Can you tell what these three cyclists have in common?
This gentleman was biking south on Central.
This young man was biking east on Van Buren.
This gentleman was biking west on McKinley.
There are actually three things that I noticed:
1. They are all men! I walked around for over an hour yesterday and I don't think I saw a single woman on a bicycle. I was quite surprised.
2. They are all riding on the sidewalk.
3. They are all riding on the incorrect side of the street (riding against traffic rather than riding with traffic).
The third observation is what I would like to focus on. I've been doing some reading and came upon an excellent article in the British Medical Journal (the link is to the side titled "Three Lessons for a Better Cycling Future"). One of the things they talk about is about segregation vs. non-segregation of cyclists (i.e. curbed bike lanes). They posit that "cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles".
Cyclists need to be predictable to be safe. We need to get our butts on the correct side of the street, off the sidewalk and obey traffic rules. There will always be instances where exceptions can/must be made (i.e. riding on the sidewalk when on a very busy and dangerous street - but still on the right side of the street) but if we are to move towards a culture where cycling is a true alternative to driving a car, we must follow the rules.