Road or Sidewalk?

  • New pint owner (squee!)

    At slow speeds the word "butter" definitely applies. Incredibly maneuverable and going 5mph or so it looks super impressive and is very fun to tool around.

    As for getting from A to B. I'm finding that 16mph or so is too slow for traffic, even where there is a 25mph speed limit in my town. On a bike you can pretty easily speed up or move to the side to get out the way, but on the Pint it can be treacherous to hug the side of the road and cars don't really know how to deal with you going a fixed speed when it looks like you can go faster.

    So to sidewalks. It is incredibly maneuverable even on Skyline (preferred for my commute) but people still get super nervous when you're on a sidewalk with them in close proximity. Sometimes their jumpiness can lead to trouble even if you're a dexterous pro.

    I've ended up doing a mix of road (when mostly clear) and sidewalk to go the 2 miles from home to work. How have other folks experienced this, any thoughts on how to be more predictable when on crowded surfaces?

  • As a general rule of thumb, stay off the sidewalk. I don’t really see how traffic speed has anything to do with anything but if the sidewalk is occupied by any pedestrians at all, then it’s definitely safest for everyone involved for you to stay off it. Occasionally, if the roadway is especially busy or doesn’t have a bike path and/or the sidewalk really isn’t occupied by peds than it can be okay but I wouldn’t make it a habit.

  • I've been riding for 2 years, first in a suburban area where I could switch between road and sidewalk as neither was ever crowded. I am now in a city area where sometimes the sidewalks are crowded and most of the roads have bike lanes. I prefer the sidewalk as I really don't want to become a hood ornament. However, if the sidewalk is crowded, I will go into the bike lane for 1/2 a block or a block to go around them. If the sidewalk has 1 or a few people, I will slow WAY down, almost to their speed as I approach, announce myself so they have time to react, then say thank you or good morning or hello as I pass them slowly and 99% of the time, I get a kind response back.

    It seems pretty easy to be nicer than the inexperienced people speeding down the sidewalks on Jump bikes or Lime scooters. Hoping other OW riders do the same as I do so we get a reputation as the kind, aware, and safe riders.

  • I'm with Dan. If there are blind corners or a few pedestrians, I slow to walking speed. When the roads are clear I prefer the road, but I'd rather take it easy on the sidewalk than risk it with the cars.

    You need to be pretty good on one of these things to be safe. Slow speed maneuverability, and staying balanced stopped are definitely prerequisites. I wouldn't ride near other people if I wasn't completely confident, and never pass over 5 mph.

  • @a_onekatie - Bringing up traffic speed because in my town it is entirely common for bikes and cars to share the road and move together in the flow of traffic. Obviously the Pint's top speed is below the 25mph speed limit in my town, but wasn't sure if I'd be able to flow with traffic until I got on the road. Since it is just not possible, I had to rethink where I'd be riding and reimagine my lines around town.

    We have bike lanes but many are disjointed and start/stop in weird places. If there isn't a viable bike lane, if one can't flow with traffic even at low speeds, if its too dangerous to be on the side of the road without a bike lane, then sidewalks are the choice by default.

    I hear y'all on slowing to walking speed when pedestrians are a factor. It definitely helps to let people see you have good control of your OW before passing them.

    The bigger thing I'm looking for input on is experiences going between road/sidewalk/bikelane and when it makes sense to switch amongst them. I had imagined riding around town would go a certain way and now that I've got my Pint am having to rethink it all.

  • @steak i only have a bit of experience so far running errands on it, but i find i'm similar to @OneDan in that i use a mix of streets & sidewalks in the same way. i read somewhere that somebody had a bike bell they hung on their belt loop, and used that to alert pedestrians when they were coming up behind them, and i rather like that idea. people tend to be jumpy or confused when you just suddenly say something loudly to them from behind, but a bike bell is a sound most people know and are comfortable around, and you can do it from far enough away that they won't be surprised to see you coming along behind them.

