In the last 10 years, I've bicycled a little over 15,000 miles, all of it inside the city limits here in Eureka. I do prefer to ride on the streets ("Mailbox," Oct. 30). Sidewalks have a lot of hazards that one doesn't face on the streets (like blackberry vines sticking out at eye level trying to rip your face off, for instance).
Still, I often take to the sidewalks for their relative safety on busy streets. I do not like to be in close proximity to fast-moving, heavy objects driven by distracted drivers sending text messages. I've learned the hard way that bicycles are invisible to drivers.
I'm 76 years old so I'm not out for thrills, just the mild exercise of an 11-mile ride (I think of it as knee therapy).
Except for the two well-defined areas around Henderson Center and Old Town, riding on sidewalks is quite legal but there is always the possibility of running down pedestrians. To that end, I never ride faster than five or six mph on sidewalks and always give ample warning when coming up on someone — especially from behind (I do a good imitation of a bell).
I almost always ride the exact same route through the quiet neighborhoods. It's a wonderful way to get to some exercise and to know the town and the people. If I couldn't ride on the sidewalks as the need arises, I would probably stop riding altogether.
Douglas George, Eureka