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Multi-use trails, and stupidity-per-mile(14 posts)

Multi-use trails, and stupidity-per-milePmbH
Jan 15, 2004 4:42 PM
I did a 47 mile ride last weekend, of which 3 miles of it were on a multi-use trail. Over the course of that three miles, I counted every act of stupidity (people on the wrong side, people letting their dog on the extend-o-leash run across the middle of the trail, people passing on the wrong side, etc). I counded 13 acts of stupidity in three miles, giving a stupidity-per-mile factor of 4.3 for this particular trail.

Has anyone else had similar experiences on multi-use trails?
Yes, I come to expect stupidity on the MTU just like I expectbimini
Jan 15, 2004 6:33 PM
on the road. But at least the stupidity there is less likely to kill you. Just keep your eyes open and hands on the brakes. And be careful, half the folks on the MTU think that they should go to the left side of the trail when you say on the left from behind. That or they have a headset on with the noise turned up so loud they do not hear you until you are past. It to the p[oint I just don't say anything anymore, just hop the bike off the trail for a few yards till I'm past and then hop it back on without missing a beat.
ooh ooh, how 'bout cross-path-frisbee!! Such a pleasure. (nm)RemmingtonShowdown
Jan 15, 2004 6:45 PM
Oh sure...spluti
Jan 15, 2004 7:27 PM
in my jurisdiction a "legal" leash is six feet. If I ever have an accident because of a reel leash I'll raise hell.
My favorite is 4 fat butts across the trail.
Oh well, the speed limit is also 15 mph. I'm sorry but I can't even get to my aerobic rate at 15 mph. I'm guilty too, unless I stay off the MUT when I'm training.
re: Multi-use trails, and stupidity-per-mileMShaw
Jan 16, 2004 8:26 AM
You should see some of the things I've seen on the WOD when I lived in the DC area. Its enough to make you cringe.

I decided a long time ago that I'd rather ride on the streets and deal with the cars (that behave in a more or less rational way) than the idiots that turn off their brains the minute they step on a MUT. My best guess is that since there's no "traffic" that they think it is "safe" to ignore common sense and pay attention.

I've seen cyclists doing stupid things: riding side by side around blind corners, etc. I've seen people riding bikes (NOT cyclists, there's a difference) doing stupid things. I've seen joggers/walkers pulling u-turns right in front of me without looking, etc. Heck, I've even been guilty of being stupid at least once.

Those kids, dogs, idiots make MUTs dangerous!

MUTs have their time & placetazdag
Jan 16, 2004 8:46 AM
In my commute, which is the only time I ride on MUTs, the trail is empty from 6:00-7:00AM, so I ride about 6 miles on it. Keeps me off the heavy commute road and has nice scenery. In the evening, I ride it maybe 1 mile just to get around a spot of nasty road (curvey, no shoulder, 50 mph traffic). I expect to encounter all sorts of stupidity and ride slowly when anywhere near other people. It sure is better than getting creamed by a car.

If you're riding a MUT expecting to ride at training pace, you're riding in the wrong place. At the right time and with the right temperment, MUTs are a god-send.
And the "M.U." in MUT stands for WHAT?Cory
Jan 16, 2004 8:53 AM
The key is in the name: Multi-Use. They're not cycling tracks, and we can't expect the dogwalker or casual rider whose taxes paid for the things to stay out of our way just because we're Serious Cyclists. Learn to live with reality or ride somewhere else.
The "M.U." stands for "Mentally Unhinged" --Gregory Taylor
Jan 16, 2004 12:51 PM
Which is what you will become if you try to use these things for "serious" rides during peak times. It doesn't work. Don't even try.

Granted, these things can be dangerous even for the casual rider. Idiots abound, and I'd be safer riding on the Beltway than do a even a casual ride on the Mt. Vernon Bike Trail on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Good point!!gtscottie
Jan 16, 2004 2:36 PM
Nothing is more irritating than when I am out with my daughter on a MUT enjoying a slow but fun ride when some idiot Lance wanna be races by calls "ON YOUR LEFT" 1/2 a second before he/she passes and then turns around and gives you a dirty look as they clip your coat sleeve on the way by. Then your daughter looks at you and asks if you are like that when you are on your road bike.

You just gently reply "No dear that person is an a$$ and he thinks that because he paid lots of money for his go fast bike he can act like that"
My favorite incident....asphalt assault
Jan 16, 2004 9:40 AM
I was rolling along at about 15mph and came up behind a jogger on the right side of the trail. I called "on your left". She INSTANTLY made a HARD left turn into my path! If it were'nt for my lightening fast reflexes (read:luck)...I woulda' nailed her.

My sister in-law (bless her heart) rides a comfort bike on a MUT near her home. She tells me that she thinks it's "rude" when cyclists say "on your left" to pass. I asked her what she wants us to say???

I'm to a point where I think it's safer to pass silently, they're less likely to do something stupid it seems.
"passing on your left" works well for me (nm)innergel
Jan 16, 2004 1:41 PM
I like it when I go thru a marked road crossing whereFez
Jan 16, 2004 10:09 AM
I like it when I thru a marked road crossing where the trail users have the right of way and some other person starts motioning to traffic to go ahead without any regard of others on the trail.

Lets just say I go thru those crossings slowly and try to monitor everyone on the trail as well as every car.

Unfortunately, I have to use a small stretch of the trail during my commute.
Commute hours aren't too bad...JFR
Jan 16, 2004 12:46 PM
...but on a Saturday or Sunday you can expect way more uneducated/rude/stupid users. There are certainly a number of variables that will contribute to the stupidity/mile factor (neighboring population, season, time of day, etc.). And if last weekend your area saw some unseasonably good weather, there is no doubt that trail usage was higher than normal and that "sharing the MUT" skills were rusty.

I've been commuting on the American River Bike Trail in Sacramento since May (~2,500 miles worth) and absolutely love it... largely for it's miles and miles of cross-street free pavement, devoid of stop signs/signals and cars. I can't imagine trading it for street riding with uneducated/rude/stupid humans operating autos.

When I started riding on the MUT I discovered early on that my Avg. Speed and training zone was less important that exercising some risk management (i.e. slowing down, swinging wide) when passing other trail users. And believe me, I like to go fast. Sometimes, when user traffic is high (summer evenings), it can be a little frustrating... but oh well, that's life.

Asphalt Assault mentioned that his sister-in-law thinks that "on your left" is rude (I have encountered like minded users), and as we all know it can cause some users to move left. So I'm selective as to whom I give notice to and how far in advance. Generally I'll just give notice to other cyclists, while all others will be given a wide berth and a speed check. When I encounter a user, or group of users, that are making safe passage questionable, they'll get an "on your left" way in advance and then a "thanks" or "good morning/afternoon" as I actually pass (primarily as another audible warning of my passing).

Bottom line is that I'd rather T-bone joe-jogger, than get taken out by driving-miss-daisy.
Common sensecoonass
Jan 17, 2004 6:10 AM
will tell you that whatever outing the individuals are participating in, whether it's walking the dog, roller-blading, jogging, whatever, their mind is occupied on their activity. If you announce your presence (i.e.,"Biker on the left") a couple of times well in advance, you shouldn't have any trouble. We have about 250 miles of paved, 7' wide trails in our immediate area which we make good use of, especially after work: no cars, dogs, etc. If people are passing on the wrong side, that would indicate to me that the pedestrian(?) is on the wrong side of the path and the passer had no other option...Loud announcments are generally returned with a "Thank you" and have saved my butt a couple of times when a 'walker' decided to make a u-turn in the pathway ...