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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I agree with those that are saying that there are some situations where it can be safer to bike on the sidewalk for some road conditions...particularly when it is brief...and I agree---usually those areas are barren of pedestrians anyway.

However, biking on the sidewalk in other instances and around pedestrians is annoying. I make it a personal mission to make sure that I assert my sidewalk space when bikers are on the sidewalk. I pointedly fail to yield when a biker is on the sidewalk. Hopefully I don't get hit doing this!
You don't have to yield to some asshat on the sidewalk.

jamimaria said:
I agree with those that are saying that there are some situations where it can be safer to bike on the sidewalk for some road conditions...particularly when it is brief...and I agree---usually those areas are barren of pedestrians anyway.

However, biking on the sidewalk in other instances and around pedestrians is annoying. I make it a personal mission to make sure that I assert my sidewalk space when bikers are on the sidewalk. I pointedly fail to yield when a biker is on the sidewalk. Hopefully I don't get hit doing this!
Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
You don't have to yield to some asshat on the sidewalk.

jamimaria said:
I agree with those that are saying that there are some situations where it can be safer to bike on the sidewalk for some road conditions...particularly when it is brief...and I agree---usually those areas are barren of pedestrians anyway.

However, biking on the sidewalk in other instances and around pedestrians is annoying. I make it a personal mission to make sure that I assert my sidewalk space when bikers are on the sidewalk. I pointedly fail to yield when a biker is on the sidewalk. Hopefully I don't get hit doing this!
Sometimes - very rarely - I'll ride on the sidewalk. My rationale is similar to yours and I wrote about it more here. It's not ideal, but life is messy.
Marty,

Did you have something to add, or are you just voicing agreement by quoting my reply to Jami?

cutifly said:
Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
You don't have to yield to some asshat on the sidewalk.

jamimaria said:
I agree with those that are saying that there are some situations where it can be safer to bike on the sidewalk for some road conditions...particularly when it is brief...and I agree---usually those areas are barren of pedestrians anyway.

However, biking on the sidewalk in other instances and around pedestrians is annoying. I make it a personal mission to make sure that I assert my sidewalk space when bikers are on the sidewalk. I pointedly fail to yield when a biker is on the sidewalk. Hopefully I don't get hit doing this!
I ride on city park sidewalks all of the time. Richard J. Daley designated them as bike paths back in the early 70's. I always announce (bell/horn/call out) when I am overtaking pedestrians, slow down and pass them very carefully. Sometimes I dismount and walk around them, especially when encountering groups with small children.

I ride the sidewalks on Western. I ride on the pedestrian path on the North Avenue bridge. I take the pedestrian path on certain downtown bridges when they are wet. I never go on Ashland.

I always yield to pedestrians. I slow down. I communicate.

If people have problems with this, they can go ride in traffic. I hate the truck traffic in Chicago. Most of the streets I avoid have trucks so big, the could run you over and the driver might not realise it. I'll take a ticket over death anyday.
I prefer Trashland myself, but your's is just as fitting.

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.
North Ave. bridge for sure amongst others that have been mentioned. Don't make it a habit but I'll be a living asshole thank you
spacemodular said:
I ride on city park sidewalks all of the time. Richard J. Daley designated them as bike paths back in the early 70's. I always announce (bell/horn/call out) when I am overtaking pedestrians, slow down and pass them very carefully. Sometimes I dismount and walk around them, especially when encountering groups with small children.

I ride the sidewalks on Western. I ride on the pedestrian path on the North Avenue bridge. I take the pedestrian path on certain downtown bridges when they are wet. I never go on Ashland.

I always yield to pedestrians. I slow down. I communicate.

If people have problems with this, they can go ride in traffic. I hate the truck traffic in Chicago. Most of the streets I avoid have trucks so big, the could run you over and the driver might not realise it. I'll take a ticket over death anyday.

This is more or less exactly what I do.

Most of my riding these days is on the south side where there are very few pedestrians. I'll get off and walk or hop back onto the street if there is any question about how safe it is to share a sidewalk with pedestrians or if any of the pedestrians appear to be over sixty or have mobility issues or strollers or dogs or kids.

Like running stop signs or red lights, when it is unquestionably safe to do so, (and in this case when it is less safe than to do the alternative) I say go for it.

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