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Not to beat a topic to death, but....(5 posts)

Not to beat a topic to death, but....MXL02
Jul 1, 2002 8:58 AM
these letters appeared today in the Houston Chronicle oped page. The motorist's POV on recent cycling editorials....I am not in agreement, just sharing the info...
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/1475093
sharing blameDougSloan
Jul 1, 2002 9:08 AM
There are two distinct points regarding cyclists "sharing blame."

1. A cyclist breaks the law or rides uncarefully, contributing to a crash. Sharing the blame applies.

2. A cyclist breaks the law or rides uncarefully, but no crash results; however, a driver or pedestrian sees the cyclist and gets angry about it. Later, a car/bike or pedestrian/bike collision occurs; the former uncareful cyclist gets blamed, as now "all cyclists are idiots" in the eyes of the public. Blame, in this context, is inappropriate. However, that is not to say that all cyclists should not ride appropriately so as to engender a healthy view of them by the public, you know, the ones who will be on juries, who write to newspapers, and are driving those 2 ton machines right next to us.

Doug
This goes along with my Monday rant.bnlkid
Jul 1, 2002 10:31 AM
I was going to post about my displeasure with the multi use trails here in Minnesota. It seems like bicycles have no place anywhere. You want to ride hard/fast you get yelled at for being on the road. You want to ride casual on the MUT you get yelled at that you should be on the road.

I almost hit a little kid in a carry along on Saturday. Not because I was going too fast, but because she was trying to avoid a jogger that was on the designated bike path!(or at least the path that has the bicycle on the sign). This really ticked me off as it is clearly marked which trail is for pedestrians and which is for wheeled vehicles(bikes, rollerblade, scooter, etc.). This didn't happen once, but at least 4 times in a 1 mile stretch. I was only cruising at about 12 mph, so my speed wasn't an issue. I got so frustrated that I stopped and gave a couple people a lecture about jogging on the designated bike path. They happened to be jogging two abreast and wearing headphones. The walking/jogging path was only 20 feet away from them.

Ok now I'm done venting.
This goes along with my Monday rant.filtersweep
Jul 1, 2002 8:33 PM
I live in Mpls... and the MUTs are as good as they get (3 separate 4-8 ft lanes for commuter trails) but they are still MUTs (usually save them for my "other bike').

1) I've always been curious as to what gives inline skaters/cross country skiiers "the right" to use designated "bike paths?" Is this a law, or some general consensus? I see only bicycle signs- not "wheeled traffic" posted on those lanes.

2) If I see another unleashed dog running around, I may become unglued. I got into it with a real B#@CH the other day (the owner, not the dog) when I politely chastised her after her miserable cur came after me... and she had a nasty attitude.

To the joggers' credit, aside from the stoopidity of wearing headphones, most of the MUT lanes are not well marked if you don't enter from a regular "entrance." You sort of need to know the system. I don't know what MUTs you are talking about... but some are definitely better than others.
re: riding in traffic...Fredrico
Jul 1, 2002 12:03 PM
whether walking, running, roller blading, bicycling, or driving a car, is all a matter of going with the flow, and respecting the travelers in front of you, and those coming at you from the left. The Washington and Old Dominion Bike Trail is a model. Nobody has an exclusive right of way, there are no priviledged users. Faster vehicles must announce, "On your left!" before passing slower ones, and the slower ones are required to make room. If oncoming traffic prevents passing, the cyclist must be prepared to slow and stay behind the walker or roller blader, until the way is clear. Parents tell their kids to stay right and the kids do. At the crossings, cars respect the cyclists as well as vice versa. Often a car will stop and motion the cyclist to cross the roadway, althought the cyclists has a stop sign.

It seems obvious that the traffic on unrestricted access roads can accomodate bicycles and cars. State transportation laws all agree that maintaining speeds prudent for traffic conditions, passing slower moving vehicles on the left, and being liable for rear ending any vehicle in front of them is the responsibility of all road users. There is no need for a war mentality between cyclists and motorists, when the vast majority of both respect each other and the law.

On the other hand, in California is is legal to thread through stopped cars on expressways on a motorcycle, and few policemen will cite a cyclist for doing the same in congested city traffic. I have seen cyclist policemen join pedestrians in a crosswalk and use the sidewalks, but they always respect and work with the traffic, never assuming right of way. Riding on the sidewalk, a cyclist is a pedestrian, riding on the road, a small, slow moving vehicle. It's that simple.

Accidents happen when these rules are forgotten, or individuals arrogantly disregard them. Bikes are small, frequently invisible at night. That at least contributed to that unfortunate accident in Houston.