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Bikers Need to Respect Pedestrians [?](16 posts)

Bikers Need to Respect Pedestrians [?]gala7516
Nov 7, 2003 12:55 PM
I saw this in the Washington Post. Totally rediculus, are the 'Lance Armstrong types' really riding on the MUT's that much??? I think that most of us avoid it and put up with the confederate flag waving a-holes in pickup trucks on the road.

Bikers Need to Respect Pedestrians

By Ron Shaffer
Thursday, November 6, 2003; Page GZ27

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I am a woman with disabilities who walks with a fully licensed service dog that weighs only 15 pounds and is 15 inches tall. I walk along Sligo Creek Parkway between Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road several times a day.

Despite signs issued by the Park Service stating that cyclists must signal in passing and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians, I have at least one incident per day in which a cyclist who thinks he is Lance Armstrong zips by me with no notice or, worse, rings his bell and then expects me to move now.

My dog and I are both up in years. I have multiple disabilities, which are not readily apparent from a distance.

Two weeks ago a biker told me that I had to move because we "share the trail." Although that's true, the pedestrian always has the right of way.

I have had incidents where my dog's leash was run over because the cyclist did not notice it, almost breaking her neck. I have been cursed at because I did not move fast enough; I have been "brushed" by bikers on numerous occasions; and twice I have seen other individuals knocked down.

I feel that because cyclists can use the roads, the sidewalks and the inner trails, perhaps it is time to restrict their use of the narrow sidewalks when pedestrians are present. The time has come to give the sidewalks back to people.

When cycling was simply Mom, Pop and kids on regular bikes on a weekend, this was not a problem. Now that biking is a major sport, the Lance Armstrong types have taken over the limited space available.

Nancy Russ

Silver Spring

I hope the people and agencies you've listed will review the problem and share their thoughts here. What if bicyclists were asked to dismount and walk their bike past a pedestrian? Anyone have a suggestion?
How horrible!cmgauch
Nov 7, 2003 1:42 PM
This poor woman weighs only 15 lbs and is 15" tall? She must be really tough to see.

Seriously, it is sad that she feels so harrassed by cyclist 1%ers on the MUTs. More poor press we don't need.
Nov 7, 2003 1:59 PM
I agree with the woman.

I for one am NOT a Lance-armstrong wannabe with a bell on my bike, nor would I guess are most serious road bikers who actually ride the road. But here we are talking about shared use MUTs- and I see them all the time: I'll be on the road along a lake and will see riders on road bikes, often without helmets, often in stereotypic "Fred-attire" (I truly mean nothing perjorative about it in this case) who think they are really something as they yell on your left every 10 meters as they pass grandmas on cruisers, kids learning to ride, recreational riders on Walmart "mtn-bikes," etc... remember, we are talking about bikes that actually have BELLS on them. Do YOU have a bell on your bike?

These are inbetweeners- riders who have yet to graduate to the road... likely riding a bike they purchased at SportMart or the dusty old road bike made of gas pipe.

Before you flame me for making gross overgeneralizations, I live a few blocks from a chain of lakes connected by MUTs. I use the roads, but have been known to walk around the lake, and there is all sorts of odd madness that ensues.
re: Ill bet she walks right down the center of the pathjrm
Nov 7, 2003 2:25 PM
And her and her dog cant hear to well either. If the leash gets run over that tells me that she lets her dog just wander all over the place creating a hazard for all other users. Then again bike or multi use paths are not the place to be hauling ass.
just goes to show youThe Human G-Nome
Nov 7, 2003 2:44 PM
you can be clueless on or off a bike. there's a reason it's called a "multi-use path". it's because cyclists, joggers, walkers, etc. are all encouraged to share. this means that cyclists (no matter their attire) are encouraged to ride slower and safer while pedestrians should not be taking up the whole path and with their animals unnecessarily and joggers shouldn't be doing their stretches along the length of the path. ditto for 10-piece marching bands. i guarantee you that those folks that are respectful on the bikes are also respectful off the bikes as a pedestrian and vice-versa. a jacka$$ on a bicycle is still just a jacka$$.
Its all about self responsibilityjrm
Nov 7, 2003 4:34 PM
And knowing that theres a risk involved. To blatantly points fingers at other due to a lack of self responsiblity is total billshit.
You are totally right!rollo tommassi
Nov 7, 2003 6:46 PM
Add them to the list of people who:
stop at the top of escalators
get into a revolving door ahead of you, and expect you to push for them
walk three-abreast holding hands
Is it possible?Fez
Nov 7, 2003 3:17 PM
I try to avoid MUTs, but I do ride them on occasion.

I always pass on the left and only when clear. And I leave a safe distance when passing.

I am not familiar with the area in which she walks with her dog. She says it is along the parkway. Is it a sidewalk? Is it a MUT? Is it a road?

Nevertheless, if she stays to the right and keeps her dog close to her, I would hope there would be few problems.

Is it possible she is not doing this?

Even if she is in the wrong, I hope cyclists do treat her with respect and try to go around her safely. Maybe someone local could politely tell her that although a pedestrian may have the right of way, that she should stay to the right, keep her dog close, and stay out of harms way.
Thank youlancezneighbor
Nov 7, 2003 7:23 PM
For that considerate reply. MUTs, sharing the roads... it all comes down to being careful, polite, and considerate. Whether you have the right of way or not. We all need to get along in order to keep on playing. Too many people are just out to prove that they are right or get revenge on some other person who cut them off or whatever. Just be nice out there, whether you are walking, running, cycling, driving the kids to school, or towing a boat to the lake. Just watch out for others.
Nov 7, 2003 6:10 PM
Is she taking about a MUT or a sidewalk? I can't tell from the text.
The real questiongala7516
Nov 7, 2003 6:27 PM
She mentions sidewalks and inner trails, I assume that is a MUT. No cyclist belongs on a sidewalk for any extended period of time.

