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M.U.T.s from walker's perspective: (a lot of) cyclists suck(79 posts)

M.U.T.s from walker's perspective: (a lot of) cyclists suckcommuterguy
Aug 6, 2002 6:15 AM
I ride ~3K miles a year on a M.U.T., so I can relate to some of the complaints that have been posted over the last few days. However, today I had occasion to walk 2 miles on the trial I normally ride, and let me tell you, a lot of cyclists are very stupid, very rude, and/or have death wishes.

My main complaint: even though I was walking all the way on the RHS of the trail (which is nine feet wide), cyclist after cyclist passed without warning, and so close we all but touched. This is very unnerving: there is no getting used to it, your heart skips a beat each time a fat sweaty middle-aged jacka$$ abruptly appears to your immediate left.

For no good reason, these cyclists were giving themselves, and me, absolutely no margin for error or the unexpected. Suppose I drift slightly to my left, or I move quickly to avoid an insect: we'd both end up on the ground in a lot of pain (none of these morons was wearing a helmet, to give you some sense of their concern about their own welfare).

As I said at the onset, I ride much more than I walk on MUTs, and I have posted in the past on the horrors of some walkers (unrestrained dogs and children, joggers who suddenly u-turn in front of bikes, walking three and four abreast (only women do this) and refusing to let either oncoming or passing traffic get by). These are all valid, but I think some cyclists are doing us absolutely no favors with their rude and dangerous behaviour.

One last rant: anyone who rides on a crowded MUT in their aerobars is a complete idiot.
The M.U.T. concept is retarded...TJeanloz
Aug 6, 2002 6:22 AM
The trouble is that a bunch of trails were paved and called "bike paths", and people realized that they were good for a lot of things in addition to riding bikes, which made them bad places to ride bicycles. They are effectively now just as bad (if not worse) places to ride a bike than the original M.U.T., otherwise known as the street.

My opinion on them is that unless you're out for a casual spin around the block on your Schwinn cruiser, the bike path is no place for a bicycle.
Aug 6, 2002 6:26 AM
These things started off as bike paths, as a place for bikes to ride without cars around. They were supposed to be dedicated to bikes, and thus more safe. With our incessant need for "diversity", suddenly they were flooded with double wide baby buggies and roller bladers 3 abreast. They suck now. It's like allowing bikes on freeways...

Aug 6, 2002 6:35 AM
I think peaceful coexistence is possible, although your points are valid to some extent. You will never be able to ride flat out on an MUT (except maybe in the dead of winter, when there really are only cyclists on them). But if we all follow some basic rules--stay as far to the right as possible, warn before passing, don't pass if oncoming traffic will be endangered--I think we really can all get along.

To repeat, I have a great commute on an MUT (the Capital Crescent Trail, which may be the creme de la MUT creme). My commute, if I had to use the roads, would probably be too dangerous (definitely couldn't do it year round). I believe basic common sense and decency would allow MUTs to function beautifully. But those two things are currently in short supply.
Used to do the same commute.djg
Aug 6, 2002 6:44 AM
From Arlington to Bethesda. The Cap Crescent trail is the best and the worst of them. During commuting hours, or real early on the weekend, or in bad weather, it's a nice, smooth, relatively empty, 7-mile stretch of pavement running along the river and through the trees. Sunday, in the summer, at noon? Fuggetaboutit. Large stretches are absolutely blocked with all manner of traffic and it's just not worth it.
There seems to be a pattern hereTomS
Aug 6, 2002 6:38 AM
Weren't paved roads originally intended for bikes too? (I seem to remember the American Wheelmen were the biggest supporters of paving roads so that people could use bicycles for transportation more efficiently) And now they pretty much belong to cars.

So why is it that bicyclists get crowded out of facilities that were originally designed and built for them...? No respect, I tell ya.

But back to the original topic, I agree, it can be nerve-wracking to walk on a mut with people going way to fast on bikes. Again, I think it's a matter of respect; pedestrians shouldn't walk 3-4 abreast and take up the width of the path, or wear headphones so that they aren't aware of their surroundings; and cyclists should keep in mind that when you're walking, it's not a fun experience to have someone going 15-20mph just barely miss you without warning.
but what really irks meDougSloan
Aug 6, 2002 7:03 AM
Around here (Fresno) we are blessed with great roads, bike lanes (area on roads marked off for bikes and labled thusly) as well as near perfect sidewalks. The bike lanes should be a godsend, but guess what? Rather than use the idyllic sidewalks, every walker, jogger, mother with baby, dog walker, and roller blader uses the bike lanes. HUH??? Back to riding in traffic, but now the drivers are somewhat justifiably irritated that the damn bikes are not in the bike lanes. Yes, we always get the squeeze. Stuck in no-man's land. I feel like yelling at every pedestrian to "stay the he!! on the sidewalk!" (but I don't -- I just sneer at them as viciously as I can)

I don't understand that one...TJeanloz
Aug 6, 2002 7:17 AM
It was the same way in Boulder- there's a perfectly good sidewalk to run on, and you have runners in the bike lane. Bikes aren't allowed on the sidewalk, and yet runners feel the need to be in the road? I never quite understood it.
from what I've heardTomS
Aug 6, 2002 8:54 AM
Running on pavement is more comfortable than on concrete (sidewalks). It has more "give". I don't run though, so I'm not sure.

