Friday, July 17, 2009

Sidewalk Or Bike Path?

Yesterday I'm walking from the post office. Approaching me is a man with a baby in a stroller and a dog on a leash. He shortened the dog's leash, leaving me enough room to pass by, even though the sidewalk was wide. He wasn't hogging it.

Some clown on a bicycle comes up from behind me, squeezing by this man on the other side, too impatient to wait until there was more room. The clown makes some snide comment about us causing a crash.

"Don't ride your bicycle on the sidewalk," the man calmly told the passing clown.

A valid point. But the bicycle clown made another snide comment as he pedaled away, acting as if pedestrians should walk in the street and stay off his bike path.

The law: adult bicyclists in the street, not on sidewalks. Of course calling that rude clown an “adult” would be stretching it.

Yes, I’ve broken that law. With all the inattentive people driving cars out there on the road, I bike on the sidewalk when traffic is crazy.

When I do it, I don’t race down the sidewalk, barreling past someone within inches. When I see a pedestrian, I get off the sidewalk, giving the right-of-way to the person on foot. I even get off my bike and walk it, making way for someone with a baby stroller.

It’s called courtesy.

And when I’m walking, I’ve seen a few bicyclists do the same. Unfortunately it’s the idiots that ruin it for everyone. That’s why there’s the law against bikes on sidewalks.

Yet somehow the police are never around to write tickets. A cliché but true.

One time a woman I know, a senior citizen, was in a crosswalk in downtown Plattsburgh when a kid on a bike slammed into her. He just got up and took off. Luckily she wasn’t seriously injured.

Somebody's going to get hurt. And when it happens, I hope the jerk on the bike gets the max penalty.

But knowing how things work, the courteous cyclist will get a ticket while the rude jerk just speeds away, knocking people over with his two-wheel weapon.

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