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Pet Peeve – Bicycles On The Sidewalk

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When I was a kid, there were a lot of grumpy older people, who had something to say about everything children [and a lot of grown-ups, come to think of it] did. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I have, indeed, become one of those grumpy older persons [and I'm really not that old. I swear...]. I’ve just wrapped up another summer dealing with one of a seemingly unending list of pet peeves [actually, more than one, but let's start here]; adults, and teens, riding bicycles on the sidewalk!

Please understand; this complaint does not apply to younger children, or others still learning how to ride bikes. For their safety, and the safety of cars, they should be on the sidewalks. But why anyone who knows how to ride is using the sidewalk is just beyond me.

I understand the world has changed since my own childhood [a time when we were completing the task of driving the Redcoats from the Niagara Frontier. You just ask your parents and grandparents about those days. Or rent that Mel Gibson movie, The Patriot. That'll show you...]. Helmets are a definite necessity for bike riders. So are rear-view mirrors, head- and tail-lights, and the many other safety devices that we did without [insanely, as it turned out]. But when I was a child, I looked forward to the day that my parents gave me permission to ride in the street! When they finally did, I felt more like an adult than I had up to that point.

So why are teens and adults unwilling to use the streets, as New York State Vehicle Law clearly states they should be? Got me. Sure, there are some busy streets, and busy time periods, when it’s probably unwise for bicyclists to use the streets. Then get off the bike, and, if necessary walk it on the sidewalk!

(Seriously, many drivers learned the basics of driving during their years on a bicycle. Things like being aware of traffic around them. Or knowing how to use hand signals for turns or stopping. There is a value to bicycling on the streets. And, frankly, I nearly got run over several times by grown men and women using the sidewalk. And you know what? I’m just tired of it! Parents, teach your children to use the streets. Watch them. When they’re ready, encourage them to spread their wings at least a little. Maybe when they reach adulthood, they will feel comfortable using the streets. And not running over geezers like me on the sidewalk..)

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