But yeah, you get some people who run with traffic in the bike lane, some who run against traffic in the bike lane, it can get pretty confusing for someone actually _biking_ in the bike lane! :-)
I was told that once by a runner...biknben
Aug 6, 2002 9:16 AM
I was barely able to control my laughter. Good thing, because it was my father-in-law. Asphalt does "give", but not under the weight of a 200 lb human. It gives under a 10 ton truck.

I run on the sidewalks and other that the occasional crack or slope, there's no noticable different. If you're looking for give, get a better pair of insoles.
I don't know,TJeanloz
Aug 6, 2002 9:32 AM
This is purely anecdotal, but having crashed on my bike (more times than I'd like to admit), I always found asphalt softer than I expected and concrete harder.
sorry, it's truemr_spin
Aug 6, 2002 10:50 AM
I don't know the science of it, but when I come back from a run on concrete, my knees are thrashed. For the same distance over the same profile in the same shoes on asphalt, my knees are fine. Every runner I know, which includes dozens of competitive runners, tells me the same thing.
Aug 6, 2002 11:31 AM
I think that buoyancy is what makes one type of surface more comfortable than another for runners. There are a bunch of differnt kinds of asphalt. Some contain rubber--to varying degrees--while others contain no rubber at all. Concrete (cement) never contains rubber. I would be willing to bet that a study would reveal that runners prefer surfaces with the highest rubber content.

By the way, how much force does a 200 hundred pound man make against the road surface as he runs. The man is falling onto the surface. The two ton truck is not falling, but rather pulling itself along. I bet more force is applied than we realize.
I believe the runnerDuane Gran
Aug 6, 2002 11:00 AM
I feel a difference in the following:
  • carbon vs aluminum wheels
  • 120 psi or 110 psi on my wheels
  • climbing with or without a saddlebag
  • shorts with 6 or 8 ply padding

Mention any of this to even a casual cyclist and they would say I'm full of it, but I seriously feel the difference in all of those thing. Runners sound crazy to me, but if I spent much time running I would probably know what streets feel better, much less what surface.
I was told that once by a runner...jim cav
Jun 19, 2003 8:50 AM
Just to clarify,
I have been running for over 25 years, and am a physician for the navy. The only thing you can run on harder than concrete is the deck of an aircraft carrier and (maybe) the frozen tundra. It is no joke if you run for years and do serious mileage (35 plus miles per week). Concrete will cause stress fractures and shoe break down much more quickly. That is why serious runners never run on sidewalks. I am also a cyclist, by way of training for 2 ironmans, I've come to really enjoy cycling.
when I drive, I think about runners and bikers at every corner, when I run I think about cars and bikers, when I ride, I think about runners and cars. Always I think about idiots and dogs.
but what really irks mebronte1961
Aug 10, 2002 11:11 PM
I can`t really comment on your type of cycle lane as the U.K.`s national cycle network hasn`t reached my part of the world yet.All the cycle lanes installed by local government since became trendy for them to do so have consisted of nothing more than 3 foot wide painted lanes which generally go nowhere.They have also made the roads more dangerous as the lanes take up 3 feet of roads that are no wider than 100 years ago and car drivers regularly cross into them.We shouldn`t be using cycle lanes ,car drivers and all motorised road users should be made to slow down and have a bit more repect for others.We should claim the roads back for ourselves. Every time you go out on your bike and you get the chance to make somebody slow down their car,slow them down it feels good.By the way I am not one of those professional cycle protestors I do own a car and a motorbike.
The M.U.T. concept got me on the roadsms
Aug 6, 2002 6:54 AM
Two and a half years ago, I bought my first bike (a hybrid) since I was a teenager in order to ride on a trail with my daughers. After a few times on the trail, I decided that it was too dangerous -- I was going to hit a walker, stroller or rollerblader. I took the the roads, rediscovered how much I liked riding, bought a road bike and have been having a great time ever since. Last year I rode 3,000+ miles (not a lot for many people on this board, but it was for me) and this year I already am near the 3,000 mark. If it were not for the trail, I probably would not have gotten off of my butt. So, in a stange kind of way the trail was good for me, but not in the way it was intended.
Yep. The speed limit on Cook Cnty MUT's is 8MPHKristin
Aug 6, 2002 7:28 AM
I try to only ride the trail if its really early and I know that only regulars will be out there. The regulars are all cool. On Saturday, I was riding a little too late. It was noon before I got home.
Fuzzy mathmr_spin
Aug 6, 2002 7:38 AM
Do bikes even stay upright at 8 mph? If they actually enforce it with citations, I'd say it sounds like they are purposely discouraging cyclists from using the trail. As we all know, it is almost impossible not to exceed 8 mph on a bike.

On my local MUT, the Los Gatos Creek Trail, there is a 15 mph speed limit. Where it goes through a park, there are also signs that say "Slow down to 7.5 mph when passing."

So, let's say I am doing 15 mph, the speed limit. I come upon a guy doing 10 mph. I pull out to pass, drop my speed to 7.5 mph, and watch the guy pull away from me. What?

In order to pass him, I have to slow down??? Where is the logic in that?

The signs say nothing about ramming him from behind.
LOL - PerspectiveKristin
Aug 6, 2002 7:43 AM
Trust me, I know for a fact that you can keep a road bike upright at 5 MPH. I rode with a new rider a few months ago. He lagged behind me the whole ride. When I'd get up to 15 MPH, I'd slow down and wait for him. Of course he saw this as a signal to take a break and slowed his speed to 5 MPH. It was a long 8 miles, but I walked away conclusivly knowing that you can sustain 5 MPH for at least 3 miles.

