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Old 07-30-07, 06:33 AM   #1
michiganboy
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Bike Path Mayhem

I live next to a really popular rail-trail here and was out walking my dog when I heard some arguing up ahead. My older neighbor was out walking on the path and was into an argument with a roadie that was cruising down the trail at 20mph. My neighbor had yelled at the guy to slow down and an argument ensued.

I stepped in to break up the argument (before it went to fisticuffs) and try and let cooler heads prevail. I tried to explain to my neighbor that the bike has every right to be there and I tried to explain to the cyclist from out of town that this is a family trail full of kids and moms on bikes, rollerbladers, dog walkers, etc. and if he wants to ride that fast he should be on the road. FYI, there are no shortage of great cycling routes right in the area we were.

Anyways, all the guy would say is that he had every right to be there and he could ride as fast as he wanted. I told him he gave a bad name to cyclists everywhere with his attitude and that I wouldn't be surprised if he got his ass kicked by locals.

People like this give us a bad name. Try to set them straight if you run into one.
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Old 07-30-07, 06:59 AM   #2
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While I agree the cyclists' attitude may have been questionable, his point is valid: he has every right to use a BIKE path and to travel at unchecked speeds. There's nothing to suggest he can't. Unfortunately, it is the locals that live near the trail that need to be aware and careful of cyclists. After all, it is a bike path, as you point out. It is not a dog-walking park or a playground and while it may be used by locals as such, it doesn't mean that is what the park is for. Treat it like any road: look both ways and stay away from the path while walking the dog. Your neighbours wouldn't wander aimlessly down the road, nor should they on the path. It is a bike trail. That means bikes will be using it and may be traveling at high rates of speed. Walking along it or stopping on it is almost as foolish as behaving that way on the local streets you suggest he ride on. Asking a cyclist to observe a non-existent speed-limit (and 20 mph isn't that fast anyway) or to go on roads where reaching such speeds may be hazardous is, quite frankly, ridiculous. He's on a BIKE path. That's what they're for. Why not suggest your neighbour walk his dog out on the road? I mean, they're public spaces too and he has every right to them as well. I guess the lesson learned is that there are risks on a bike trail too and that they shouldn't be taken for granted just because they don't get the volume of traffic a road does.
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Old 07-30-07, 07:12 AM   #3
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I suspect the older neighbor was probably being unreasonable. If he stayed to the side of the path there probably wouldn't have been a problem. I have been to TC and there is a bike path that isn't a rail trail that goes through the main part of the city...is this the path? Seems to me it is very narrow and at times congested.
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Old 07-30-07, 07:18 AM   #4
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Is it a BIKE path, is it a MUP, or is it a park sidewalk? What is the thing called?
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Old 07-30-07, 07:22 AM   #5
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It is a recreational trail--not a bike path. It is used by dog walkers (there are leash rules), rollerbladers, runners, bikers, walkers, strollers, etc. I donate money each year to support it so I understand its purpose.

20 MPH is fast when there are families riding along the trail together . The serious bikers around here stay off of this trail or only ride it early in the morning. We understand that weaving through people on a narrow trail at higher speeds can create a dangerous situation.

This guy was from out of town (as most people are this time of year) and I was just trying to help him understand the purpose of the trail.
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Old 07-30-07, 07:23 AM   #6
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Is it a BIKE path, is it a MUP, or is it a park sidewalk? What is the thing called?
Here is a link to the trail. It is a recreational trail

http://www.traversetrails.org/tart-trail.shtml
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Old 07-30-07, 07:24 AM   #7
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I suspect the older neighbor was probably being unreasonable. If he stayed to the side of the path there probably wouldn't have been a problem. I have been to TC and there is a bike path that isn't a rail trail that goes through the main part of the city...is this the path? Seems to me it is very narrow and at times congested.
That is the one. We were a few miles north of downtown though. It does get congested in the summer
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Old 07-30-07, 08:00 AM   #8
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While I agree the cyclists' attitude may have been questionable, his point is valid: he has every right to use a BIKE path and to travel at unchecked speeds. There's nothing to suggest he can't.
Many MUP's have speed limits...my local one has a speed limit of 10 mph for bikes. It's routinely ignored (especially on the more remote stretches where peds are few), but in the congested areas 10 mph is a reasonable limit for bikes. After all, when there are kids and dogs present, excessive speed is dangerous for both the peds and the cyclists.

