A big increase in people riding their bikes on the sidewalks, even in Hampden/Roland Park where there are nice bike lanes.
Now, mind you, I’m not talking about twelve year olds on BMXs. I’m talking about people on hybrids and old road bikes, some with helmets and a bike rack. While I’d be hard-pressed to explain exactly how I get this impression, but most of these folks strike me as new cyclists, or, at least, new commuters.
Don’t get me wrong. I get annoyed when some jackass comes barreling down the sidewalk while I’m walking somewhere, and they expect me to move. Unless I’m actually going to get run over, I don’t move. In case you live under the proverbial rock, everyone has to yield to pedestrians in Maryland, even cyclists on the sidewalk. Read the law. I mean, I often think to myself, “You sissy, get in the road!” More often, I get a sigh or a nasty comment from the person who is actually being rude and doing something that is both dangerous and illegal.
But there’s something different about some of these new-seeming folks. For one, they are polite. They ride around you or excuse themselves and wait for your response. That’s just plain nice, no matter how you are travelling. They are on the sidewalk, so they ride at walking speed. And they seem like they are paying attention to traffic, people on foot and where they are riding. In other words, they seem like conscientious cyclists.
I know, the topic of riding on the sidewalk gets people fired up. I’ll own up to riding on the sidewalk on some scarier parts of Northern Parkway, when traffic is bad and when no one’s walking on the sidewalk. I’ll also admit to speeding on the sidewalk from the corner of my street, twenty yards or so to my apartment building — and that I once scared the crap out of two of my neighbors doing that at night (for which I apologized).
I don’t know what my point is, except maybe to relate some new commuters in Mob Town and how happy that makes me, even if they are not using the sweet new bike lanes in North Baltimore.