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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Should pedestrians have equal responsibility on the sidewalk or roadway to watch for other perils same as watching traffic?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21515 points ) January 4th, 2014

If you are on the sidewalk or road side if a country road, should the person walking be paying attention? I say this because I was forced by the narrowness of the road and traffic to have to use the sidewalk; I prefer not to use the sidewalk and do so only as a last resort, this ”tween” young lady is walking towards me texting away. I get closer, thinking she will look up and commit to one side of the sidewalk or the other; she goes to the inside, I can go to the outside and vice versa. Just as I commit to taking the outside track, she decides to veer that way, never once looking up. If it were not for anticipation, quick reflexes, and good brakes on my bike I would have plowed her into the pavement. Even when I nearly screeched to a stop in front of her she barely broke concentration on her texting. Maybe next time it won’t be my bike but a ladder with someone on it, a hole, shifted concrete do to tree roots, etc. should people play attention to where they are walking especially if they want to be ”wexting” (walking and texting)?

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22 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I feel pedestrians should be just as responsible as drivers and just as alert. There was a funny incident in California when a man walking along looking down into his cell phone encountered a bear.

glacial's avatar

Why are you biking on the sidewalk? Isn’t that illegal where you live?

In all of the places I’ve lived, biking on the sidewalk has been illegal (for good reasons – as you note, it’s very dangerous!). I have on occasion resorted to biking on the sidewalk, but only if the roadway was extremely hazardous due to obstruction or ice. In all of these cases, I would dismount if there were pedestrians – legally, it is their territory, so I am happy to acknowledge their right of way.

But in the same manner, I expect pedestrians to stay out of roadways and bike lanes – and I have been known to yell at people to stay off them. I wouldn’t take that to such an extreme as to hit one and claim it was their fault for not paying attention, though. We all share the responsibility to be alert, but as the person in the larger vehicle, I have the power to do the most damage, and I need to take that seriously. If that means veering off my path, or dismounting, then that’s what I’d do.

Similarly, I expect someone driving a car to be aware that I might be driving around them, and to take care not to hit me while I’m biking.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

LARGE air Horn for use around pedestrians.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@glacial the OP specified ” I prefer not to use the sidewalk and do so only as a last resort,” He was forced up on the sidewalk.

Yes, pedestrians have responsibility. In fact, their responsibility is greater because they’re the ones who will get dead if there is an accident.

There was a time when you got to a crosswalk while walking, and patiently waited on the curb (making it clear you wanted to cross) until someone stopped, and 99% of the time the first car did. Nowadays some people have this “I have the right of way” mentality and they just walk on out into the street without even bothering to look. They’re putting their lives in the hands of drivers who may not be paying attention. Very dangerous.

glacial's avatar

@Dutchess_III Weird – I looked for that and didn’t find it. In that situation, if there were pedestrians on the sidewalk, I would certainly dismount. The sidewalk is narrower than the road; if the narrowness of the road was an obstacle to safe driving, then certainly a sidewalk containing pedestrians would be even more so. The safer option is to get off the bike. And it will keep you from getting a ticket.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We used to raise hell on the sidewalks when we were kids!
As to the rest of your comment, there is plenty of room for a pedestrian and a bike as long as both are paying attention. This texting shit is just out of control.

glacial's avatar

@Dutchess_III “there is plenty of room for a pedestrian and a bike as long as both are paying attention.”

Not with the difference in speed, there isn’t. In any case, it’s a moot point here, since biking on sidewalks is strictly illegal. Which is a good law, in my opinion.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@glacial _ Which is a good law, in my opinion._
With many laws there are exceptions, such as ice on the road, no one will blame you if you were crawling on a street with a posted 45 mph speed if ice occurs. Around here, I am not sure what the exact law says about bikes on the sidewalk, I know they (the cops) would be more apt to stop you if you were impeding traffic.

The sidewalk was wide enough for me to pass her, or her me. I slowed down, as I always do when I have to use the sidewalk and encounter walkers, especially with strollers or pets, I was giving her the option to look up and commit to what path she wanted to take so I would know which course to take. Had it been that narrow, I would have timed the traffic and attempted to stay in the roadway.

glacial's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I’m trying to think what my thought process is if I’m cycling on a sidewalk… mainly I think my top priority is not being seen by the police. Next, it’s making sure there is no way in hell I can hit someone, because I would absolutely be judged to be in the wrong by being there in the first place. And as someone who cycles in traffic, I’m used to having to be wary of sudden movements like a car door opening or a pedestrian veering out.