The cyclist in this confrontation was 100% at fault, and was being a JAB.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:11 AM   #9
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Think of the freeway during rush hour. Sure, the speed limit is 55 (or 60, or 65, etc), but the speed limit isn't always reasonable.

Sure the bike had a right to be there, but at that speed? Probably not.

On the other hand, what was the neighbor trying to accomplish by yelling at the guy?
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Old 07-30-07, 08:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by EnigManiac View Post
While I agree the cyclists' attitude may have been questionable, his point is valid: he has every right to use a BIKE path and to travel at unchecked speeds. There's nothing to suggest he can't. Unfortunately, it is the locals that live near the trail that need to be aware and careful of cyclists. After all, it is a bike path, as you point out. It is not a dog-walking park or a playground and while it may be used by locals as such, it doesn't mean that is what the park is for. Treat it like any road: look both ways and stay away from the path while walking the dog. Your neighbours wouldn't wander aimlessly down the road, nor should they on the path. It is a bike trail. That means bikes will be using it and may be traveling at high rates of speed. Walking along it or stopping on it is almost as foolish as behaving that way on the local streets you suggest he ride on. Asking a cyclist to observe a non-existent speed-limit (and 20 mph isn't that fast anyway) or to go on roads where reaching such speeds may be hazardous is, quite frankly, ridiculous. He's on a BIKE path. That's what they're for. Why not suggest your neighbour walk his dog out on the road? I mean, they're public spaces too and he has every right to them as well. I guess the lesson learned is that there are risks on a bike trail too and that they shouldn't be taken for granted just because they don't get the volume of traffic a road does.
He doesn't have the right to go at an unchecked speed. The rules of the road are that you have to go at a SAFE speed, and if the path is full of peds, who have the right to be there, he has to slow down to a safe speed.

Thats like saying that if there is congestion on a road with a speed limit of 70 mph and the traffic is moving at 50, you have every right to blast around, through, everything at 70 mph.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:26 AM   #11
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Many MUP's have speed limits...my local one has a speed limit of 10 mph for bikes. It's routinely ignored (especially on the more remote stretches where peds are few), but in the congested areas 10 mph is a reasonable limit for bikes. After all, when there are kids and dogs present, excessive speed is dangerous for both the peds and the cyclists.

The cyclist in this confrontation was 100% at fault, and was being a JAB.
The speed limit thing is a good idea. I think I will see if we can get a rule posted on the trail to keep your speed at 10 mph if others are present.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:39 AM   #12
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Adding "If others are present" makes the speed limit meaningless legally. I didn't see anyone when I went around that blind corner. It's either a speed limit or not. 15MPH is more reasonable. I don't go slower that 10 up hills.

All they have to do is any case is remove their computer. I don't know what speed I'm doing. Just kidding, I stick to the road. Trails filled with oblivians are dangerous.

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Old 07-30-07, 11:38 AM   #13
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He doesn't have the right to go at an unchecked speed. The rules of the road are that you have to go at a SAFE speed, and if the path is full of peds, who have the right to be there, he has to slow down to a safe speed.

Thats like saying that if there is congestion on a road with a speed limit of 70 mph and the traffic is moving at 50, you have every right to blast around, through, everything at 70 mph.
The OP and the thread title identified the route as a Bike Path. Now, it has been revealed as a MUP. That's quite different. He misrepresented the purpose of the path. If it were a bike path, as he originally identified it, without a speed limit, and 20mph is a safe speed for the terrain, etc., then yes the cyclist is allowed to travel at whatever speed he can manage safely. It would be the responsibility of non-cyclists to give right-of-way to the cyclist. On a MUP, I would agree that since it is shared by multiple users, any cyclist should exercise caution and restraint. My reply, however, was based on the claim that the trail was a Bike path.

Bikes don't generally have speedometers, after all, so how is any cyclist supposed to guage their speed?

Your analogy makes no sense, incidentally. The OP did not say the path was congested at the time, merely that it is used by moms with strollers and dog-walkers, etc., so you are making the assumption that it was congested. And IF the path was a designated bike path, as he described it originally, dog-walkers and strollers shouldn't be on the path.

