The above video ridicules the League of American Bicyclists for advocating that riding a bike on the sidewalk is dangerous. The commentator suggests that if riding on the sidewalk is dangerous maybe we should all put in a few hundred miles on the sidewalk to sharpen our sidewalk riding skills.
The video then shows a bike switching from the road to sidewalk and back again as he sees fit. The commentator points out that a bicycle is maneuverable and can do this. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should; this is the whole problem with some who ride bikes. Rather than stop and start again they maneuver around obstacles; like slowing or stationary traffic, or pedestrians in crosswalks.
In my book, switching from the road to the sidewalk and back is one of the worst kinds of cycling behavior; choose where you are going to ride and stick with it. Children are allowed and encouraged to ride on the sidewalk, and rightly so. They are mostly traveling at a walking pace, and are probably not riding in a straight line.
If a parent is accompanying a child they too should be on the sidewalk with them, making sure they stop at intersections and other danger points. If you are a raw beginner on a bike you should probably start out on the sidewalk until you have mastered the basic bike handling skills.
It is not so much where you ride that is dangerous it is how you ride. If you ride on the sidewalk you are not going to get run down from behind by a car; however, there is a greater potential at every intersection for a collision. And whether you are on the road or the sidewalk most collisions happen at intersections.
Cars turning right into a side road or driveway, or making a left from the opposite direction are not looking for cyclists on the sidewalk, especially if the cyclist is coming from the wrong direction. Cars entering a road from side roads or parking lots often have to pull completely up to the curb or stop sign in order to see what is coming, because of trees and bushes obstructing their view.
Most places it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk; for this reason you shouldn’t do it. If a car hits you at an intersection, the driver’s insurance company will probably not pay damages, because you were riding illegally. If you are on the sidewalk you should be riding slowly, probably no more than 8 mph; to avoid injuring pedestrians and so you can stop on a dime when cars suddenly emerge from parking lots.
If there is a situation like in the video where there are sporadic parked cars, the cyclist should not be fully in that lane anyway, but rather giving a hand signal in plenty of time and moving into the next lane to pass the parked car as any other vehicle would.
To hop on the sidewalk is all well and good, but what happens when there is no driveway ramp at that point; you suddenly have to do a slalom move out into the path of other traffic. Or what happens if you hop on the sidewalk and a pedestrian steps out in front of you, or a car suddenly appears from a driveway.
If people choose to ride a bike they need to decide whether they are to be a pedestrian on a bike, (POB.) riding at a walking pace on a sidewalk; or a real cyclist riding exclusively on the road following the same rules and protocol as all other road users.
The constant complaint I hear from motorists is that cyclists make up their own rules and ride whereever and however they please. We don’t need videos encouraging people to behave in this manner.