and am trying to feel better using wishy-washy logic. So in keeping with that, I don't ride on the sidewalk where there are lots of people around, and if there is someone walking I slow down to walking speed. Not exactly kosher, but I'm not likely to hurt anyone.
I think it is demonstrably true that places where it's nice and safe to walk are places where traffic moves reasonably slowly, ie it's safe to bike. No one likes walking alongside a highway. So when I use the sidewalk over the North Ave bridge, well, it's hard to feel too bad because I've never encountered a pedestrian there.

notoriousDUG said:
You pretty much answered your question of you apply the golden rule to this.

I don't generally do it because it annoys me when others do it.
Here's wishing you many a ticket. If you're on a sidewalk at walking speed, why not just walk the bike?

And yes, it is annoying when people ride slowly behind you on the sidewalk - damn annoying. Personally, it always makes me want to turn around and go, "Oh, I'm sorry, am I in your way?" as the front wheel wobbles all over the place in hope of keeping balance.
http://bicyclesafe.com/#crosswalk

It's not that it's rude. It's very unsafe. You are much more likely to be hit if going more than a joggers pace. Cars do not expect you and may and will pull out in front of you.

If you ride slowly and cautiously I don't think it's a big deal. Especially when it's just a big long walk with no driveways/alleys/cross streets. The temptation to go fast on the sidewalk is difficult to resist though.
I know a lot of people hate it, and it is illegal but when I'm faced in situation I feel are needlessly risky I just say screw it. My life is worth more then a ticket or pissing someone off. Yeah, it probably doesn't help further the cycling as a valid vehicle choice, but I doubt a dead cyclist does either. Speaking of which; when on a side walk, if you choose to ride, go slow and be careful (please).

I would almost think enough people riding on sidewalks (in dangerous areas), would lend a hand in the creation of better biking facilities/conditions(in said areas). That's an opinion and not a fact, by the way...
Yes, riding on the sidewalk prudently is alright in my book. Having gotten older 39+ has made me very paraniod and more likely to avoid streets like Western (Festern) and Ashland (Assland). Even with groups of people on bicycles on Festern we would have some a-hole motorists yell and toss things at us. This city has a great layout for cycling but a lousy set of mental cases in rolling cages to share the road with.
I am a ride-in-the-street guy and I take the sidewalk on the North Avenue Bridge.
Riding on the sidewalk really isn't the problem. Riding recklessly & rudely on the sidewalk is the problem, which is likely what annoys you.

Since the latter is determined in degrees ("how fast were you riding?" or "what is rude?") the quick & easy way to stamp out the behavior is just to pro-actively ban riding there entirely. Can't argue with that! This is how most laws work.

Be overly polite and you won't have a problem.
Oakley is an excellent on-street route. In some sections, a little bit of extra awareness is a good idea at night. Overall, it's one of the better N-S routes near the Loop.

Vando said:
I know what you're saying, I have even rode that section on Archer you mentioned to make it to work on time once, never again because the trailers whizzing by almost blew me over. I also used to take these riskier routes probably because I have never had a close call (knock on wood) and so I guess I was too confident.

Nowadays I don't hesitate to jump on the sidewalk for a bit if its empty. Still ride on Ashland sometimes though. I have heard Oakley is a good route north and south but have never used it yet, not sure what the neighborhoods might be like.
Assland - priceless name, too often accurate. ;)

Juan Dominguez said:
Yes, riding on the sidewalk prudently is alright in my book. Having gotten older 39+ has made me very paraniod and more likely to avoid streets like Western (Festern) and Ashland (Assland). Even with groups of people on bicycles on Festern we would have some a-hole motorists yell and toss things at us. This city has a great layout for cycling but a lousy set of mental cases in rolling cages to share the road with.

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