Last edited by EnigManiac; 07-30-07 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 07-30-07, 11:42 AM   #14
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I guess I shouldn't have called it a bike path. I have never been on a path that is just for bikes; they have all been shared.
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Old 07-30-07, 11:55 AM   #15
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If paths reserved exclusively for bikes exist...there aren't any that I have ever seen. For example I visted the "bike path" in Grand Haven, MI this weekend and the only folks using it were walkers. It could be used for cycling if the walkers wouldn't take up the whole path. But since the path is narrow and walkers assume ownership bikes use the road. Where are these paths just for bikes EnigManiac?
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Old 07-30-07, 12:15 PM   #16
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Anyone suppose that the cyclist who claims a right to ride as fast as he wants on the MUP also complains about drivers who exceed the speed limit?
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Old 07-30-07, 03:51 PM   #17
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While some paths are designed well for the speeds cyclists often desire, many are not. Typical paved paths in my area of NC are designed as pedestrian facilities, with bicycle/ADA accommodations like ramps and bollard clearances incorporated as an afterthought. Path junctions are often at right angles; limited sight distances indicate no consideration of vehicle design speed.

Cary's official speed limit for MUPs/Greenways is 15 mph. Some sections are unsafe at this speed. Raleigh's path speed limit is 10 mph.
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Old 07-30-07, 04:18 PM   #18
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All they have to do is any case is remove their computer.
That's a funny assumption that anyone who might be exceeding certain speeds has a worthless piece of electronics attached to their bicycle.
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Old 07-30-07, 05:08 PM   #19
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Bikes don't generally have speedometers, after all, so how is any cyclist supposed to guage their speed?
I've yet to see a roadie, especially one intent on blazing down a MUP as if it were the Champe-Elysee during the finals sprint of the TdF, who wasn't outfitted with the latest in high tech data acquisition. These devices are typically capable of displaying current speed.
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Old 07-30-07, 05:25 PM   #20
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i agree

people like this should find another form of recreation to enjoy, the cyclists i know are nice people and people like this cyclist give the rest of us a bad name which closes trails and forms little hate groups
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Old 07-30-07, 06:43 PM   #21
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The MUP here has a speed limit of 22 MPH, my average speed is around 20 MPH.

When passing peds and people like that, there's a great piece of hardware installed on almost every bike called a brake. I found out that it was possible to slow down to have a good passing speed and call me crazy but I use this awesome technique every day now!

Then I release the brake and accelerate to cruise speed. Incredible, eh?
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Old 07-30-07, 07:00 PM   #22
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The MUP here has a speed limit of 22 MPH, my average speed is around 20 MPH.

When passing peds and people like that, there's a great piece of hardware installed on almost every bike called a brake. I found out that it was possible to slow down to have a good passing speed and call me crazy but I use this awesome technique every day now!

Then I release the brake and accelerate to cruise speed. Incredible, eh?
Do you have any video of that?
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Old 07-30-07, 09:59 PM   #23
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Many MUP's have speed limits...my local one has a speed limit of 10 mph for bikes. It's routinely ignored (especially on the more remote stretches where peds are few), but in the congested areas 10 mph is a reasonable limit for bikes. After all, when there are kids and dogs present, excessive speed is dangerous for both the peds and the cyclists.

The cyclist in this confrontation was 100% at fault, and was being a JAB.
+1. On a much-used MUP, it's just stupid for a bicyclist to insist on his perceived "right" to blast through the dogs and young children at whatever speeds he wants. Other users, when they encounter a nasty bicyclist on the MUP, will remember that encounter when they get back into their SUVs and see an innocent bicyclist on the road, minding his business and trying to be responsible.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:15 PM   #24
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All they have to do is any case is remove their computer.
I doubt that would be a useful defense...try telling the cop who pulls you over that your excuse is "my speedometer is broken". He'll likely reply, "Tell it to the judge". The judge, in turn, is likely to tell you that "Ignorance is no defense...Guilty as charged".
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Old 07-30-07, 10:36 PM   #25
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Here is the answer as far as I am concerned:

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=579261

Enjoy. Do not read this while eating or drinking!
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