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  1. #1
    Junior Member pranavnegandhi's Avatar
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    Close brush with pedestrians

    Pedestrians are nincompoops (that's the technical term - nincompoops).

    Yesterday was positively the worst day I've had on the roads since I took up commuting to work by bicycle. I had near misses with three pedestrians, though thankfully I managed to dodge them all by a hairsbreadth. The incidents were all similar - pedestrians jaywalking, came into my path, jumped back and and forth, and left me with the tough question of deciding which way to turn to dodge them. If they'd at least have kept walking or stayed still I'd easily glide past them without any problems. But their hopping around put them as well as myself into a dangerous situation.

    The first one, a middle aged lady wanted to cross the streets. Using designated zebra crossings is not enforced or expected where I stay. She couldn't possibly have missed me coming along - it was broad daylight and I was riding down a straight road. In spite of that, she came into my way and only jumped back at the last instant.

    The second happened on my way back home in the evening. Again, the roads were well lit and the family of four had to have seen me. The son, about 12 years old, left the family and began to cross. All would've been okay had the mother not decided to shout and call him back. He turned around just as I was whizzing past behind him and barely escaped being hit by the handlebars to his middle.

    The last incident occurred because of 2 certified idiots at a signal. One of them kept walking straight while the other couldn't quite make up his mind and jumped back and forth from the road to the divider. Having just had a close brush with the kid, I was in no mood to go through this again and stopped. It was better to miss the green light than to deal with jerks like this.

    I complain to my wife often about how little respect some car drivers have for cyclists in our city. Yesterday I added pedestrians to the list too. I practice safety to the hilt (sparing the helmet part) when riding down the roads, and only have to thank that for having survived this long.

  2. #2
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    So the woman was in the cross walk and you are pissed off because she didn't yield the right of way to you? Sounds like your attitude is, "Those d@mn pedestrians should get off the road, roads are for bicycles!"

    Ever hear your argument before? Just substitute the word cyclist for pedestrian above.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member pranavnegandhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    So the woman was in the cross walk and you are pissed off because she didn't yield the right of way to you? Sounds like your attitude is, "Those d@mn pedestrians should get off the road, roads are for bicycles!"

    Ever hear your argument before? Just substitute the word cyclist for pedestrian above.
    I don't think I was very clear in my previous post. She was NOT at a crosswalk. She was as far as could be from a crosswalk. But then, it is not a legal requirement here for pedestrians to stay off roads. It's a legacy we have lived with for generations without questioning. And I am not complaining about her coming on to the road like that. We're used to dodging pedestrians who jump out from behind cars. What made the situation a potential problem was that she kept going back and forth, so I couldn't decide which way to turn and dodge her.

  4. #4
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    I dont know, but after three close calls maybe you should try slowing down a little.

    just a thought
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  5. #5
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    So she was legally permitted to cross at that location? An unmarked crosswalk at any intersection or crossing mid-block between two non signalized (or a signalized and non-signalized) intersections is usually legal, the later however the pedestrian should yield.

    In the case of a marked or unmarked crosswalk you need to slow/stop and yield - law usually requires extra duties of drivers to ensure the safety of pedestrians. This also means not intimidating them by causing them to be unsure if you are stopping or not.

    For example in AZ:
    " 28-794. Drivers to exercise due care
    Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter every driver of a vehicle shall:
    1. Exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian on any roadway.
    2. Give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.
    3. Exercise proper precaution on observing a child or a confused or incapacitated person on a roadway"


    edit: I only now (2hr later) notice you are in India and presumably cycling there. Obviously the laws may be different that the US centric ones I referred to. In any case regardless of where I was cycling I would generally follow concept to yield to pedestrians and do what it takes as a driver to watch for their safety and comfort.

    Al
    Last edited by noisebeam; 01-15-08 at 10:32 AM.

  6. #6
    HenryL HenryL's Avatar
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    So you buzz pedestrians, don't wear an helmet and everyone else is a nincompoop.......glad I don't live near you.

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    if you post
    every time you have an incident

    you will fill up the internets
    --
    harden up

  8. #8
    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    Maybe it's time to move to a country with property rights.
    "When you are chewing the bars at the business end of a 90 mile road race you really dont care what gear you have hanging from your bike so long as it works."
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  9. #9
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Maybe he should put a down payment on one of those cheap cars that's supposed to be coming out...

    This morning, I had a not-quite-a-near-miss with a jogger. I had my headlight on, and she saw me just in the nick of time... actually, we both saw each other just in the nick of time. She stuttered to a stop, and rather than admonish her or even give her a dirty look, I called out, "It's okay, you're good," and went behind her so that she could get going again.

    I first tried that "You're fine, don't worry" line a few weeks ago as I passed by another pedestrian in a crosswalk, and she responded with a "Thank you." I think that the extra communication really makes a difference. You can't do anything from a car besides honk your horn or wave your hand, but on a bike, you can still be within vocal range. And, if you choose the right words, you can tell people that you acknowledge their presence, and you can properly tell them your intentions.

  10. #10
    livin' the nightmare syn0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    Maybe he should put a down payment on one of those cheap cars that's supposed to be coming out...
    You mean the French compressed air-powered cars that are going to be built under license or whatever? Those are kinda nifty, actually. Probably a real bike-killer though because they're quiet.

  11. #11
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by syn0n View Post
    You mean the French compressed air-powered cars that are going to be built under license or whatever? Those are kinda nifty, actually. Probably a real bike-killer though because they're quiet.
    Nah, I meant the ones due to be introduced in India in hopes of getting families off of scooters (and, in true stereotypical form, putting five families into each car ).

