In New York vehicles- — including, or maybe especially bicycles — are banned from the sidewalks. Bicycle messengers with their enormous log chains slung over their shoulders to be used to secure the bike to some post zoom past at unbelievable speeds, but not on the sidewalks. Bikes are as big a danger as taxis for pedestrians at crosswalks, but they do not travel on the sidewalk.
But here in Grand Haven the sidewalks in our downtown neighborhood are treated like bike paths. We pedestrians moving at glacial speeds while our English bulldog sniffs down every tree and post are expected to jump aside so bikers can speed down the sidewalk.
Bikes on sidewalks are an obvious risk to pedestrians, but there is also danger of injury for children who crash a bike into an adult, particularly an adult of my size.
The problem is amplified by Grand Haven’s ramping of each crosswalk intersection to ease the travel of handicap persons. With the jolt of a curb drop off gone, bikers don’t even need to slow down once each block.
Our little city moves at a wonderfully casual pace and there is plenty of space for bikers to use the streets as all other vehicles do. Sidewalks are for people, and slow moving dogs.
— J. Mac McClellan, Grand Haven