Recently, I've been learning to balance at 2 MPH. Pretty soon I'll be doing trackstands. My motivation: Look Cleats. I will do anything to stay clipped-in.
Aug 6, 2002 8:11 AM
that happened to me recently

a non-cycling friend of mine has been out riding on some casual rides where he's on a mtb. and I take it easy on the cross bike - he never gets too far behind regardless of my speed (up to 15mph) - but is always 200 yards behind me - if slow down the distance never seems to be shortened #

when I stop to let him catch up because there's a turn or a light or something he takes it as a rest stop and pulls up next to me like we're gonna have a cup of tea or something
Aug 6, 2002 7:50 AM
You pull up, grab his jersey, throwing yourself forward as you pull him back, sling-shotting by. Simple.

Boulder speed limit question,TJeanloz
Aug 6, 2002 7:53 AM
This is an open question to anybody who may know the answer. Out on the Boulder Creek path in the Foothills/Arapahoe vicinity, there's a pretty nasty three way intersection in the bike paths, one of which goes over a bridge (and then under Foothills Parkway). There's a posted "Speed Limit" sign that has a 25 on it. But the bottom bolt of the sign is just about exactly between the 2 and the 5, so it could well say "2.5"; it is a pretty tricky bend, that you'd have to be pretty talented to go 25 through, but 2.5 seems too slow. Anybody know which it is supposed to be?
can't imagine a 2.5DougSloan
Aug 6, 2002 7:58 AM
I can't imagine any speed limit sign being posted in 1/2 mph increments. How in the world would that be enforced? "Well, officer, my computer said 2.4 ?"

25 mph does seem a little high, though.

they do actually have bike cops hereColnagoFE
Aug 6, 2002 1:52 PM
have seen people get busted for no headlights etc...another unique boulder thing is that the bike paths oftentimes get plowed (snow) before the streets do .
25mph on all MUTs AFAIKColnagoFE
Aug 6, 2002 1:51 PM
but then again riding around the section that goes by CU (near folsom) it would be suicidal to go that fast. too much traffic.
Thought I saw a lower number somewhere...TomS
Aug 7, 2002 6:30 AM
Like 15, or 20? I'm not sure. I guess I don't pay enough attention to the signs :-)

I almost got nailed at that very spot (the 3-way by foothills and arapahoe) a few weeks ago, I was going north parallel to foothills, and this kid on a bmx was coming east on the path parallel to arapahoe; I saw him coming but figured that since I was the one going straight, and I was obviously going faster than him, he would stop. But apparently he didn't even look because he came zipping out right into me and I was just barely able to sprint out of his way.

My worst accident was commuting on those bike paths too... hit some ice and slid all the way into the ER with a busted jaw :(
Is this the Busse Woods trail?tyrius
Aug 6, 2002 8:12 AM
What about the Barrington Woods trail? I haven't seen any speed limits on that one, plus it is much much less crowded.
The M.U.T. concept is retarded...filtersweep
Aug 6, 2002 7:33 AM
I don't know- I agree with the state of reality, but consider this: there are a TON of sidewalks in existence, where cycling is actually prohibited. There are also such things as "bike only" trails... not that it keeps pedestrians away entirely, and I still don't understand what gives a rollerblader the right to use a bike trail.

There are three-lane MUTs all over Minneapolis- some are eight feet wide each- one for foot traffic, and two one-way wheeled traffic lanes... and I see plenty of road bikers on these. I am known to use them when traffic is crazy, or when daylight isn't what I might like, or to ride to decent roads (I hate driving so I can ride). They are part of a rails-to-trails project, so they go through some questionable industrial zones (meaning there isn't much traffic... it looks like a good place for a jogger to be abducted). There is also a ton of broken glass on these as they pass through the worst of neighborhoods.

I have really mixed opinions on this topic. I was riding a bike lane on a road by the Mississippi over the weekend- one-way, solid white lined bike lane. It seems cars drive as close as possible to the lane when there is a "lane," vs. the other side of the river where there is no lane (where it actually feels safer, since cars give me more room). BTW- what is up with a car's fear to cross the center line to pass a bike when there is NO vehicular traffic?

Back to MUTs- I'm curious how many of these buzzers were on road bikes? Not that there aren't plenty of rude riders out there.

Finally, around here, the congested regular narrow MUTs have a posted speed limit of 10 mph. Not that it is enforced, but it is a pretty good signal for roadies to stay away.

As a caveat, these "MUTS" are really designed to be "commuter bike trails"- hence the extra lanes, signage, etc... I think there are marginally safer than the classic MUT- one lane with all matter of traffic, wheeled or otherwise. The sightlines can be a bit poor at times, and they are as flat as a rail line... and there are all sorts of wildlife hazards.
Minneapolis Joggers ????Scot_Gore
Aug 6, 2002 8:36 AM
As filtersweep said, Minneapolis has numerous split use trails. Two paved paths seperated by a 4 foot swath of grass and a sign in the middle with a stick figure of a person pointing at one path and a bike symbol pointed at the other.

Most of the joggers have come to the conclusion that bike path symbol applies to them. Where split use paths exist I rarely see joggers on the pedestrian path, they are running on the bike path. What motivates a jogger onto bike path?Do joggers feel walkers speed impairs their ability to use the pedestrian path? Any ideas? (Bnlkid, I know you don't get this either)

Minneapolis Joggers ????filtersweep
Aug 6, 2002 8:53 AM
I would never consider riding on the Lake of the Isles trail- or any lake trail for that matter, but I do ride on the road around Isles, and ALL I ever see on the bike path is joggers. They have simply taken it over as their own. Granted, the foot trail was underwater in the spring, but it is already August.
Minneapolis Joggers ????Scot_Gore
Aug 6, 2002 9:06 AM
Same story on the River Road.

