I'm with you n.a.e.m. about the need to be seen doing the right thing and not antagonising pedestrians.
However I will (very) occasionally use the footpath for very short stretches at spots that I judge to be particularly dangerous i.e. prior to or just after crossing main roads, when I can't get a clear view of the traffic any other way. It would constitute maybe 0.0001% of my riding.
I used to be at the moralistic puritan end of the opinion spectrum, for all the reasons you mention. But I've chilled quite a bit. The moral high ground is a cold, frosty and unlovely place to live.
Obviously if a rider is on the footpath, or ''doing the wrong thing'' common sense should tell them to ride slowly, safely and only do it when necessary. A good quote that relates to cyclists rights out on the road- ''There's not much satisfaction in knowing you were in the right, if you're dead.'' So with footpaths, I reckon safety (for all road users and pedestrians) should take precedence over the letter of the law.
I've just returned from Europe where I saw much higher bicycle use in cities, much more care and tolerance from riders, drivers and pedestrians alike , and seemingly much less signposted legislation telling people what and what not to do. -helmets, footpaths, speed etc- and it all just worked fine. (don't start on the helmet thing- please)
Yes it seems that in many countries pedestrians and cyclists can co-exist. I read a letter to the editor calling for less cycling paths and shared pedestrian zones as a result of the writers harrowing experiences in the cities of Europe where they had nearly been bowled over numerous times by all those people on bicycles. I guess one mans heaven is another mans hell.
As to "pedantic girly" or "pragmatic"... Bit of a false dichotomy. Pragmatism is being practical - Pedantry is slavish attention to rules. I would say it is pragmatic to do things which benefit ones safety. Having silly pedantic idiots give death stares to my young children when they are riding on the footpath says more to me about how unpleasant many people are than about what is or isn't pragmatic. I can only assume these people have zero knowledge of the law and don't know that 6 year olds can ride on the footpath - and also that they didn't have childhoods and can't smile at kids having fun as it must offend their sensibilities - too many uptight angry sanctimonious people for my liking. But that's just me.
I'm not sure I see it as 'taking the moral high ground' - I just see it more as abiding by the rules set by someone else that I may not necessarily like, but accept as part of being a road-using citizen. I'm not a supporter of those that ride on footpaths - because it misrepresents the majority of law-abiding cyclists, and it antagonises drivers. It amuses me that those that *do* choose to ride on footpaths get equally antagonised by those that don't.
Note that in some Australian states it is legal for all to cycle on footpaths, e.g. Queensland.
In South Australia it is legal for an adult with an appropriate medical certificate to cycle on footpaths. So that cyclist might not be breaching any rules, so please do not verbally abuse them.
It is ridiculous that in SA:
-- the moment a child turns 13 they are supposed to cycle on the road, even when heading to school alone
-- breach of ARR for an adult to cycle on footpath with child in attached trailer or on the adult's bike
-- adult cyclists can be stranded when a bicycle / shared path ends without safe access to reach the left side of the road
-- a local council (e.g. Prospect Council) can make a bikedirect route 'no entry' to cyclists, limiting options
-- adult cyclists are not supposed to cycle on the footpath, even when a section of road is dangerous, e.g. South Road.
I have no qualms about cyclists on the footpath, as long as they cycle slowly and always give way to pedestrians. Cyclist safety is more important. However, cycling on footpaths is slow, must watch out for pedestrians and backing vehicles, so most adult cyclists will cycle most of the time on roads and bicycle / shared paths.
For the cyclists who insist that other cyclists should follow road rules 100% of the time:
-- be aware that even if all cyclists did, would still be drivers complaining falsely about cyclists disobeying road rules because those drivers do not know the rules
-- there would be drivers who would find something to complain about, even if inaccurate, e.g. drivers pay for 100% of the roads and cyclists nothing
-- there would still be too many drivers breaching road rules, even putting cyclists at risk.
Nowadays I try not to be seen breaking the law on my bike as it just encourages anti cycling sentiment and if we can't expect motorists to obey laws that protect us, if they keep seeing us breaking the law. If obeying the law means putting oneself into harms way that is different. I am not going to put my life at risk for the sake of obeying a law though. If the only safe option is to ride on a footpath, I will do so at an appropriate speed and giving way to pedestrians.
Yeah, I ride on the footpath - slowly and carefully - I even ride down Rundle Mall, but not in a busy time period, 5amish typically.
I've said it in other threads - I've *never* had a pedestrian go off at me. Just this evening riding east along Rundle St in the city on the southern footpath - 2 small groups of pedestrians stepped out of my way, smiled and said g'day as I slowly passed. Of course now I've jinxed myself, I'll get harassed tomorrow for sure ;-)
Give me the footpath - as long as there are no imposition on pedestrians - We generally get smiles and friendly exchanges with walkers. Good manners transcend one's mode of transport.
The only walker who ever went off on me was on a bike path, and he was standing on the painted cyclist sign... lol.
Will I break a law if abiding by the law puts me in danger and braking the law provides no risk or inconvenience to others.
Call me a criminal if you like but it seems a no brainier to me.
I have no problem riding on the footpath in certain circumstances. For example when going over the bridge on Sir Donald Bradman Drive, I ride on the footpath on the south of the bridge. This then connects up with the cycle path through the cemetery. There are very few pedestrians on this footpath and I've never had a complaint. In terms of not antagonising car drivers, I bet their happier for me to be on this section of footpath, out of their way, so it has a positive effect not a negative.
Maybe by being on the footpath in a polite and responsible way, we can show people that bikes and and cyclists are not dangerous per se, but that it's individuals that are dangerous, just as with drivers and cars.
Also, if you're guiding principle is not antagonising drivers, then does this extend to always using a cycle/shared path when one is available?
Let's face it, riding bicycles is going to annoy some people/drivers no matter what. You could be Mother Theresa on a bike and there will still be people who just don't want to share the road with you. I'm not responsible for their attitude.
I see we haven't yet evolved to a time where 'girly' is nothing but a derogatory term.
p.s @ not an electronic mouse, I know that you are just re-quoting from elsewhere on the forum