  12. #12
    livin' the nightmare syn0n's Avatar
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    Must be this then:



    The Tata Motors "Peoples Car". It has an 623cc aluminum inline two which makes an amazing 33hp. Supposed to retail for $2500 new.

  13. #13
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by syn0n View Post
    Must be this then:

    The Tata Motors "Peoples Car". It has an 623cc aluminum inline two which makes an amazing 33hp. Supposed to retail for $2500 new.
    Yeah, that's it -- it was mentioned in the Living Car Free section in a thread titled "Car Free dealt a SERIOUS blow!!" or something like that.

    Ah, this thread:
    Car-Free dealt a HUGE blow

  14. #14
    Junior Member pranavnegandhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wino Ryder View Post
    I dont know, but after three close calls maybe you should try slowing down a little.

    just a thought
    I would be riding at about 15 kmph. Does that seem too fast? Most cyclists here ride around the same pace.

    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    edit: I only now (2hr later) notice you are in India and presumably cycling there. Obviously the laws may be different that the US centric ones I referred to. In any case regardless of where I was cycling I would generally follow concept to yield to pedestrians and do what it takes as a driver to watch for their safety and comfort.
    I agree with this one, but when there's a pedestrian in your way at every step, it becomes difficult to follow this rule. Most drivers have the attitude that if you're walking on the road, then you're automatically responsible for looking out for yourself. I try to be more careful than that, at least.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    Maybe he should put a down payment on one of those cheap cars that's supposed to be coming out...
    And do what? Buzz pedestrians with a car instead of a bike? We already have crowded roads. Making cars accessible to every household is going to make things worse. I think the Tata's should've invested in making a signal system that never breaks down, or a solution to the footpath encroachments.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    I first tried that "You're fine, don't worry" line a few weeks ago as I passed by another pedestrian in a crosswalk, and she responded with a "Thank you." I think that the extra communication really makes a difference. You can't do anything from a car besides honk your horn or wave your hand, but on a bike, you can still be within vocal range. And, if you choose the right words, you can tell people that you acknowledge their presence, and you can properly tell them your intentions.
    I like this one. Will definitely follow it from now on.

    Incidently, the father of the child was quite apologetic about the whole thing. I would've waved back or spoken a few words if I hadn't been so shook up.

    And for those who haven't had a taste of road conditions in India, there's a video available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjrEQaG5jPM which is an accurate depiction of conditions through most of this country. This is what we have to commute in every single day. It makes most other incidents in this forum seem positively tame in comparision.

  15. #15
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pranavnegandhi View Post
    And do what? Buzz pedestrians with a car instead of a bike? We already have crowded roads. Making cars accessible to every household is going to make things worse. I think the Tata's should've invested in making a signal system that never breaks down, or a solution to the footpath encroachments.
    Ah, I see that you've got the same concerns that we've been expressing in that thread over in Living Car-Free specifically about that car.

  16. #16
    njm
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    Quote Originally Posted by pranavnegandhi View Post
    I agree with this one, but when there's a pedestrian in your way at every step, it becomes difficult to follow this rule. Most drivers have the attitude that if you're walking on the road, then you're automatically responsible for looking out for yourself. I try to be more careful than that, at least.
    Pranav, I think the above criticism is a bit much... I feel like agreeing with you: pedestrians are foolish sometimes. I think that a lot of times, pedestrians will just look right through me, or maybe think that as a bicycle, I'm slow. There must be a lot of misjudgments, because it leads to last minute dodges, etc.

    And as you said in your original post, it's the unpredictability on the pedestrians' part that's the problem.

    Have you considered a bell or horn or whistle? A bell is a pretty polite way to tell people to watch out, and you can generally use it to get people to stop and wait (as they'd do for a motor vehicle) BEFORE you're closing down on them, 3 meters away.

  17. #17
    Junior Member pranavnegandhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njm View Post
    Pranav, I think the above criticism is a bit much... I feel like agreeing with you: pedestrians are foolish sometimes. I think that a lot of times, pedestrians will just look right through me, or maybe think that as a bicycle, I'm slow. There must be a lot of misjudgments, because it leads to last minute dodges, etc.

    And as you said in your original post, it's the unpredictability on the pedestrians' part that's the problem.

    Have you considered a bell or horn or whistle? A bell is a pretty polite way to tell people to watch out, and you can generally use it to get people to stop and wait (as they'd do for a motor vehicle) BEFORE you're closing down on them, 3 meters away.
    Thank you.

    I don't currently have a bell, but will get it done right away, considering that at least someone has had success with them.

  18. #18
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pranavnegandhi View Post
    Yesterday was positively the worst day I've had on the roads since I took up commuting to work by bicycle. I had near misses with three pedestrians, though thankfully I managed to dodge them all by a hairsbreadth.
    First, Pranav Negandhi, let me start by welcoming you. I'm glad you decided to post. Hope you keep posting.

    Second, thanks for providing a link to your website. I'm fascinated to learn more about places beyond my own experience here in the US.

    Third, I have to say your English is better than what is usually found on the internet, probably better than mine! That's probably because few of us pay much attention in English class.

    Fourth, it's inevitable that your post will be criticized, since most people here do not have your experience of cycling in India. I've heard it can be quite dicey at times the way people walk and drive. But I've never been to India, so I can only comment on what I've heard.

    Have a great day, and keep us posted on cycling in Mumbai!

    No worries

  19. #19
    Junior Member pranavnegandhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan View Post
    First, Pranav Negandhi, let me start by welcoming you. I'm glad you decided to post. Hope you keep posting

    ....

    Have a great day, and keep us posted on cycling in Mumbai!

    Thank you for your comments.

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