You know on the River Road where the trail occasionally comes together and becomes a mixed trail to get around some geologic obtascle, when the trail splits again and there's those signs pointing "Bike" Here, "Foot Traffic" here, joggers always take the bike trail. What drives that choice? The bike path is straighter, there's too many walkers, I don't get it.

Minneapolis Joggers ????filtersweep
Aug 6, 2002 10:22 AM
The road is pretty good there (aside from the speed bumps)... I never take the trail near the river. There isn't much traffic and there are enough roadies that cars are pretty good and it feels as safe as can be. I was once buzzed by a minivan closer to downtown on W. River Rd.(guy drove as close as possible to me on the deserted road, then honked the horn just as he passed... if it weren't for those damned hills I'd have probably killed him if I could- there was no excuse, but it was during a pre-season Vikes game, so you do the math).

River trail traffic appears to be picking up in recent years, from what I can seem from the road. A few years ago there were some nasty rapes and assaults that kept that area pretty quiet... on the Mpls side, at least.
This is my biggest peeve with MUTs.bnlkid
Aug 6, 2002 9:09 AM
I have expressed this problem a couple of times on the board. It drives me nuts. I don't know why they insist on jogging on the bike bath. A couple of weeks ago I almost hit a baby riding in one of those carry along cages because the lady riding the bike was trying to avoid a jogger. I was going a controlled 12mph at the time. I was so pissed I was tempted to turn around and yell at the jogger, but before I had time to turn around, I ran into two more joggers running 2 abreast and taking up most of the path. I yelled at them that the walk path was 10 feet to their right! The MUT is especially important on Minnehaha PWKY for awhile as the road is littered with gravel. Which brings up another frustrating point. It looks like they are getting ready to resurface Minnehaha Pkwy, but only on the sections that were already smooth. They haven't done anything from Lyndale to 50th going west. This post really got me going this morning. It nice to be able to vent with people that experience the same thing. I don't have any sympathy for someone that might be frightened as I pass by when they are in the wrong place to begin with.(I want to reiterate that these trails are CLEARLY marked, so there can't be any confusion as to what trail is for what type of activity)
The M.U.T. concept is retarded...aliensporebomb
Aug 6, 2002 8:26 PM
I just recently have started using these trails because I've infected my wife and some
friends with the cycling bug but they're not confident to go pure road yet so I have to
shepherd them along.

The trails over by the lakes definetely aren't real suitable for high speed sustained
antics so it is for a much more leisurely type of ride. But there are idiots who are
listening to high volume music with headphones who are just asking to get creamed.

Believe me, I LOVE music - I'm a musician myself but on a crowded MUT trail
having bladers/bikers with headphones is going to result in someone getting hurt.

Also, my workplace did the right thing and installed showers and a locker room for
bike commuting so to do a trial-run I recently took the Kenilworth trail over to the Cedar-Lake trail on a 1/2 day off all the way into downtown. During the day those
trails are really sparsely populated. On weekends you'll see roadies, mtbers, some
tandems, every type of recumbent under the sun, rollerbladers, chaos. Ride, but
you can't ride sleepily on automatic - you have to pay attention or you could run
into trouble.

I figured I'd also head northeast as I had to fix my sister-in-laws computer so I
rode on on one of the bike paths downtown to the stone arch bridge, over it, past
the U into Dinkytown and then over to my bro&sis in laws condo.

On the way back I took the trail near Minnehaha park that parallels the river.
It was getting towards 4 p.m. when I got done and it was almost exclusively bikers
and bike commuters. I had to keep somewhat more alert since the traffic was
actually fairly heavy. Towards downtown it was more of a mix of cyclists and
pedestrians. What's that all about? I eventually headed south on Hennepin's
cycling corridor and picked up the Cedar-Lake trail again and though the trail
had somewhat more traffic it was easily do-able.

As far as running into troublemakers: if you're a fit cyclist you shouldn't have
too much trouble sustaining a speed that would make it hard for a pedestrian
intent on causing trouble to do so.....keep a cell phone handy and just look like
you own the damn trail - looking like a scared little mutant won't help.

Back to the issue though - riding on the road when I'm with my roadie friends
works a lot better. I feel I get a better workout and I also feel that the actual
condition of the roads are somewhat better than the somewhat cracked asphalt

My 2 cents.
I don't think it's retardedMel Erickson
Aug 6, 2002 9:29 AM
but some of it's users are. The M.U.T. concept was not developed as a "bike trail" but as a multi use trail. The problem with MUTs and any other transportation route is the users, their different speeds and their vacant minds. The same problems exist with roads except the consequences of an accident are so much greater that people generally pay more attention, especially those with more to lose like bikers.

I never use MUTs for anything other than a slow sight seeing ride. They're an accident waiting to happen at anything over 10mph. No amount of complaining, rules, policing, etc. is going to change this. Dogs will jump, kids will run, bladers will hit rocks, cyclists will swerve getting a water bottle, accidents will happen, and more so on MUTs than on the streets (where bikes belong IMHO).
sort of a responsemr_spin
Aug 6, 2002 6:32 AM
I used to commute a lot on an MUT and have plenty of experience with users of all types. After about the 2,000th time saying "on your left" and getting no reaction or the wrong reaction, I stopped saying it when there was ample room to pass. If there wasn't enough room, if they had a dog or children, or if they were screwing around, I always said something.

