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  1. #1
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    Brooklyn Bridge - we were both wrong

    This past Sunday, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. From past experience, I expected that it would be crowded with pedestrians and cyclists on a sunny Sunday afternoon. That it is under construction only adds to the congestion.

    I am an avid photographer. During previous visits, my photographc kit was a bit limited, hence, the reason for this visit (I had with me two still cameras and one camcorder.

    I had walked from the Brooklyn side to the center of the bridge and had for the most part completed shooting those shots for which I had come.

    On my "decent" to the NY side, I came upon another scene that invoked me to raise camera to eye.

    In the process, I strayed a few steps into the bike lane (there is a line painted on the "path" designating pedestrian/bike).

    I hear someone saying "watch, watch" and then I am brushed by a cyclist.

    "Watch, watch" say I, and the cyclist brakes so that he can respond.

    I continue, "next time, try using your brakes." to which cyclist responds, "you were in the bike lane, sir," and then, he continued on his way.

    Further contemplation leads me to the conclusion that we were both wrong. I should not have strayed into the bike lane. He should have used his brakes to avoid contacting me.

    I am of the notion that, just because a lane is marked for bikes, does not grant cyclists unfettered right of way to travel that bridge at speed amongst pedestrians (and I am not accusing this cyclist of speeding - I didn't observe his speed, but assume it was more than reasonably slow and in line with what would be appropriate for the conditions).

    Had I been quicker of mind, I might have queeried the cyclist as to whether he would justify being struck behind by a car on a street where he had strayed from the bike lane.

    Is it justifiable for a cyclist or auto driver to strike a pedestrian who is "J" walking?

    I have always believed that it is incumbent upon any vehicle operator to avoid collisions in these circumstances, legality of the pedestrian's actions notwithstanding.

    I concede that I should have been more careful so as not to venture into the bike lane.

    But, I continue to maintain that the cyclist should not have struck me. I fully support his right to confront me on my "infraction," but he was wrong to have struck me.

    Now, just to put this all into perspective, the strike was of a minor nature. Neither I nor my equipment was damaged.

    The cyclist was well-mannered, and so was I.

    I regret that i did not more fully engage him. I think that a more complete discussion might have benefited both of us.

    I suspect that the cyclist is a good guy, probably a safe cyclist.

    He likely has no clue that i am an avid cyclist, as well.

    All in all, none of this is a big deal.

    But, I think it a perfect example of our collective attitude as cyclists. I have read more than one thread here discussing how out of it pedestrians on a path can be.

    My distraction was not ear buds, it was my camera.

    When I ride, I feel it is my responsiblity to avoid collision whenever I overtake someone in front of me, no matter their mode of transportaion at the time.

    To the "offending" cyclist, feel free to cut me up for crossing into "your" lane, but, next time, also take care not to contact those whom you are passing.

    Caruso

  2. #2
    Senior Member Essex's Avatar
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    The bridge is dicey. Especially during commute hours. Stay on your side. Crossing the line over into the bike lane is tempting fate and there is little space available for cycling, or pedestrians.

    Both of you were courteous - let it go.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post
    queeried the cyclist


    =========

    The cyclist knows (should know) there are pedestrians and inattentive photographers/tourists) on the bridge (especially, if they have used the route multiple times).

    Yes, you are both wrong but the cyclist has a larger responsibility (operating a faster vehicle). It's common that collisions between people are the result of errors made by both people. The second person has a responsibility to react to try to avoid a collision.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post
    Is it justifiable for a cyclist or auto driver to strike a pedestrian who is "J" walking?
    The law doesn't allow you to choose to run somebody over. Everybody has a requirement/responsibility to work at avoiding collisions (with people/cars/things).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-16-12 at 09:58 AM.

  4. #4
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    You were wrong, stop trying to find blame where it doesn't exist & get over it.

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Is it justifiable for a cyclist or auto driver to strike a pedestrian who is "J" walking?
    No. It is not, but if said cyclist or motorist does not have time to respond to the errant ped, there may be little choice.

    So one has to ask, is it justifiable for a ped to walk about blindly unaware of their surroundings?

  6. #6
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    You were in the wrong. Period. He was polite, and you should be grateful.

    You say you strayed "a few steps" into the bike lane--that lane is barely a few steps wide--with bikes going in both directions! I take that to mean you were at least in the middle of the lane. If so, it would be almost impossible for the guy to totally avoid brushing you without risking going into the pedestrian lane or hitting another bike.

    People like you are why I added a mile to my commute and started taking the Manhattan Bridge.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    No. It is not, but if said cyclist or motorist does not have time to respond to the errant ped, there may be little choice.

    So one has to ask, is it justifiable for a ped to walk about blindly unaware of their surroundings?
    Each party has a separate and distinct requirement/duty to work to avoid collisions. You can only control your actions; you can't control the other person's actions.

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Each party has a separate and distinct requirement/duty to work to avoid collisions. You can only control your actions; you can't control the other person's actions.
    Exactly.

  9. #9
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    I'm amazed that you wrote a big post about it. You were in the wrong, he probably avoided a collision as much as he could, and then you responded with a smarmy "try using your brakes" comment. You're lucky he was civil about it.

