The Chainlink

I have a confession to make.  I almost doored a bicycle on Saturday night.  I was coming out of my house and I pushed open the gate onto the sidewalk.   I had not seen the bicyclist riding on the sidewalk right up on the inside edge of the sidewalk wearing black and without a light.   He nearly slammed into the steel gate and cursed me as he went by (swerving to just miss the gate.. I am kind of surprised he didn't kick the gate... after all I had a kid with me as well... so he really could have punished me)   So sorry.  Clearly I was at fault.   If you don't have a light, the weather conditions are problematic, and you are well over 12, you are clearly entitled to ride very fast on the sidewalk.


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"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

I think what Jim meant is that this is a fellow cyclist (as opposed to a motorist). I think we can all agree it really sucks when we see a cyclist do stupid things on a bike like ride on the sidewalk, cut off traffic, endanger others, ride like a ninja, etc. 

Yes I agree about your interpretation of Jim's comments. 

I do have to qualify the list of "stupid things" though. While I'm generally opposed to riding on sidewalks and I recognize that it is usually unsafe and always illegal (in Chicago for riders over 12 anyway) I do make exceptions. For example, out in suburban like neighborhoods where the streets are hostile to bikes and the sidewalks are super wide or way out in clear view and well away from doorways (way far north on Western for example, or nearly anywhere on Harlem). I think it is ethically ok to ride slowly and carefully on a sidewalk in some very isolated situations if no pedestrians are present (or they are very far away). 

Agreed. There are definitely times that a sidewalk is the only option in the 'burbs or in certain situations. I've done the same.

Thanks, Tony.  I meant to be supportive of David H's comment, not to condone the behavior of that ninja.

You're absolutely right as to what I meant, Yasmeen.  Thanks!

David H, in no way was I saying that the ninja cyclist was right.

You misinterpreted my Walt Kelly quotation.

In the Pogo cartoon, the characters are looking at a big pile of garbage despoiling the environment and talking about how the human (or human-like) inhabitants of Earth are their own worst enemies.  What I meant, in the same vein, is that sometimes cyclists are their own worst enemies.  By being a ninja, the cyclist who almost hurt you was hurting the cause of all cyclists by his bad behavior.  Sometimes our worst enemies as cyclists is...other cyclists.  In no way was I disagreeing with your comment.  In fact, I myself have commented negatively about ninja cyclists in this forum.  Check it out.  Peace!     

I'm with you.

That's true, but the way I think of it, there is the idea that "us and them" are really just "us". We have met the enemy and he is us. Quite poignant at virtually any point in history and right up to today.

Can the gate be configured to open away from the sidewalk?

No.   The gate is right up against the stairs.  I don't really want the gate, but the landlord insists that we have one.  I work very hard to be a responsible cyclist and do no salmon, ride on sidewalks, or run red lights.    And I agree that some of the streets in Chicago are pretty much unridable (I agree with the comment about pretty much all of Harlem) but certainly good routes around them can be found.  But I don't do this because I want to be "polite" to the cars, its because I want to be safe when I cycle.   The way you get hit on a bicycle is to be where the driver or pedestrian or other cyclist cannot be reasonably expected.   If you ride the wrong way, while you can see the oncoming traffic, they are not looking for you in that spot on the road.   At night, even with a pretty strong light, even the most attentive driver will not see you.   I don't ride on the sidewalk because of pedestrians and because you pot out at street corners from places where vehicles are not expected.  In fact, my first and second major bike accidents (out of 4 total) were both on "non-road" situations.   Both were on riverside paved walks (like the LFT).  The first time a bunch of little kids ran out across the path and my choice was to either hit some little kids or hit a pole.  I elected to hit the pole.   The second time I turned a sharp blindish turn and ran smack into a group of 4 bicyclists stopped and ranged across the path.


You have it all backwards. After you doored him with your gate you were supposed to pommel him with your umbrella, it's your own fault for not doing so, and now this guy is riding around on sidewalks all over town with Impunity. (that's his dog.)


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