I never buzzed anyone when passing, and I never would. But I never felt too bad about the handful of people who were obviously shocked when I passed six feet away. I have to ride the trail in a state of heightened awareness to avoid all the idiots who aren't paying attention. Waking somebody up who is not paying attention doesn't bother me at all.
What really sucks....bnlkid
Aug 6, 2002 6:41 AM
Is riding on a MUT that has a dedicated bike bath and a dedicated walk path and the walkers are on the bike path. I only use the MUTs when I want a casual easy ride, but it turns into a lesson on self control. I don't know how many times I have wanted to stop and point out the walk path is ten feet to the left. But being the good natured person I am(and fear of having a gun pulled on me) I just smile and say "On your left" until someone interprets on your left to mean move to the left. Then I only say it when there isn't alot of room to pass.
It's Frustrating....Gregory Taylor
Aug 6, 2002 7:10 AM
I commute every day on the George Washington Parkway Bike Trail. It's marked as a "Bike Trail"...and all of the walkers, joggers, etc., seem perfectly oblivious to that fundamental fact. Most are zombies, shuffling along plugged into a Walkman. Others are engrossed in conversation as they walk two or three abreast, scrupulously avoiding the notion that if they walk on a bike trail that someone on a bike might want to get by. (Field observations of this particular behavior has led to the development of a postulate known as "Aaram's Rule" -- if two people are walking side-by-side on the bike trail, it is most likely that the tubbiest one will be waddling along on the left. It's uncanny.).

Some are downright surly, even when you give them a wide berth and a friendly warning that you are passing. And all of this time there's that tiny little voice rattling around in your helmet, screaming "HEY IDIOT! IT'S A BIKE TRAIL!"

Oh, a bit of history. The GW Parkway trail emerged around the time of the first gas crisis in '73. It was supposed to be a way for folks to commute to work and leave the car behind. It was originally crushed gravel. I used to ride it as a kid on my 10 speed Schwinn Varsity. The one thing that I notice is that every time they "improve" the surface, more folks come out of the woodwork to use it. The last resurfacing near Alexandria resulted in an infestation of rollerbladers and dog walkers. Of course, they haven't resurfaced the hilly bit through the woods south of Old Town...not suitable for rollerblades at all.

Grouse, grumble, bitch, complain....
Dog walkingKristin
Aug 6, 2002 7:39 AM
I met a woman at work last year who complained because bike riders on the local "bike path" ride on the right. She wants to chaing the laws so that we must ride on the left. Why? Because she took her dog to some stupid foofoo pedigree school where it was taught it to walk on the left side of its owner. Why are dogs taught to walk on their owners left in the US? Because that's the way they are taught in in Europe...which of course makes it right all over the world! (Okay, there is a valid point if you are going to ever show your dog in Brittain or France. I mean, you can teach little Princess to jump thru flaming hoops, but I doubt she could learn to walk on both sides of her owner.)
and some are all over the placeDougSloan
Aug 6, 2002 7:49 AM
Almost worse are the owners who allow the dog to wander all over on a 15 foot leash, leaving you frantically guessing which way poochie will veer next. Darn near need to come to a halt and pass at 1 mph, fully expecting to be tangled up with the little mutt.

The retractable leash/garat wirejustina
Aug 6, 2002 8:35 AM
The unleashed dogs suck bad enough, but the retractable leashes are the most insidious devices ever. The owner stands to one side of the path obliviously chatting it up with someone while their dog wanders off into the bushes on the other side setting up a near invisible clothes line across the path. Plus no one holds their line while walking, blading, jogging, if people drove like that they'd have their licenses revoked. I'll take my chances with the monster truck SUV's, it's a lot safer.
I feel sorry for the dog.bnlkid
Aug 6, 2002 9:13 AM
I rode upon a dog and it's owner last weekend. The owner saw me coming and retracting the leash and pulled really hard lifting the dog of the ground. The owner then gave me a dirty look. I was not riding fast at all. In fact, I was just trying to make it home after bonking on a couple of little climbs. I felt bad for the dog, but the owner didn't seem to realize that the best place to walk a dog is not on one of these trails.
Dogs on the leftbobwill
Aug 6, 2002 11:26 AM
Well, remember, pedistrians are only legally suppossed to walk in opposition to trafic. Well, that means they walk on the left side of the road. So, if the owner is on the left of the road, and the dog is on the left of the owner, the dog should be off the road, or on its very edge.
Dogs heel on the left because . . .Steve98501
Aug 6, 2002 4:35 PM
the handler carries his shotgun in the crook of his right arm. A working dog on the left is further away from the muzzle of the gun while in the field. A left-handed dog handler may train his dog to heel on the right, however. The issue isn't whether the dog should be heeling left or right, but whether the MUT is a feasible place to walk the dog.

I ride the same path. I understand your frustration.djg
Aug 6, 2002 11:01 AM
I feel your pain. Really. But what difference does it make if the fat person is on the left or the right? Presumably the pair still takes up the same amount of space however you shuffle them (one o' the formal properties of addition). I guess maybe there's less mass to deal with if you crash into the little one. But then, a really fat person is likely softer.