  10. #10
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    I'm amazed that you wrote a big post about it. You were in the wrong, he probably avoided a collision as much as he could, and then you responded with a smarmy "try using your brakes" comment. You're lucky he was civil about it.
    +1. I can't believe the OP, as a cyclist responded like that! Next time, try "Sorry! I wasn't paying attention! My mistake!"
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  11. #11
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    It's best to watch out for ones self.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    It's best to watch out for ones self.
    No one is suggesting otherwise.

    There are two "selves".

  13. #13
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    OP, I am with the others. You go all clueless pedestrian. You do not even know how fast or how much the cyclist braked to just brush you rather than lay you flat out on the ground. You go rude to the cyclist and the cyclist is nothing but polite to you. And then you have the nerve to whine on a bicycle forum about how half the fault is on the cyclist, sorry you own 100% of the fault on this one.
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  14. #14
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    For reference, here is a photo of the brooklyn bridge lanes:



    It is a very narrow lane for 2 way traffic. Bikes are expected to stay on their side, peds on theirs. It is clearly marked. Clueless peds with cameras have nearly caused me to crash many times. It was ONLY the fact that I was very alert that saved both of us. I suspect from this story that OP, even if he is a cyclist, is just a clueless a ped as the others. Because this lane is so iffy, I switched to the Manhattan Bridge which physically separates peds and bikes and has a much wider lane.
    Last edited by lostarchitect; 10-16-12 at 02:09 PM. Reason: typo
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  15. #15
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    I think a while back a cyclist got into an accident and went over the railing onto traffic & died after getting hit by vehicular traffic. FWIW, if I was on that bridge and didn't have time to stop before hitting a pedestrian that stepped out in front of me, I would not try very hard to swerve out of the way. The OP is lucky he was only brushed up against.

  16. #16
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    You are in New York...you were lucky to have even been warned and/or acknowledged. Right or wrong? Fuggedaboutit!
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Dude you just wandered out into a lane of traffic without looking. You seriously don't know who's in the wrong here?

    Of course the cyclist has a responsibility to avoid hitting stupid people. That doesn't absolve the people of their responsibility to not be stupid, however.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    Dude you just wandered out into a lane of traffic without looking. You seriously don't know who's in the wrong here?
    It looks like you have trouble reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post
    Brooklyn Bridge - we were both wrong
    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post
    Further contemplation leads me to the conclusion that we were both wrong. I should not have strayed into the bike lane.
    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post
    I concede that I should have been more careful so as not to venture into the bike lane.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi View Post

    ...I have always believed that it is incumbent upon any vehicle operator to avoid collisions in these circumstances, legality of the pedestrian's actions notwithstanding.

    ...

    Caruso
    This is not exactly on point since you are talking about NY and this is (only?) relevant in OR. Last year, I was walking/talking with a local judge and this topic came up. She told me that OR had rescinded it's law regarding a motorist's responsibility to avoid a collision. I wasn't sure I believed her until the recent sentencing of a motorist who ran over a local cyclist. He had two prior collisions in which he was not held accountable in which he acknowledged that he could have taken action to avoid the collisions but did not since he knew he had the right-of-way. Apparently, he had no legal requirement to avoid the wrecks. (For the record, his attorney in the wreck where he killed the cyclist successfully pleaded for a reduced sentence because this killer has a documented history of brain damage.)

    Now, as far as a moral obligation, that's a no-brainer. Every decent human being should strive to avoid harming others. I've had people momentarily lose their brains which has forced me to take extreme evasive actions while driving 80,000 pounds down the road. Fortunately, I found ways to buy them enough time to find their brains and we all lived to tell about it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    It looks like you have trouble reading.
    Read more carefully and you may change your tune. The cyclist in question managed to most narrowly avoid collision, only brushing the jaywalker who wants to ascribe fault to the cyclist.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    Read more carefully and you may change your tune. The cyclist in question managed to most narrowly avoid collision, only brushing the jaywalker who wants to ascribe fault to the cyclist.
    Not exactly. He wants to ascribe partial fault to the cyclist (he clearly has assumed some fault for himself).

    Both parties certainly are responsible to try to avoid collisions.

    We really have no idea whether the cyclist really did anything (or enough) to avoid the collision (so your "managed to" has no real foundation).

    Cyclists should certainly be aware that the Brooklyn Bridge is rife with careless pedestrians and ride in a manner consistent with that awareness.

    Certainly, the OP didn't do anything (or enough), by his own admission.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-16-12 at 07:48 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    It looks like you have trouble reading.
    You may want to look up what the word 'both' means if you're going to be talking other's reading abilities.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Essex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    For reference, here is a photo of the brooklyn bridge lanes:



    Because this lane is so iffy, I switched to the Manhattan Bridge which physically separates peds and bikes and has a much wider lane.
    I'd like to add - as shown in the picture they are doing ongoing construction on the bridge. There are metal walls which restrict the size of the lanes even more to the point where it is more or less single track. It's to the point where it is patently uncomfortable to cycle on the bridge for fear of collision, or other acts of 'bozonity' by pedestrians crossing into the bike lane.

  24. #24
    Senior Member EsoxLucius's Avatar
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    Just watch out for that damn gecko!

  25. #25
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EsoxLucius View Post
    Just watch out for that damn gecko!
    "Oh, come off it, mate!"
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