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Damn biker(18 posts)

Damn bikerchazman
Jan 15, 2003 9:22 PM
Picture this...
Very narrow, two lane road packed with cars moving at a good pace. Parallel to the road is a beautiful bike path along the beach that prohibits pedestrians and goes the exact same place the road does. Then picture some guy on a bike taking the road instead.

This created a dangerous situation for the drivers and the biker. Why do you suppose he took the road? Would you agree with his choice?
re: Damn bikermickey-mac
Jan 15, 2003 9:30 PM
You don't ride, do you?
I ride but I also drive...chazman
Jan 15, 2003 9:36 PM
... I realize that in a perfect world everything would be what everybody wants. All roads would be safe for bikes to ride on and at the same time allow you to drive safely. But the fact is that this is not the case. Some roads are simply not safe to ride on. When there is a safe alternative, and it is right next to the road, what exactly would be the point of riding on the road?

Please explain logically, not emotionally.

Rational explanationmickey-mac
Jan 15, 2003 9:52 PM
I live in an area near a beach with a wide bike path where pedestrians are prohibited. It parallels major roads that are crowded. I choose to ride the crowded roads, taking my chances with the cars. First, bans on pedestrians are rarely enforced, and beach paths are typically pedestrian obstacle courses. Second, bike paths at the beach are normally filled with rollerbladers of varying abilities. The worst of them are all over the trail, arms and legs flailing in all directions. Calling out "on your left" before attempting to pass is likely to result in the blader veering directly into your path. Finally, due in large part to the factors I've already described (in addition to liberal doses of sand), getting a good workout on a beach trail is close to impossible.

Where I live, bicyclists are permitted on all public roads except freeways and, for the most part, have the same rights and privileges as drivers. Riding on the road is a dangerous hobby, but no more dangerous than hobbies enaged in by many others. I'm fully aware of the risks I'm taking and am willing to accept them to engage in the activity I love. If I slow someone's drive by three or four seconds as a result of riding on the road, I won't lose any sleep over it.
Well said............................nmrwbadley
Jan 15, 2003 10:01 PM
More rational thought...Uncle Tim
Jan 16, 2003 7:18 AM
Why are people so quick to criticize a cyclist for riding his/her bicycle on a busy road? Is it the fault of the cyclist that the roads are so crowded? Is it a fault of the cyclist that in the US we have something like 750 automobiles for every 1000 people? Is it the fault of the cyclist that people buy huge homes on huge plots of land 50 miles from where they work and the same people expect to drive that distance in 45 minutes?

The answer is that none of this is the fault of the cyclist. As a rule, the cyclist will almost always take the route of least resistance; I know I do. A meandering bikepath with lots of crossings and obstacles is not going to automatically outweigh a direct and stop-free route that forces the cyclist to share the road with lots of automobiles.

The strange thing is that the cyclist is in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. If you ride on a busy road, they yell at you to get on the sidewalk or scream "this road isn't safe for bicycles". If you are out in the boonies on lightly used rural roads, people will be flying over a raise and then yell that "this road isn't safe for bicycles".
Rational explanationThe Walrus
Jan 16, 2003 1:00 PM
Sounds like the South Bay bike path from MDR to Palos Verdes. It's usually not too bad when the weather gets cold or rainy, but it's next to impossible during summer. As for the skaters, don't think of them as obstacles--think of them as targets of opportunity.

If you want to do an amusing ride in that area, try the loop around Palos Verdes.
You Nail it -- I am referring to the MDR-PV bike pathchazman
Jan 16, 2003 8:40 PM
... and in particular, the section between Playa Del Rey and Manhatten Beach!
You Nail it -- I am referring to the MDR-PV bike pathmickey-mac
Jan 17, 2003 5:55 AM
Funny, I had the same path in mind when I posted. The only time in 20 years of cycling that a motorist yelled at me that I should be riding on the bike path instead of the road was when I was cruising southbound on Pacific between Venice and Washington. When I lived in the Marina, I occasionally took the trail down to Manhattan, but only on early morning weekday rides. Although I didn't see many bladers or pedestrians at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday mornings in February, the path was typically strewn with sand, especially in the winding sections. Riding at a speed above 18 mph or so always seemed risky. The South Bay morning ride usually takes the trail from Manhattan to the Marina in the mornings (or at least did when I lived there), but it's used as a warm-up section. The group takes the road on the way back to the South Bay when the tempo is higher. Vista del Mar's not the best place to ride but the parallel bike path, isn't any better. Although I always enjoyed riding the hills in PV, getting there from MDR wasn't much fun.
I ride but I also drive...gala7516
Jan 15, 2003 11:56 PM
Is this a parkway? We have a similar situation in the Cleveland area with the parks. Some people get nasty when you 'slow them down' on the roads. Although it is a parkway, if they are in a hurry they should be on the freeway.
I would rather get hit by a car than hit some pedestrian with a stroller, pet, or rollerblader. Often, the so called safe alternative is more dangerous.
When you're referring to the parkway...The Walrus
Jan 18, 2003 2:13 PM that what my parents used to call the Emerald Necklace, that strung together Rocky River and about half a dozen other parks? I haven't been back in Cleveland since '66, but always thought the parks would be a great place to ride. Could be my memory isn't what it used to be, though....
re: You can get hit on a path also.DERICK
Jan 15, 2003 11:31 PM

Cars coming from cross streets usually have a stop sign at the bike path and at the street. Many times they roll through the bike path or stop but don't really look. Riding on a bike path can be like riding on a sidewalk. Drivers just don't expect to see something moving that fast and may not see a rider. When they get to the road they take a much better look because now they can get killed too.