To me, the rollerbladers seem the worst (ALWAYS have headphones, whereas the others only have them sometimes). But the only person I've hit on the trail was actually another cyclist.
Aaram's Rule --Gregory Taylor
Aug 6, 2002 12:11 PM
You're right, the pair take up the same area on the path. It just seemed weird that they almost always arrange themselves this way.

Rollerbladers are the spawn of Satan. The Pope announced this recently on his trip to Canada.
What do you do when there's someone right in the middle?Fez
Aug 6, 2002 7:10 AM
Some runners and walkers will do their thing right in the middle of the trail. Usually with headphones cranking. Do you yell "pass"? And since he is dead center of the path, which direction do you pass? He could move in either direction once (or if) he hears you.

And how do you handle the group of 2 or 3 oncoming cyclists that ride next to each other and are actually in your lane coming head on? Do you yell, move out of the way, or just hold your ground?
simple answerDuane Gran
Aug 6, 2002 11:11 AM
Do whatever maximizes your safety, and also doesn't endanger others. In otherwards, wait until it is safe to pass and assume that oncoming people may encroach on your lane.
good answer, duaneFez
Aug 6, 2002 12:47 PM
i always ride safe and defensively, but i tell you, you give a little, and the boneheads take that much more.

if i stay to the right while these boneheads ride 2 or 3 abreast, they won't flinch or move an inch, almost running me off my lane.

also, at times someone will pass me from behind and will try to do it while oncoming cyclists are coming head on, making for a hairy situation. they can never just wait or pass comfortably to the left without nearly hitting me.
thanksDuane Gran
Aug 6, 2002 5:48 PM
also, at times someone will pass me from behind and will try to do it while oncoming cyclists are coming head on, making for a hairy situation. they can never just wait or pass comfortably to the left without nearly hitting me.

Well, I think that is just an example of someone else passing when it isn't safe. If only they could find a way to do a solo crash, but on MUTs the crashes tend to involve a dumb person and an innocent person. I ride the MUT infrequently and all I can do is make sure I'm not the dumb one. Where I ride (Washington DC) the trails are in grassy areas, so I can always dart into the grass if needed. I've done it a few times to compensate for other's dumb moves.
where in dc do you ride?Fez
Aug 6, 2002 7:02 PM
i will do cap crescent and w&od on occasion, but on the weekends i like doing the group ride that originates from rock creek.
where in dc do you ride?Duane Gran
Aug 7, 2002 7:26 AM
This thread is drifting off the page, but in case you see this...

I tend to ride the Mt Vernon trail most often. W&OD is nice once you get past Vienna, but that is 13 miles out there. I ride the capital crescent trail very rarely, as it is far too crowded with non-bikes.

As for the group ride, I sometimes do the 7am DC velo ride on Saturdays. Lately on Tues/Thurs I've been doing the goon ride in rock creek park.
yelling "ramming speed" works well... :-) <nm>off roadie
Aug 7, 2002 1:04 PM
fat sweaty middle-aged jacka$$ohmk1
Aug 6, 2002 7:17 AM
So is the problem with an MUT (whetever the F, that is) fat sweaty middle-aged jacka$$es. Are the skinny young pimple ass bike riders, more polite on this MUT than the fatbodied older ones? Because if its these fat guys that are riding too close and too fast to scare you, then they're the ones that need to be banned.
Naw...Gregory Taylor
Aug 6, 2002 7:27 AM
MUT = the public restroom of the bike world. "MUT stands for "Multi-Use Trail" -- think skinny ribbon of blacktop used by walkers, bikers, rollerbladers, etc. Hell, I've even seen folks stopped in the middle of the lane doing tai chi or yoga. Like a public restroom, it quickly becomes a nasty place to be because, well, so many people use it.

During peak usage, nobody on an MUT is polite. The behavior there explains why rich people buy huge estates and put up fences to keep the public out -- other people can be annoying.
Speed kills.MXL02
Aug 6, 2002 7:24 AM
I commute on a MUT several times a week. The only time there is a problem with cyclists, dog walkers, and baby joggers all peacefully coexisting is when some idiot decides he wants to do interval training on his custom road bike at speeds of about 20 mph or worse. At slower speeds 10-15 mph, even if a walker doesn't understand what "on your left" means, they at least have enough time to jump out of the way and let you pass. What difference does it make anyway if you have to slow down for a minute to safely get by? I think people that ride expensive road bikes at speed up and down a MUT and act like they own the path are a$$holes and , as another person suggested previously, deserve a well placed snot rocket as they pass by.
I'd rather take my chances in trafficLeroy
Aug 6, 2002 7:30 AM
I go up to Dallas every couple of weeks and when I do I'm able to ride a bike trail from North Dallas down to White Rock lake and back out again - except it's better to get to the lake on the back streets - there's less traffic. Somebody could really get hurt on those trails.

