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Hi, I have a quick question for the more experienced riders here. Actually, I'd be interested in anyone's opinion.

Do you ride on the sidewalk? on the street on the right side? (with traffic in the USA) or on the street on the left side? (against traffic in the USA)

I'm starting to get used to errands and commuting on the wheel, and I'm not sure where I am best for safe travel. I prefer the street, on the right, with traffic. The sidewalks in town are terrible for wheels: roots, gaps, bricks, drops, freeze heaves, etc. However, when there is a stretch of nice sidewalk, I jump on it. On some smaller roads where the cars have to squeeze by, I ride on the left facing traffic.

Personally, as a powered wheeled (wheel?) vehicle, I think I belong in the road, moving with traffic, like a bike/ebike.

 

Any strong agreement/disagreement?

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I have less than a week, about 10-12 miles of street time.  If it is a busy road, I want to be on the sidewalk.  If it is a quiet neighborhood street, I am on the street.  My problem is that I find it hard to turn my head to see who is behind me.  When I turn my head, I swerve in the direction I am looking.  I need to work on my neck flexibility.  Anyway, if I am on the road I want it quit enough to hear cars coming up behind me.

Paleontology, our sidewalk situation here is abysmal so sometimes I am forced to ride on the street with heavy traffic.  I always ride with traffic.

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1. Legally, street appears more acceptable than sidewalk, even though in some areas neither may be allowed

2. Convenience-wise, sidewalk will have more bumps and elevation changes, which means harder to ride, more accelerations, braking

3. maximum distance wise, street will take you farther out on single charge for the reason 2 above

4 your own safety wise, sidewalk is safer as there are no cars to run you over

5. other people's safety wise street is safer as there are less pedestrians you will run over

6. Sidewalks will make your wheel to overheat more for reason 2 above

7. I dont recommend to ride on left side of street against traffic : while you see oncoming cars, you will make them nervous as they dont know what to expect from a law breaking dude on a wheel from the future. Also, keep in mind if something happens, it will be considered your fault as you were riding on the wrong side. Also, god forbid, a head on impact will be at a combined speed ( your speed plus the other guy's towards you). Instead , if you are riding the street, ride on the right side and find a way to see the cars behind you, and make sure they can see you too. If you are jumping from the sidewalk onto the road and bearing left onto the path of the traffic, and notsure what is behind you, its better to stop at the forst parked car, hold on to it and look what is nehibd and then continue to go

8 ultimately you need to be skillful enough to be able to easily go to street fro sidewalk and vice versa. There are situations where going in a straight line is not possible as you need to evade a collision. Being able to quickly zip to the sidewalk or jump to the street can be critical

 

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Thanks, you all have confirmed some concepts about safety I suspected were true. In my small town, I walk, run, bike, scooter, drive, and now EU. It's confusing going from one to the other!

As safety conscious as I am trying to seem, I committed a no-no today: was using headphones. At one point a car snuck up behind me because I had impaired my hearing and as it passed I felt a wobble, like being passed by a semi on the highway. Later I took a call through headphones but fortunately was on a luxurious 1/4 mile bridge with a new smooth cement pedestrian/bike lane. I get on my children to avoid the phone in the car and it's time to heed my own advice!

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I ride in rural-land.  Ergo no sidewalks.  When riding on the road, I ride on the left-hand side as a pedestrian should do.  That way a car coming upon me from behind can safely pass me on the right, even if I didn't hear them coming.  (Though I never wear headphones - hearing is a matter of safety).   If a car approaches me from the front, coming towards me, I check behind me that no car is coming and then move over to the right-hand side of the road to let the oncoming car get by me.   Then I move back over to the left side.

So I always ride on the left, except when I come to a blind intersection, I move over to the right side.  That way if a car is turning onto the road I'm on, they will not hit me, as I am to the right.  Once I make the turn, I ride on the left hand side again.  It may be slightly confusing, but this is what I believe is the safest course for these rural roads.  Oh, and I don't ride during "rush hour"..  The fewer cars the better.   Also, if cars are approaching me from the front and from behind at the same time, well, I either ride in the grass off the road, or simply step off.  There is no antidote for 2 cars at once. 

Edited by dpong
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My country has this regulated quite good:

  • Sidewalk is only for pedestrians and vehicles for people that can't walk themselves but are limited to walkingspeed (e.g. electric wheelchairs)
  • Everything faster than walking up to 20kph (12mph) is classified as bicycle and has to use the side of the road or Bikelanes but dont need to register their vehicle or go to regular check ups. Also helmets are not mandatory
  • Everything above 20kph but below 35kph is classified as light motorcycle and needs to register a license plate, have insurance and wear a helmet mandatory.
  • Above 35 its a motorcycle

There is also another ruleset for the powerrating of the engines additionally to the top speed, but I left that out for simplicity reasons.

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I have less than a week, about 10-12 miles of street time.  If it is a busy road, I want to be on the sidewalk.  If it is a quiet neighborhood street, I am on the street.  My problem is that I find it hard to turn my head to see who is behind me.  When I turn my head, I swerve in the direction I am looking.  I need to work on my neck flexibility.  Anyway, if I am on the road I want it quit enough to hear cars coming up behind me.

Paleontology, our sidewalk situation here is abysmal so sometimes I am forced to ride on the street with heavy traffic.  I always ride with traffic.

I have a mirror cyclists use which clips to sunglasses [lots of sun in Australia!] which is very effective for seeing the road or footpath behind.