When you look at the numbers, most bike vs. car accidents happen at intersections. If you get hit it will probobly be at some intersection or driveway by a car entering or exiting the roadway. Of course you can get hit by a car just cruising down the road but it happens less often.

I would be interested in hearing the conditions of everyone elses accidents. The one accident I was involved in was the result of a truck making a left turn into a driveway and hitting me. It seems like all of my close calls have been at intersections too.

Jan 16, 2003 4:54 AM
Sounds similar to the situation in Pensacola Beach, Fla, where I spent a week with my wife's family the past couple summers. The next town to the east, Navarre, is about 15-20 miles. A nice bike path parallels the highway most of the way. I generally ride on the road, however, for several reasons: there usually isn't much traffic when I ride in the morning; the pavement is better on the road; there is often sand, gravel and broken glass on the path in spots; the path discontinues for several miles in one section; and the view is better from the road. For some reason, it really bothers some people in cars to see a bike on the road -- particularly when there is a bike path available -- and these people will honk and yell things, even when there is virtually no traffic and it is easy to go around me. I just ignore them. However, if the traffic starts picking up and I feel like I am impeding the flow, I will switch over to the bike path. The bottom line is that bikes have as much right to the road as cars and trucks, but you should use some discretion in cases where alternatives are available.
Hey, that's where I live !!DERICK
Jan 16, 2003 10:36 PM
It's exactly 50.5 miles from my House in Pensacola to Navarre and back. Beautiful ride down the beach road but usualy really windy. That path only goes about a third of the way from P'cola beach. I never ride it because it stops dead and leaves you having to hike through deep sand to reach the road. The last storm we had totaly burried it.
If you're here this summer maybe we can ride. Just post something here.
Chazman, a Foster-ismMike-Wisc
Jan 16, 2003 5:21 AM
A bicycle is a vehicle and should be used as such.

A suggestion: the next time you have the time take your bicycle and ride that section of bike path.

I've had problems when riding with two main areas of concern: bike paths, and irate drivers.

Bike paths are in reality multi-use paths, regardless of how they are signed. They are also party-routes at times for underage drinkers who stole some of their parents beer or other booze and then break the glass bottles on the bike paths. Pot holes, logs, branches, neighborhood dogs, kids, and other debris is often found on bike paths. When riding along at 15+mph you need to be on a roadway, not on a paved pathway.

Out west there is a section of bikepath that parallels a major-travled two-lane roadway. The bikepath is rough, has tree roots upheaving the pavement, is littered with debris, and is basically not maintained, plus the cyclist has to cross numerous busy streets as a secondary user of the intersection. My brother-in-law complained once that some cyclist was causing a major multi-mile backup of traffic and that the stupid cyclist should have been on the path. I simply suggest that he should try riding a bike on that path before he made any more comments. Nothing more was said of the issue.

When I lived in the Seattle region I occaisionally would ride the Burke Gilman trail on rides around Lake Washington. After the first few times I instead took to the main roadways (Sandpoint Parkway, or whatever it's called) due to numerous intersections, dangerous intersections, meandering other-users of the path/trail, debris, and so forth. Riding the path would take three to five times longer than just getting on the busy roadway, and in spite of the traffic and the occaisional jerk-inconsiderate driver the roadway was actually much safer for me to ride on.

Your mileage may vary, but before chastising a cyclist for their chosen route, perhaps it would be good to test your theory on an alternative route for them. Food for thought.

Have a nice day, and enjoy your next ride.
Chazman, a Foster-ismchazman
Jan 16, 2003 5:49 AM
The "Damn Biker" subject heading is not my necessarily my thought, but is probably most drivers thoughts when overtaking the biker in this situation.

I appreciate the non-flame responses to this post and think I have a better understanding now. I will try both routes, but to tell you the truth, in this situation I am pretty sure the bike path will become my prefered route.
Understood, and agreedMike-Wisc
Jan 16, 2003 6:42 AM
There are some routes here locally, as there were some in southern California when I lived down there, where the preferred path was the bike path. The answer usually comes down to site and situation and time specific answers, and those answers will vary. And for the record I've been known to call some cyclists a few choice words when driving a car or truck due mainly to their acts or actions, like totally blowing a 4-way stopsign at full speed in heavy traffic causing several drivers to slam on their brakes as the cyclist was trying to make the start of their local training ride five more blocks down the road.

In any case, ride safe.
"Beautiful Bikepath" my @$$!!!!Alexx
Jan 16, 2003 1:39 PM
I have yet to see a bike path around here that didn't have one or all of the following problems:
Path is never cleared of branches, dirt, etc.
Path is covered with broken glass.
Path is packed with joggers, roller bladers, and 3-year-olds wobling on training wheels.
Path has unleashed dogs running around on it.
Path doesn't go anywhere!
Path follows mosquito-infested, smelly canal.
and, my favorite:
Path has lots of root damage, paricularily in the shady areas, around turns (usually those around old trees). These root-jumps are big enough to pinch-flat your tire, bend your rim, and send you flying off the saddle.