Certainly, her action was stupid – I’m with you on that. But as cyclists, we have to expect the stupid, you know?

Dutchess_III's avatar

So would you have stopped @glacial? I mean, sure that’s an option. But I think I’d prefer to hit her and RUN AWAY!!!

glacial's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m sure you’re saying that because it sounds funny – but no, obviously I’d rather not hit anyone. That’s always the worst outcome.

And I certainly don’t want any motorist thinking “I’d prefer to hit her” when seeing me riding my bike in the road. Many of them evidently think we’re all stupid for being there – do we deserve to be hurt for that?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^^ But I think I’d prefer to hit her and RUN AWAY!!!
That might have been nice to teach her a lesson, but all of about 10 seconds. I don’t want to have a collision with anyone because I will more than likely go down and the concrete is hard; I have further distance to fall than who I hit, plus a greater chance at road rash. Next to that, I would hate to think I incurred costly repairs to my bike off an accident I could have avoided. Same way as for gravel, wet leaves, maybe black ice, I don’t like crashing; I am too old and something might break (on my body more than my bike). ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Would stopping your bike and allowing her to walk into it count?

Seek's avatar

I prefer to ride my bike on the sidewalk, if there is one (and there rarely is).

The difference in speed and stopping ability between me and pedestrian is WAY lower than me on bike and car. Plus, there are significantly fewer people walking on the sidewalk (almost none, ever, period) than there are cars, and the people in the cars are the ones texting.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s an interesting thought @Seek. If people can’t ride bikes on the sidewalk because they’re going faster than pedestrians, it doesn’t really make sense to force them out to the street where cars are going FAR faster than a biker.

Katniss's avatar

@Dutchess_III and I should go bike riding together. It would be fun to see which one of us could run over the most people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m on!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Dutchess_III Would stopping your bike and allowing her to walk into it count?
That might count as an accident on her, because she would have ran into me without looking, not me moving her down to the sidewalk.

snowberry's avatar

Absolutely! My father would run you off the sidewalk, and never even slow down! He never knew how many people he almost wiped out. I used to beg my neighbors to call the police on him, but they never would. And I couldn’t because I lived with him. Eventually I got a doctor to help me take away his keys. It was really hard. Glad it’s over.

Symbeline's avatar

They should. I thought perhaps it was only me, and I don’t mean just people texting away as they walk.
Seems to me that people never look where they’re going. Looking sideways talking to other people, turning corners like madmen and almost bumping into ye…pisses me off. I have a grudge against this, because I do my best to respect other walkers, but more often than not, the favor is not returned. To me it’s second nature. Watch where you’re going, be aware of what’s going on around you. Respect, ass mother.
So fucking arrogant, it’s like, some people think the sidewalk, or the hallway belongs to them only.
I’m sick and tired of dodging people like a ninja and slithering through packs of seemingly blind motherfuckers like a possessed slinky. What, am I made out of rubber bands or something? Do I look like some kind of contortionist? Watch where you’re fucking walking and get your filthy ass out of my damn face, you miserable peon. I also hate it when a group of people walk slowly in a line and take up all the damn space, and you can’t get by. You have to step in the street or on someone’s lawn, or go, scuse me, get the fuck out of my way please, thank you. Assholes.
Or people darting out of corners, apparently thinking that there is no chance in Hell that anybody might be on the other end of that corner. You gotta respect others in public. I’m in a hurry, but I take the time to respect the people, so do it to me. Oh and don’t get me started on people in grocery stores…leaving their fucking cart parked sideways in the middle of the aisle while they take seven years to choose spaghetti sauce about seven miles away. I could go on about that, too.

And get that damn phone in your pocket when you’re walking, nobody gives a shit about your horrendous duck face pictures.

sorry

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, @snowberry…that must have been a nightmare!

I guess…@Symbeline said it all!

I just wonder if this is a recent trend or or if people have always been so rude and thoughtless and I just never noticed before….

Dutchess_III's avatar

SO Relevant. At about 1:10 we see @snowberry‘s dad.

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