Re footpath vs road - I certainly don't use the road on busy roads, our footpaths are mostly smooth bitumen - so no unpleasant bumps like you'd get on concrete or cobble-stone paths.

I don't have an issue sharing with pedestrians - go slow and give them right-of-way!

Edited by AlanReith
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The Sidewalks in Denmark are usually quite good, so when there is space I use them, But when there are to many people on the street, or a bumb/wedge, I will change to the cycle-lane.

I will completely avoid the road, the traffic in Denamrk is usually very predictable, which means cars are driving faster, and with less gap than many other places, certanly not a place for 'wobbly-wheel'

Besides, they are illegal, and the one cop I saw right after getting the wheel, told me to get of and not ride in public streets, and since I live next to the traffic police headquarter, I am not in good luck :(, so I tend to take my wheel to either the forest, or a nice abandoned airstrip that is left for recration :D

 

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In general I try to stick to the streets (with traffic) but yes, sometimes I find myself in situations where I have to go against traffic (dread doing that)

But when I see a long winding sidewalk that happens to be empty, I will jump on their just to enjoy the silky smooth ride. It's awesome... especially when it's by the beach on a nice day. Nothing like it.

When I do jump on the sidewalk though, I ride much slower and never try to overtake pedestrians quickly or unawares or squeeze by like this guy does here. At least in this country, it's considered rude and the last thing we need is people giving EU riders a bad name like drone pilots are now starting to get. Granted the same guy in the video drinks and finishes up a Pepsi and throws the can on the sidewalk without looking and rides off earlier in the video so my impressions of him aren't the greatest. Awesome rider though. 

Edited by zentype
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In general I try to stick to the streets (with traffic) but yes, sometimes I find myself in situations where I have to go against traffic (dread doing that)

But when I see a long winding sidewalk that happens to be empty, I will jump on their just to enjoy the silky smooth ride. It's awesome... especially when it's by the beach on a nice day. Nothing like it.

When I do jump on the sidewalk though, I ride much slower and never try to overtake pedestrians quickly or unawares or squeeze by like this guy does here. At least in this country, it's considered rude and the last thing we need is people giving EU riders a bad name like drone pilots are now starting to get. Granted the same guy in the video drinks and finishes up a Pepsi and throws the can on the sidewalk without looking and rides off earlier in the video so my impressions of him aren't the greatest. Awesome rider though. 

Your last comment re the rider >> what skill!!

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At least based on what I've read, the current situation is that the laws are decided on national level within the EU countries. Maybe there's some directive (which in EU-law system is different from regulation) regarding light electric vehicles in general, which is then applied "creatively" by each nation at their own pace? Haven't really followed the situation elsewhere than here.

EDIT:

directive is a legal act of the European Union,[1] which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. 

regulation is a legal act of the European Union[1] that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously.

 

So, there could be a directive saying that "all member nations must work to advance the adoption of electric vehicles instead of fossil-fuel using ones", but the means to that are left to themselves?

Edited by esaj
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An entirely different question is when is it OK to ride indoors: Mall, Airport, grocery store, school, hospital.

 

I was carrying my EU around the hardware store yesterday and an interested clerk asked me to give a demonstration! 

 

I think the only way I will be able to ride inside the hospital where I work is if I become some kind of novelty or mascot serving a marketing function.

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Streets or sidewalks...well, since I ride in germany, technically I only ride on my private property ;) , so I tend to use (my private...) sidewalks, if they are very empty and small side streets (that have a speed limit of 30kph) unless I can ride on a bike lane, which is quite common in my city. So far i've avoided much used areas very well, not sure how I'd choose then, but as I am growing ever more confident in my skills, I'd probably stay on a sidewalk, due to cars being much deadlier...

@Villac, I never drive indoors (so far). I even carried my 9b1 through the train station... I guess It won't be a problem in many areas, once people get used to seeing them, but untill then I don't want to provoke any negative reactions.

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@TimorLee much agreed, we need to be respectful to be respected. Alas, it may not be the members of our forum who determine public opinion. 

I have discovered that I can jump a few inches in the air on the EU and am getting better all the time at off roading, so I have more options open to me in avoiding cars and pedestrians!

One sore spot for me is that some of my favorite bike trails are listed "no motorized vehicles" and I'm bucking to try my skills on them! It is true that e-bikes are allowed most places where bikes are, but even that's a controversy.

 

Dirt Rag article on e-bikes

 

I won't be picking one up, but as a fan of trail riding I'm in favor of respectful mixed-use / shared-use of beautiful trails. I'd love to see sanctioned mixed use of sidewalks for pedestrians and EUs.

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One sore spot for me is that some of my favorite bike trails are listed "no motorized vehicles" and I'm bucking to try my skills on them! It is true that e-bikes are allowed most places where bikes are, but even that's a controversy.

Check your local laws for their definition of "Motor Vehicles".

My state's law has this definition:

Motor Vehicle shall mean every vehicle which is self-propelled and every vehicle which
is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires but not operated upon rails;
provided, however, the definition of "motor vehicle" herein shall not include implements of
husbandry, electric personal assistive mobility devices, and motorized wheelchairs as defined
by the laws of the state...

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however, the definition of "motor vehicle" herein shall not include implements of
husbandry, electric personal assistive mobility devices, and motorized wheelchairs

I had to look up "implements of husbandry" and no it isn't a wife. :D It means farm and logging equipment.

Most people would agree that an EUC fits in the EPAMD category, even though their definition often says "two non-tandem wheels". The state of Maryland sometimes uses the term "pedestrian device" to distinguish it from "motor vehicle".

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