Isn't riding on the sidewalk safer than in the street?

Believe it or not, bicycle riders are usually safest when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.  Most people driving cars are looking in the roadway for oncoming traffic or which traffic to yield to.  Hardly ever do drivers slow down enough to look back at the sidewalk to see if there is a bicycle rider coming off the sidewalk into the crosswalk.

Kids in Street Skills 1 will be coached on which streets are safe to ride on and which streets they should use the sidewalk.  Sidewalk coaching will include stopping at the end of each street and walking bikes in crosswalks for younger riders.

Many of our sidewalks have terrible visibility to see if there is someone to yield to on the sidewalk. In addition, people riding bikes typically move much faster than walking speeds making it often impossible to stop in enough time to avoid hitting a bicycle rider. 

Many people are surprised to know that in most cases people riding bikes do not have pedestrian rights and the law almost never protects a bicycle rider in a crosswalk, only pedestrians.  The false sense of security regarding always having the right of way on sidewalks does not apply to people on bikes and can be so dangerous to kids.

Teaching kids the rules of the road, how to communicate with car drivers and how to behave as part of traffic is much safer for them.  Car drivers are more comfortable around bicycle riders when their behavior is predictable.  When bicycle riders behave as traffic it's not confusing or surprising to the other road users.  Bicycle riders on the road are visible to car drivers and they have time to see them and yield to them or move around them.