“Why can’t I just ride on the sidewalk and not even risk getting hit by a car?” great question. SO many reasons. Both the law and educated experience provide answers to this question. The data may not surprise you, but sidewalks suck and are much less safe than riding on the road.
Sidewalks Are Really SUCKWALKS
First, lets get a little story about sidewalks in. My 10 year old son is obsessed with roads right now. He loves the sound of the cracks as we drive over them, the overpasses and bridges, and the dedicated bike lanes we see all over our beautiful city. Almost every time I return from a ride he asks me what roads I went on. I tell him and then he gets frustrated and disappointed because it is “unfair” that I get to ride on the road and he has to ride on the sidewalk. He recently learned that term “this sucks”. He has now told me that sidewalks are really just “suck walks” because it sucks to ride on sidewalks. I busted up laughing at his newly coined word and how appropriate it really is in this context. He has no idea how right he is. I love it. I love everything about it. You’ll see him below when I took him out on a little field trip to teach him about bike lanes and sidewalks. He sat down in the bike lane (don’t worry, it was a little side street with no traffic whatsoever) and we just chatted all about the importance of bike lanes.
Why Does It Suck to Ride on a Sidewalk?
In a semi recent bicycle collision report published by the city of Phoenix in 2010, the conclusion was that approximately 70% of the bicycle collisions- the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk or had just left the sidewalk. It is legitimately more dangerous to ride on a sidewalk than on the street. For most motorists, the driveways or side streets with sidewalks on either side are points of entry or exits. In most cases the motorists is eagerly waiting for a break in traffic just to make the entry or exit that inevitably intersects the sidewalks. They don’t pay attention to pedestrians and cyclists on the sidewalk when they are looking for the momentary break in traffic. And when they finally see that break in traffic they almost floor it just to get in our out of where they are going.
That lack of attention from motorists is one major reason why it SUCKS to ride on sidewalks. But there are some legal issues here as well.
ARS 28-627 Grants Local Cities the Authority to Make Traffic Laws & It May Be Illegal in Your City!
While the State statutes do not address bicycles on sidewalks in Arizona, the local and individual cities can and often do enact their own rules for sidewalk riding. It can be legal or illegal depending on what city you are in or in some cases what part of a city you are in. For a more detailed article on this specific issue you can check our our other post: Is It Legal to Ride my Bike on the Sidewalk. The short answer is it can absolutely be illegal. For most cities however, they make an exception for smaller bicycles based on wheel size so as to not penalize children from riding on the sidewalk. Almost to encourage them to actually ride on the sidewalk instead of the road. Can you imagine little 4 year old Sally riding in the road? Probably not. I can’t either. Based on the speeds of most children and the fact they mostly ride in neighborhoods and not on busy commercial streets riddled with strip malls, sidewalks may be safer for them. I know I make my son ride on them when we ride together and we go much slower than when I roll with my racing team out in the roadways.
Sidewalk vs Bike Lane
Hands down there is a huge difference here. The bike lane is a dedicated part of the road way intended for use by bicycles. There are specific protections and traffic laws/rules relating to them intended to protect cyclists. If a cyclist was hit while legally riding in the bike lane his/her case of sharing some of the fault with the driver is much easier to win. However, when the cyclist is on the sidewalk the contributory negligence arguments get much harder to win. Often cyclists on sidewalks are riding against the flow of traffic. They often don’t have helmets. And they may be illegally on the sidewalk with an adult sized bike, or on a sidewalk where cycling is prohibited by local municipal code. Not to mention that sidewalks are shared by so many users and bike lanes are meant just for bicycles.
Final Conclusion: Avoid riding on a SUCKWALK.
Avoid riding on a suckwalk. They are far more dangerous, and present more tricky legal considerations that can harm your case. If you find yourself on a sidewalk be sure to monitor traffic from both directions as best as possible when you approach an intersection or driveway. Motorists seem to come from every angle and you don’t want to get hit. Sidewalks suck. They may be illegal and they definitely aren’t safe. Use the bike lane, or the shoulder, or even take the lane when you must.
Enjoy the ride! Hopefully you’ll never need us, but if you are ever involved in a wreck- we are here for you. My practice is exclusively for cyclists. I manage a national network of cycling attorneys who represent cyclists in every state. I ride. I race. I advocate. I choose to live and ride. #mylawyerdoesntsuck #arizonabicyclelawyer #bicyclelawyer #BAA
Ben Dodge, Esq., Endurance/Ultra Cyclist
Bicycle crash and bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
A bicycle crash is not always an accident. If you, or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle crash or accident caused by a road hazard or dangerous road condition, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben Dodge, a licensed Arizona bicycle accident lawyer, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles. Home based out of the great state of Arizona, Ben can still help cyclists in the entire United States. Ben also founded Bike Accident Attorneys Network, a national network of attorneys who focus on representing cyclists. He can find you help anywhere in the country.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire United States. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the world. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. Having competed in 8 Ironman triathlons, numerous local and national cycling races, and a successful finish in the Race Across the West 2016, he really knows what it’s like to ride and race a bike. Ben competed in the first ever Race Across France – 2018. This was a non stop 1500+ mile race across the entire country of France. He and his teammate finished 3rd. He is registered for a 2 man Race Across America (RAAM) team as well in 2019.
The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases. Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the United States every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. Ben is certified through the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) as having completed extensive litigation courses and has demonstrated these skills over and over again. Most lawyers are pencil pushers and shouldn’t be in a court room… not Ben Dodge. He is a gifted and aggressive litigator. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all local cyclists and a complimentary phone consultation to any cyclist injured in a bike accident. Typically the consultations are schedule from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the accident. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal bike accident liability and potential for recovery. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:
- Your specific bike accident details, diagrams, and pictures from your perspective and then from the perspective of your bike accident attorney.
- The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
- Your rights as a cyclist, obligations, and any potential liability.
- The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
- The value of your case and what you might expect as compensation.
You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206
Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback Rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and has founded BikeAccidentAttorneys.com a National Network of independent and incredible bicycle lawyers that can assist in representation in all 50 states.