Bicycling On the Sidewalk: Managing Safety for All

New SafeTREC video highlights how to prioritize bicyclist safety - and safety for ALL people that use our roadways - from a Safe System perspective

December 12, 2022

Graphic of people walking, biking, and pushing a stroller on the sidewalk beside lanes of traffic with common safety issues for why people choose to bike on the sidewalk highlighted in text above

Too often, bicyclists feel forced to ride their bikes on the sidewalk to be safe. This is often illegal, and dangerous – not only for the bicyclists themselves – but also for pedestrians, people with disabilities, children, seniors and others. Yet, there are valid safety reasons why bicyclists choose to ride on sidewalks:

  • The traffic is too fast

  • The roadways are in bad repair, 

  • There are no bike lanes, and

  • The lighting is often insufficient.

The new SafeTREC video, "Bicycling On the Sidewalk: Managing Safety for All," co-produced with Charles Brown, founder and principal of Equitable Cities, and Jonathan Ezer, founder of Kindea Labs, highlights how this creates a situation where the most vulnerable people must compete for the smallest share of the roadway. In addition, recent research shows that in many predominantly Black and Latino communities, there is:

  • disproportionately worse infrastructure,

  • disproportionately more traffic fatalities and injuries, and 

  • disproportionately higher rates of citations and fines for riding on the sidewalk.

Informing transportation decision-making processes from a Safe System perspective

Graphic of people of different ages and backgrounds, 5 standing an 1 in a wheelchair before a map with the text "Safe System" on it

Watch the latest SafeTREC video to learn more about how to prioritize safety and ensure that roads are safe for all people that use them - whether they're walking, biking, driving, using an e-scooter, public transit or a wheelchair - by assessing our transportation decision-making processes and the resulting built environment from a Safe System perspective.

Funding for this video is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).