Dave Loving
When you call out from too far a distance, walkers don't react.bill
Aug 6, 2002 7:47 AM
When you call out too close, they're all spooked.
These are the same people, no doubt, who, when you're on the road, will blast by in their SUV, buzzing you and honking the horn.
There really is no perfect place to be in a congested area. I don't like to ride by myself on the roads close in to D.C., and the trails are tough. Everyone just has to be considerate.
I admit to offenses on the bike trails. Sometimes, I'm focussed more on the rider passing walkers coming in my direction than I am the lone walker on my right, and I don't call out. Inconsiderate? Yes. No excuses. When I realize, damn, I should have called out, I thank my stars that we all got away with it this time and try to do better next.
I tend to do better completely on my own than riding with anyone else, when some of the focus is on what your companion rider is doing. Too much multi-tasking. Which is one of the risks of the trails.
I, too, sometimes have to murmur what is screaming in my brain, "It's a BIKE path! Hello!" (which is how they are designated around here, largely justified as commuter routes). But, really, everyone just has to be considerate, which means everybody has got to cut everybody some slack, cycle/walk/blade/whatever a bit defensively, and face it all with a bit of humor.
Did I tell you about the time I knocked over a blader? Blading two abreast, all hunched over out of control on my side of the trail. I share the blame (going too fast for what was essentially a blind corner), but that's about as far as I'm willing to go. Fortunately, no injury but some sunglasses and a little scratch.
My favorite quote, "You're a mean person. You're just a mean person." I had to bite my lip.
The 80-20 Rule seems to apply, in my experience.Scot_Gore
Aug 6, 2002 7:55 AM
Like alot of things the 80-20 rule seems to work for all users of MUT. 80% them understand the needs of other users and can tailor their habits to be able to co-exist. 20% don't get it.

About 80% of the time that I come around a walker (or other user) with an "on your left" I get the exact reaction I was hoping for, they move or stay to right and pay attention while I pass. 20% of the time I get an unexpected reaction. The most common of which is the interpretation of "on your left" to mean "move left". In the top 10 are the zoned out users who don't think you were talking to them, also the cranked up Walkman user, and the startled user who apparently didn't think that someone else may be out today.

20% is a big enough percent that I encounter them on nearly every ride on an MUT.

The 80% are your "skilled" MUT users, be they walkers, bikers, skaters, (or in my neck of the woods XC Ski Skaters). The 20% are your clueless newbies. I bet you had a healthy dose of the 20% clueless bike crowd on your walk who don't have the "on your left" skill.

My two cents

BTW: my uncle is a long distance biker and runner. He was getting alot of unannounced close passbys by bikers while out running. Being a experienced biker he had a keen understanding of how someone on a bike thinks. His solution was to run with a relay baton in his left hand. He said it helps.

bottom lineDougSloan
Aug 6, 2002 8:01 AM
Give me a god-forsaken, lonely, middle-of-nowhere country road any day. The more desolate, the better. People suck. I'll take my chances with the mountain lions and logging trucks.

Just wondering why youall aren't using bells???MB1
Aug 6, 2002 8:14 AM
I've got a bell on my fixte. Everyone understands when they hear a bell on a MUT/biketrail a cyclist is overtaking. I have found it makes riding on trails much easier-I'm gonna get one for all our bikes.

Calling out "On your left" creates too many problems with people who don't know what it means. It is better to just call out "Bike" and let the peds do what they will.
Just wondering why youall aren't using bells???MJ
Aug 6, 2002 8:25 AM
where do you mount a bell on drop bars for best access?

I had one on a mtb commuter but have relied on shouting for a while now - it seems pretty aggressive - whcih isn;t always a bad thing - but it'd be nice to have another option
I use this one from Licktons CycleryMB1
Aug 6, 2002 9:06 AM
The incredibell (it comes is a bar end model also.
Check this outMel Erickson
Aug 6, 2002 12:03 PM
a post in MTBR
Just wondering why youall aren't using bells???commuterguy
Aug 6, 2002 8:54 AM
I had a bell on my hybrid, but it can't attach to my oversized handlebar on my road bike.

Other questions answered: no road bike encounters this morning (all mountain and hybrid). But I know that roadies may be the worst. I was recently passed (on my bike) by a local racing team (six bikes riding two abreast). They were clearly training, not just getting from A to B.

The CCT has a 20 mph weekday speed limit and a lower limit on weekends (either 10 or 15 mph). I won't ride it on weekends.

Perhaps I was unkind in referring to the age of the "buzzers." I should have pointed out that I am also middle-aged. I think that, given their age (old enough to have kids, know better, and past the risk-loving idiocy of their adolescent years), and the fact that the path is well-marked with signs saying "warn before passing," their behaviour was inexcusable.

Reiterating another point I don't think others have picked up on: it has become more and more common to encounter cyclists on their aerobars--i.e., no where near their brakes, and with diminished directional control of their bikes--riding flat out. On the CCT descent towards Fletcher's Boathouse, these morons can reach 30 mph easily. I think this is insane. Closing speeds with oncoming cyclists and faster rollerbladers can reach 50 mph, which I believe could result in fatalities. Why? Why? Why?
Air horn is better!LC
Aug 6, 2002 9:46 AM
The roller-disco-fake blonds are not going to hear a little bell. Actually if all cyclists started using air horns I bet the other users would begin to stay off our path. Make sure you quietly sneak up behind them before you give them a blast!
Aug 6, 2002 2:45 PM
That would be quite a scene!!!! I would love to do that, but think about what we would be doing to our own hearing. Also, the paths I ride on go through residential areas and one goes by a nursing home or something and is designated as a quiet area.
Just wondering why youall aren't using bells???bobwill
Aug 6, 2002 11:53 AM
I have to say, I'm surprised how many people don't have bells on their bikes.
In my state, Maryland, they are required on any bike taken onto a public road, and are required on every public trail that I've ever ridden on.
The C&O Canal trail has stringent rules that a bell must be used 100ft from the person you're overtaking and I believe again at 50'.
I have a little black incredibell on my bike that is right next to my computer on my handlebars.
I also have to complain about all the bicyclists in Annapolis who do not obey traffic laws, and parents who allow their children to ride bikes without wearing helmets, and people who do not bother getting headlights when riding at sunset and night. All of these are blatant violations of the laws in my state, and I think that bicyclists will not be treated like we are operating a vehicle, until we start acting like we are operating vehicles.
re: I love the rollerbladers...Aristotle
Aug 6, 2002 9:16 AM
...who's stride carries them across the width of the entire path. I actually prefer it when they're wearing their walkmans so as to complete their journey into oblivion. In fact, I think I'm going to recommend to the park dept. that bike paths should only be used for amazon, rollerblading dog-walkers from Czechoslovakia.
whats the solution??zooog
Aug 6, 2002 11:09 AM
Walkers don't feel safe on roads. Dog walkers don't want to get bitched at for having there dog shit all over someones lawn. Rollerbladers have no place to blade. "Bike paths" are a place where all can go...but the problem is that when we all use the together it does not work. I don't have any MUT's or "paved bike trails" in my area. This area sucks for recreation so count yourselves lucky..I guess
Solution here...Fez
Aug 6, 2002 12:59 PM
I'm not a fan of bike paths or MUTs, but here is my solution. Make them wider - at least 50% wider. Have plenty of corny signs that say everyone (including runners) must stay to the right, and passing is on the left.

