Is it safer to ride your bike on the sidewalk or in the street?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Personal Injury |

If you ride your bike in the street, you may feel like you are exposed to a high level of danger. You can really tell how close every car is as it goes by. Some drivers won’t even give you the proper space, and you may experience near misses. There are also risks from getting doored – when someone opens their door into a bike’s path as they get out of a parked car.

To avoid all of these hazards, you may think about riding on the sidewalk. In some places, this is illegal. But even if it is legal for you to ride on the sidewalk, is it safer to do so?

Visibility issues

Studies have actually found that it’s more dangerous for a cyclist to ride on the sidewalk. This leads to more collisions, especially when vehicles turn into driveways or cross streets.

The issue is that a cyclist who is in the traffic lane will likely be visible in a driver’s mirror. A cyclist on the sidewalk, where drivers don’t expect them, may never be seen.

Imagine that a driver is turning right off of a busy road. If there’s a bike lane next to them with a cyclist coming up behind the vehicle, that driver just waits for them to pass and then turns. But if the cyclist is on the sidewalk, the driver never even checks for them at all. The driver just turns across the busy road and strikes the cyclist as they both meet on the driveway.

Seeking compensation

As you can see, though it may intuitively seem safer on the sidewalk, the serious visibility issues increase accident odds. Of course, many cyclists are also hit when they try to ride on the street, and that’s why it’s so important for injured parties to know how to seek compensation.