  • @Franko Yeah I'd thought of how to incorporate a bell of some kind and have been stuck for ideas. I'll go by the local shoppe to see if there are ones that could be hung from the belt in that way.

    Some numbers on my commute that are relevant to my route and speed (which are the ultimate determinate of road v. sidewalk).


    My commute is 2 miles. If I'm pushing my board hard for the full ride in a way that requires roads (15mph) I get to work 4 minutes earlier. Not a big difference to take it slower (10mph) and less white knuckled on the same route.

    If I take a longer but more chill route (2.5 mi), it only adds 3 min from the original route. Yes it is a big percentage difference from 15mph/2mi and 10mph/2.5 mi, but in total elapsed time only 7 min. And if I really need to get to work that much sooner I should be taking my bike.

    All that to say there is a strong case to be made for taking it slower on more out the way but empty streets than trying to run&gun on the most direct route. Added benefit of less sidewalk riding.

  • @steak said in Road or Sidewalk?:

    Yeah I'd thought of how to incorporate a bell of some kind and have been stuck for ideas. I'll go by the local shoppe to see if there are ones that could be hung from the belt in that way.

    i haven't tried it yet, but i'm imagining somehow attaching it to a small carabiner, so you can put it on and take it off easily.

  • @Franko I don't know if it's just a Seattle thing or a common practice everywhere, but in here, when riding a bike, we just announce "on your left" before gently and carefully pass the pedestrian or the other bike riders on their left. Some people do use bells too, but I find the verbal announcement just as effective, and I'm guessing on the onewheel it won't be that different. So that's what is be doing.

    I agree with a mix of road and sidewalk. You just have to make a judgement at any point which one is appropriate, and again I think it won't be any different than riding a bike. If there is a bike lane absolutely use that, while respecting the bikers who might generally go slower than you. If there aren't any and the street is wide and safe enough to ride on the shoulder, consider doing that. If it's a crowded street with not enough shoulder and with narrow lanes then perhaps use the sidewalk (if available and not too crowded) but go way more slowly. Also in general if one route isn't as friendly, look for a different one even if a bit longer.

    I think it's very important to note that we are all ambassadors of PEVs which generally have been getting a bad rep and are even banned in many places. So if you wanna keep riding, we better all make sure that we do so respectfully towards the local laws and other people that are using the roads.

  • @sinah said in Road or Sidewalk?:

    I agree with a mix of road and sidewalk. You just have to make a judgement at any point which one is appropriate, and again I think it won't be any different than riding a bike.

    also: alleys. where i live, they have way less traffic and are quick ways to go from block to block.

  • My commute is pedestrian heavy pretty much the whole way. I suppose a OW is slightly different but it CONSTANTLY amazes me how extremely unaware and flat out rude the people using Bikes and full size PEV's can be; ignoring the train rules and trying to squeeze their devices into sardine packed cars during rush hour and regularly riding on sidewalks when there's literally always a bike lane available. So this is what makes me feel sorta biased that sidewalks should be avoided. But you all who responded seem savvy to the rules of the road, so I would just ask that you stay that way and try to make the appropriate judgement call when you can. ;D

  • @a_onekatie I agree. Sidewalks should be avoided when possible. And if you go on it, you should do so with great care and respect. What you're saying is precisely the bad rep I was talking about and it's not about the particular device they're riding. OW would perhaps be no different as long as there riders exhibit the same unacceptable behavior.

    I ride my bike a lot and I'm very mindful of the people around me and their rights when I do that, and I intend to do so riding my OW.

  • In Paris, I'm on road 99% of the time. The last 1% is on broad sidewalk at night when I'm sure there is no one on sight.

    Pedestrians are too erratic.

  • @Paris said in Road or Sidewalk?:

    Pedestrians are too erratic.

    Right!? Honestly I wish they’d ignore us altogether. It would make it much easy to navigate around them if they didn’t see us and get all jumpy first lol

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