The real question is what is a service dog and how much service can it provide at 15 lbs and 15 inches?
Sligo Parkwayrollo tommassi
Nov 7, 2003 6:50 PM
I seem to recall that this was just a parkway, no sidewalk, and my single experience was that it was NOT a great place to ride. That was several years ago, maybe theere is a lane/MUT adjacent now?

My other question is: if she's legally blind, how can she SEE that it's a Lance Armstrong lookalike?
It's an MUT, and she makes some good pointsOverStuffed
Nov 7, 2003 8:25 PM
She's referring to an MUT that runs alongside a two-lane "parkway", with a significant section where there is no road. I often ride here, but stay on the road (when it's there) where I find the cars far more courteous, and easier to deal with, than the pedestrians on most MUT's.

I think most of her points are good, and I agree with her on all of them. Bikers (everyone, really) should be more courteous on MUT's.

Also, she takes a very aggressive stance which makes me want to find something wrong with what she's doing. It's a gut reaction. That said, I think the reference to "Lance Armstrong types" is a bit extreme. It could mean anything from anyone on a bike to an unusually large number of racer-types on the trail.

I'm assuming that "service dog" means that she's physically handicapped, but probably sighted.

That was a bit of a ramble, but it seemed important to clarify where she's coming from, and that might temper her words, or our reactions a little bit, but after some thought, I got a better grasp of her frustration.

Dismount and walk past?djg
Nov 9, 2003 5:31 PM
Well, I guess we'd have to race walk if we were moving in the same direction as the pedestrian (maybe not with our elderly correspondent)--otherwise it would be tough to pass (seems so futile--you pull up behind a pedestrian and stop; as you dismount the pedestrian starts to pull away; you start walking but cannot reel the pedestrian in to pass her, both because she has gapped you as you dismounted and because you are clomping around in road shoes; now you are getting dropped and scuffing up the carbon fiber weave on the bottom of your shoes, so you get back on the bike, catch up to the pedestrian, and start the cycle all over again).

It's better during commuting hours; especially now that the weather is turning a bit chilly. When there are lots of folks out you see all kinds. Common sense would suggest that cyclists slow down a bit, pay more attention, and prepare to deal with interruptions. It would also suggest that pedestrians stay towards the right edge of the path and pay some attention to faster moving traffic. Sometimes common sense seems more common than other times. I'm often surprised by how well some MUTS can work, even on weekends, even when the weather is nice and there's a fair number of folks about. But it seems inevitable that I'll see at least one cyclist and one non-cyclist do something screwy and once in a while the whole scene just seems miserable.
re: Bikers Need to Respect Pedestrians [?]chbarr
Nov 10, 2003 6:16 AM
I agree that some respect needs to be given to pedestrians. Passing cautiously, not scaring people, etc, is important.

At the same time, it is a MULTI-USE trail. Though cyclist ultimately yeild to pedestrians, if everyone follows the rules, there should be no problem.

For example, everyone should travel on the right side of the trail, avoid taking up the whole width of the trail, and be aware of what is going on. Too often, I see people on the wrong side of the trail for their direction of movement, or walking in the dead center of the trail. Perhaps they need to stop to futz with something (a stroller, or a jacket, or something, or to talk to someone). They stop IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAIL.

The worst, in my opinion, are those who think that, because they are on a MUT, they can turn their brain off. Jogging, walking or riding along, they are talking on a cell phone, or have headphones on, and can't hear what's going on around them. Despite a call of "on your left," they continue as though they heard nothing. They weave into the lane, and shoot you a dirty look when you pass.

I'm not saying there aren't rude riders out there, and we all can't do a better job of sharing the trail. However, EVERYONE needs to work towards that. It should start with everyone understanding the rules of the trail. Just because it says "bikes yeild to pedestrians" doesn't give the pedestrian license to do whatever they feel like, and we have to adapt.

(On bells vs. saying something: calling out something provides additional information (what to expect), plus, I don't have to move my hands off safety equipment (brakes), regardless of speed).
re: Bikers Need to Respect Pedestrians [?]MShaw
Nov 10, 2003 12:59 PM
I haven't ridden the specific section of MUT that the lady in the article was complaining about, but I have ridden a bunch of other MUTs in the DC area.

The trails I've ridden on are about one narrow street lane wide. Split that into two makes for a narrow lane each way for pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, etc. to co-exist. If you get a dog on a leash that's more than 2-3' long, you're at the completely opposite side of the trail. If the dog's leash been run over, it means that the dog's somewhere other than right next to the owner.

I know that if I see headphones on a pedestrian, I don't usually bother with calling out, etc. 99% of the time they don't hear me. I make sure that I go extra wide around them just in case. I've had joggers do 180 degree turns right in front of me on the WOD, so I'm very careful when on a MUT.

Speaking of which. I'd much rather ride in traffic than on a MUT. Riding in traffic's much safer! At least the cars usually react in the usual way. Pedestrians on a MUT have their brains turned off 'cause there's no traffic...

Since perception is reality we need to be careful as cyclists to make sure that we take care to avoid pedestrians when on MUTs. The perception that the guys that ride the MUTs are "Lance Armstrong wannabes" can be somewhat true from a pedestrian's standpoint, but from ours we're going slowly and carefully. Unfortunately, I've also seen a bunch of people that usually aren't "cyclists," but are people riding bicycles almost run people over in order to maintain their average speed, or to go faster on this commute than they did yesterday, or whatever. Unfortunately, we're all painted with the same brush.

I don't know what we can do except self-police, and even that is probably not going to help much... The people I've seen running people over are unrepentent when I've confronted them.

I'm done rambling. Anyone have any other ideas?