Many new cyclists feel safer riding on the sidewalk than they do on the road. The reason, of course, is simple: They want to put some distance between themselves and the cars passing by. They think of this as a safer way to ride, whether or not it is legal.
But many cycling experts will tell you that the exact opposite is true. In reality, cyclists are in more danger on the sidewalk and they should really ride in the road, as intended. Why is this?
There are two main reasons why this is more dangerous. First is the fact that drivers expect cyclists to be on the road, not the sidewalk. They may check for bikes around them on the street and never look for bikes on nearby sidewalks, meaning it feels like that bike comes out of nowhere if it suddenly enters the road.
The other reason is that most cyclist-vs-car accidents actually happen when the car is turning, and these conflicts are greater if the cyclist is on the sidewalk. Generally, a very small percentage of crashes actually happen when a car passes a cyclist in a straight line. Therefore, the perception that people have that they’re in more danger on the road is false, and they put themselves at risk when they ride anywhere else.
Of course, no matter where you ride, accident risks do exist. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a cyclist, you may have a right to financial compensation. Working with an attorney can help protect your rights.