I'm not looking for a police state on the trails, but if there are applicable park rangers or police force that has jurisdiction on the trails, then there can be some enforcement of the posted rules.

If you think about it, the reason trails have so many problems is that no one really knows the rules, and there is no consequence for violating them. I have a much greater chance for being cited for jaywalking or speeding in my neighborhood than I do causing a nasty crash for acting like a fool on the trail.

P.S. If the violator was a fast road cyclist, the park ranger would or bike cop would never be able to chase him down, but we all know the violators are the dog walkers and the clueless people not on road bikes. :)
There Is A Bike Patrol On The GW Parkway TrailGregory Taylor
Aug 6, 2002 1:32 PM
The guy that I see in the mornings is an older gentleman (late 60's, early 70's) on a "sit up and beg" cruiser with a wire basket on the front. He has a little laminated U.S. Park Service Crest taped on the front. I don't think that he has jurisdiction to issue tickets...he slowly cruises the path.
Perspective of skater/cyclisthulksmash
Aug 6, 2002 11:50 AM
Yes, they're a pain. But hey, more pavement devoted to whatever discipline is cool with me. I skate and bike and have to deal with all sorts of traffic, whether it's joggers, walkers, baby carriages, bikers or wheelchairs. And common courtesy rules at those times when I'm stupid enough to be out and I know everyone else will be there (ie Sunday at 12 noon). When I don't want to deal with the traffic I'm out early in the morning where my only companions are those bikers or skaters dedicated enough to train at some ungodly hour.

And for those other times when I'm using the MUT to get to a favorite stretch of road and I'm stuck behind 4 walkers abreast all walking dogs off leash, I kill them with kindness. Best not to let other peoples opinions of cyclists suffer for my aggravation.

And lets give skaters a break! I'm usually the one passing the bicyclist.

Peace out.
Even if nobody else ever used it ...Merckx fan
Aug 6, 2002 12:43 PM
I'd rather ride the roads than the principal MUT in my area (Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst/Hadley MA). Can you believe some genius actually decided to pave the trail with asphalt containing recycled glass? Guaranteed flats galore for us skinny tire types.

The trail's private bridge over the Connecticut River is pretty good, though. It's glass-free, as is the newer eastern part of the trail.
Amherst Norwottuck Rail trailhulksmash
Aug 7, 2002 6:37 AM
Hey, that's the same trail that I skate and bike as well.

Although admittedly I'm more often on the roads. Less chunks of glass and huge sticks/logs/porcupines.

Yeah, get this: The morons who paved it put down the top layer first THEN the recycled glass layer. I think Massachusetts has a policy of giving the job to the lowest bidder with the lowest IQ. That's why the new part out in Amherst/Belchertown is so much better.

We'll wait for the Easthammpton one, although with funding cuts who knows when this'll go through.
Dog Eat Dogvelocity
Aug 6, 2002 1:24 PM
If we're indeed talking about a bicycle lane/path, why don't people who aren't bicycling stay out of it? Why do some bicylists take up the entire lane by riding side by side at <10mph, oblivious that anyone else exists? Why don't cyclists get any respect (picture Rodney Dangerfield on a bike)?

Bike lanes work in Amsterdam, for instance, why don't they work here? Sure many people in Amsterdam are riding clunkers but peds respect cyclists there. Here, bike lanes mirror our society: dog eat dog.
Aug 6, 2002 2:42 PM
the only solution I see, is for everyone to complain about all the j-walkers in the bikelanes. If enough people in a district complain long enough, and loud enough eventually officials might end up instructing officers to be on the lookout for people walking down the bike lanes and issuing citations.
I mean, if you walked down the center of the highway they would cite you for obstructing traffic, right.
Aug 6, 2002 3:09 PM
If you can't take the "heat" then GET OFF THE PATH~~!

I log around 3K miles/year on a MUT and do so "at speed". I slow when needed (children) and even alert some people to my presence but for a lot of situations it's ride as hard as I can time. IMHO, it often safest to not warn people as you approach as they will do just the opposite of what you tell them.

HOWEVER, I'm very lucky as the MUT I use is VERY lightly used (and almost all are the "local" riders or skaters). This same MUT is not "useable" on the weekends due to the heavy tourist traffic. God these people are even funnier than this thread. And this whole MUT discussion is pretty funny.