You started cycling to work to save money on gas, but you quickly realized how dangerous it was. Once, when a driver nearly sideswiped you while passing, you decided not to ride in the road anymore. You felt like it would be safer to move to the sidewalk, giving yourself a little extra distance from the vehicles.
Many cyclists feel this way, especially if they’re very new to the activity. It seems to make logical sense, but the fact is that studies have found you’re actually at greater risk when riding on the sidewalk. If you want to be safe, it is best to ride with traffic, in the street.
Why is the sidewalk dangerous?
The reason for the increased risk on the sidewalk is that drivers do not look for cyclists on sidewalks while turning. Sidewalks often cross driveways, alleys and other streets. Drivers may look for pedestrians, but cyclists are much faster and most drivers will not look far enough down the sidewalk to see a bike coming. They simply don’t expect it to be there.
What has been discovered is that riding on the sidewalk increases your odds of being hit by someone who is turning so much that it makes it more hazardous than riding in the street. There are cases where cyclists are hit by vehicles that are passing them from behind, but these instances are actually very rare compared to other types of accidents. The cars are closer and so they feel more dangerous, but this is actually the safest place for a cyclist to be.
If you are riding properly and following all the traffic rules, but you get hit by a negligent driver anyway, then you may need to know how to seek financial compensation.