Bicycles on pavements


To the Editor:

One of the more annoying and potentially dangerous facts of life for pedestrians is the bicyclist who rides the pavement. This is a nuisance we all put up with. How many times has a bicyclist come up behind and cut around you as he weaves a path across the sidewalk or comes off the street, right up the curb ramp (that was designed to accommodate wheelchairs) directly at you, forcing you to step sideways to let him pass?

The rider thinks he’s figured out how to execute a pattern and circumvent the ones walking. But just suppose at that instant, you decide to step sideways to look in a store window or detour around one of our ubiquitous (not quite Paris) outdoor tables, diverging from the staid path the rider assumes you’re following? You’re liable to have a wheel run up your back or handlebars in your kidneys. Look! We’ve painted bike lanes on our city’s streets to accommodate the cyclists. (I ride a bike, too — but not on pavements) I know of elderly people who have been knocked over this way.

I’ve developed a programmed reflex of glancing over my shoulder whenever I’m walking in anticipation of the goof who’s about to cut me down. The sidewalk is for those who walk, and I think the walking citizenry has tolerated this intrusion of bikers too long. And it’s not just limited to pedal bikes. A nitwit on a motorbike did his curb ramp jump onto a pavement recently, forcing me to hug a wall. He made no attempt to slow down or stop. The evasive action was all on my part.

Have you noticed how well these bikers protect themselves? They conscientiously wear their helmets. But ride in the streets in the bike lanes? God forbid! Better to clip a few pedestrians than have to deal with all that traffic. It’s much safer on the pavement, eh? What a delicate group they must be.

Louis Iezzoni
South Philadelphia

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