We go on and on about the dangers of sidewalks because the
uninstructed newbie thinks that sidewalks are extra, extra safe, and
makes every ride into "pop unexpectedly into path of car, repeat",
varied occasionally by running down a pedestrian.
A while back I ran into a situation where riding on the sidewalk
really was safer than riding in the roadway.
While approaching Buffalo on my way to Marsh Supermarket, I remembered
that I was curious about an establishment a block or two south, so
when I got to the intersection, I turned left.
At this point, Buffalo Street is also SR 15, which is the primary
north-south route west of Fort Wayne and east of Plymouth. Four lanes
are just barely adequate for the traffic where 15 runs along Detroit
Street, but where Buffalo crosses Prairie, it's all funneled into an
ordinary city street -- and there's no place for local traffic to go
to avoid the congestion.
Throttling one lane down to the speed of a bicycle -- even one not
ridden by an arthritic old lady who is looking for an address -- would
create an embolism that would have far-reaching consequences, so I
steered up the first wheelchair ramp that I saw.
There's no risk of inconveniencing pedestrians here, because there
aren't any. There's no need to get off to cross streets because, for
the same reason that the road can't be widened, there are no cross
There are lots and lots of driveways, so I proceeded at walking pace
to give myself plenty of time to look for vehicles that might want to
enter or leave a parking lot.
And I stopped at the first bench I saw to change into walking shoes.
A few weeks later the establishment I'd been curious about advertised
a charity "garage sale" of worn uniforms. (Alas, all the pants were
blue jeans. I kinder wish I'd bought one of the carbon-fiber lab
coats.) This time I walked all the way.
It helped that, having come from the courthouse-square farmers' market
instead of having just circumnavigated the lake, I was already wearing
walking shoes. And from that direction it's possible to get into the
car-wash parking lot from the back, which shortened the distance I
needed to walk.
Alas, prolonged study of my map confirmed that the only way out was
back the way I came.
joy beeson at comcast dot net
The above message is a Usenet post.
I don't recall having given anyone permission to use it on a Web site.