My Personal Beef with Bicyclist on Sidewalks

I know it’s legal for people to ride their bikes on the sidewalk…but some don’t seem to keep in mind that pedestrians use them too.   And I believe pedestrians have the right of way.   

I’m writing this because earlier today, I was taking my pug for a walk when I was nearly hit by a man on his bike.    Our driveway, like many on Beach Drive is a bit hidden.   I was just an inch from approaching the sidewalk when the man on the bike whizzed by a few inches from my driveway letting out a yelp of surprise.    Shouldn’t sidewalk bicycle-ers ride closer to the road?   What if I was in my car pulling out instead of on foot?   

Seattle bicyclist ask for "three feet" from vehicles…shouldn’t a pedestrian receive the same from a driver of a bike?   Or better yet, stick to the streets and leave the sidewalks for…walking (or little kids on bikes).

BTW…I own a bike…I don’t use it as often as I should but when I do, I’m on the road. 

Just my two cents or wheels…what are your thoughts?

Update:  Here is the City of Seattle’s code:

Section 11.44.120 RIDING ON A SIDEWALK OR PUBLIC PATH.  Every person operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk or public path shall operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of pedestrian traffic, grade and width of sidewalk or public path, and condition of surface, and shall obey all traffic control devices.  Every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

Note:  the bicyclist who almost whiped me out gave an "audible" yelp…but it was only after our near miss.


  1. I’m with you on this one. If you’re let’s say.. 12 and younger (or have training wheels).. maybe the sidewalk is still o.k. for you. If you’re joy-riding or worse yet, strenuously exercising on your bike… do it on the streets. Or at least yield to peds with pugs ;o).

  2. Michelle Chikamura says

    Are you sure it’s legal for bikes to be on the sidewalk? I thought it was illegal.

  3. Here’s a link to Seattle’s bike code:

    It appears to be legal for bicyclist to be on the side walks. It would be nice if Beach Drive had an actual bike lane, like Alki has.

  4. As someone who frequents this route as a cyclist around 4 times a week, both directions. I have to just question why a cyclist would be on the sidewalk at all much less at speed. Granted the road is rough in some spots, but it lacks continuous sidewalks as well. I think rather than a cyclist problem you just have an jerk who didn’t think it through, limiting this person to being a rude cyclist ignores the scope of passive stupidity that takes place all along alki and beach drive. Now if someone can tell the midlife crisis case in the yellow lambo convertible that its not funny to pass and cut off cyclists at 65mph we can all be ok.

  5. Meanie, this is a good reminder that we do have more folks out, whether they’re on bikes, boarding, running, race-walking what ever…we all need to look out for each other.

    I’ve actually have had a person on a bike (maybe bicyclist is not the correct term for them) ring her bell at me to move off the side walk (she was riding on the side walk). I’m afraid to say anything to these people…if I opened my mouth I don’t know what word might come out! LOL…that’s why blogging is so great.

  6. Cat Woman says

    It seems like at least once a season I have a near miss. The code is quite clear that cyclists have to yield to pedestrians, and that they cannot go faster than the conditions warrent. Obviously, blind spots (both garages and gates) need to be taken into consideration.

    It is somewhat humorous though to see people riding on the sidewalk, AND wearing a complete cycling gear outfit. If you are really that much of a novice, skip buying the special clothes until your mom says its OK for you to ride in the street.

  7. MEOW, Cat Woman! LOL 😉

  8. I can’t see why anyone would want to be on the sidewalk on Beach Drive. I didn’t even know it was legal until I saw this post.

    I do, however, wish people would quit walking, camping, bbqing in the middle of the very clearly defined BIKE PATH on Alki. Not the shared path down Harbor Ave mind you, but the completely SEPERATE bike path at the park. More often than not, you can’t ride down it for all the walkers, yet the sidewalk is empty…….

  9. The separate bike path on Alki frequently features moms and strollers completely blocking the bike path. Does motherhood trump all laws or is it valid that they should be there?

  10. Super Mom? I think they should be on the sidewalk…unless they’re riding on the stroller or pushing it with a bike.

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