SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — You’re looking at a lawbreaker. I can say that because I saw this guy ride his bike up a sidewalk on San Francisco’s Market Street, and that’s illegal.
The whole “bikes on the sidewalk” issue is in the news this week because San Jose’s City Council is scheduled to vote on banning sidewalk bike riding in the downtown area, thus joining San Francisco, Oakland and many other cities with similar laws.READ MORE: UPDATE: 1 Dead, 5 Wounded in Saturday Evening Shooting at Oakland's Lake Merritt
California leaves this matter up to local control, and that’s where it gets tricky. Enforcement is seldom a priority, and even in cities that do ban bikes on the sidewalk, the rules seldom apply to residential neighborhoods.READ MORE: UPDATE: PG&E Restores Power To More Than 50,000 East Bay Customers
Here’s where I come down on this, and I speak as a cyclist, an avid walker, and a driver by necessity: bikes really don’t belong on sidewalks. Especially as cities increase the number of bike lanes, it’s hard to argue that safety is served by mixing faster-moving bikes with walkers on the sidewalk. Yet a San Jose study found that even on streets with bike lanes, a quarter of the cyclists were riding on the sidewalk.MORE NEWS: Fire at San Francisco Tenderloin Apartments Injures 15; Dozens Saved by Occupants' Heroism
Cyclists have been increasingly vocal about demanding a safer riding environment. They should also stand up for the safety of pedestrians by staying off the sidewalk.