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Old 05-30-14, 01:22 PM   #1
JimmyBB
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Avoiding Pedestrians

Hi everyone,
I joined this forum, because I am both a biker and a pedestrian (long-distance walking etc.). I would like to mention something that seems obvious but that many bikers overlook: the timing of your warning (bell or shout) to pedestrians in the path ahead of you. I know some elderly people (slow reaction times) who have been knocked down by bicyclists, and I have also experienced some near misses and brushes with speeding bikers as well.
If you are biking at 20 mph (not a very fast pace), you are covering about 30 feet per second. That means if you shout or ring your warning from 30 feet behind the pedestrian in front of you, s/he has one second to process what you shouted (or dinged) and react to it. If you do it 15 feet (3 bike lengths, shall we say?) from behind the pedestrian, s/he will have one half of a second to respond.
Neither of these is really enough time, but too many bikers wait until they are actually passing before saying, "On your left" or ringing a bell. This is more likely to startle the pedestrians than give them warning, causing them to jump into your path or move erratically in front of you.
Not the intended outcome.
I suggest bikers start ringing their bells or shouting their warnings from AT LEAST 50 feet away, especially if they are traveling faster than 20mph. It sounds like a PITA to do that for every single pedestrian, but if you cannot be bothered, don't complain about pedestrians in "your way."
Cheers!
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Old 05-30-14, 01:28 PM   #2
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Hi everyone,
I joined this forum, because I am both a biker and a pedestrian (long-distance walking etc.). I would like to mention something that seems obvious but that many bikers overlook: the timing of your warning (bell or shout) to pedestrians in the path ahead of you. I know some elderly people (slow reaction times) who have been knocked down by bicyclists, and I have also experienced some near misses and brushes with speeding bikers as well.
If you are biking at 20 mph (not a very fast pace), you are covering about 30 feet per second. That means if you shout or ring your warning from 30 feet behind the pedestrian in front of you, s/he has one second to process what you shouted (or dinged) and react to it. If you do it 15 feet (3 bike lengths, shall we say?) from behind the pedestrian, s/he will have one half of a second to respond.
Neither of these is really enough time, but too many bikers wait until they are actually passing before saying, "On your left" or ringing a bell. This is more likely to startle the pedestrians than give them warning, causing them to jump into your path or move erratically in front of you.
Not the intended outcome.
I suggest bikers start ringing their bells or shouting their warnings from AT LEAST 50 feet away, especially if they are traveling faster than 20mph. It sounds like a PITA to do that for every single pedestrian, but if you cannot be bothered, don't complain about pedestrians in "your way."
Cheers!
Interesting.. so you joined a cycling site and came to the Advocacy and Safety section to express an opinion and declare we can't complain unless we follow your made up rules? I think you would be much better served coming here and absorbing the knowledge that is freely given and perhaps gain some understanding about your perceived problem other then your own personal opinions.. you seem to refer to paths but you don't say what kind, MUP's? Bike Paths? Do they have separate lanes for different directions of traffic? Not everyone has a bell either.. not to mention and this is obvious you haven't been around here long, so you don't know of the major complaints of the earbud crowd, or the rude pedestrian crowd.. both of which can/will remain in your path. That said, 20mph is not a realistic speed for a MUP assuming that's the path you refer to.. so the demographic you wished to chastise you most likely won't even find in this subforum.. and I assure you, they don't give a rats behind about your opinion.
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Old 05-30-14, 01:36 PM   #3
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Thank you for your "polite" response. I deleted the not complaining part.
Cheers!
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Old 05-30-14, 01:46 PM   #4
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Thank you for your "polite" response. I deleted the not complaining part.
Cheers!
I assure you it was quite polite compared to my initial thoughts in response to your post. I really did mean the post constructively though, trying to get you up to speed here. I really just want to get across that you're not reaching your "target audience" here, this is where safety minded people discuss and debate their beliefs and some times end up in rather large arguments.

I hope you can see why I pointed out the things I did to you in response to your opinion?
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Old 05-30-14, 02:06 PM   #5
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Hi everyone,
I joined this forum, because I am both a biker and a pedestrian (long-distance walking etc.). I would like to mention something that seems obvious but that many bikers overlook: the timing of your warning (bell or shout) to pedestrians in the path ahead of you. I know some elderly people (slow reaction times) who have been knocked down by bicyclists, and I have also experienced some near misses and brushes with speeding bikers as well.
If you are biking at 20 mph (not a very fast pace), you are covering about 30 feet per second. That means if you shout or ring your warning from 30 feet behind the pedestrian in front of you, s/he has one second to process what you shouted (or dinged) and react to it. If you do it 15 feet (3 bike lengths, shall we say?) from behind the pedestrian, s/he will have one half of a second to respond.
Neither of these is really enough time, but too many bikers wait until they are actually passing before saying, "On your left" or ringing a bell. This is more likely to startle the pedestrians than give them warning, causing them to jump into your path or move erratically in front of you.
Not the intended outcome.
I suggest bikers start ringing their bells or shouting their warnings from AT LEAST 50 feet away, especially if they are traveling faster than 20mph. It sounds like a PITA to do that for every single pedestrian, but if you cannot be bothered, don't complain about pedestrians in "your way."
Cheers!
Nice suggestion... now can you get the peds to stop wearing headphones and talking to one another and on cell phones so they can hear the tiny voices and bells from 50 feet away? Or should cyclists just use airhorns and be done with it?
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Old 05-30-14, 02:13 PM   #6
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Nice suggestion... now can you get the peds to stop wearing headphones and talking to one another and on cell phones so they can hear the tiny voices and bells from 50 feet away? Or should cyclists just use airhorns and be done with it?
You're a good person to ask, what's the frequency of events like this thread where someone joins up specifically to tell the forum base at large to tell us all we must operate differently according to the parameters of their personal beliefs founded or unfounded?
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Old 05-30-14, 02:35 PM   #7
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Right or wrong here is my opinion. I ride a MUP weekly @ 20 mph+, it is a old rail line asphalt paved, about 8' wide, and most of it is in a very rural area. I do not know how far it is from me to pedestrians, but there is time for me to give a warning twice and they have time to respond, about 25-30% of the pedestrians I come up on traveling this MUP, do not respond to my warnings. Without fail, those who do not respond, when I get to them they have ear buds in place. I do not slow unless they are walking aimlessly down the middle of the path like this clown was a couple of weeks ago, ear buds in place, dog on a leash wondering also. I called out, was at a virtual crawl when I got there, and he still nearly jumped out of his skin.
The dog going in all directions at the end of it's leash is another peev of mine. I walk my dog, it is on a leash, and it is by my side when we walk.
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Old 05-30-14, 02:38 PM   #8
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You're a good person to ask, what's the frequency of events like this thread where someone joins up specifically to tell the forum base at large to tell us all we must operate differently according to the parameters of their personal beliefs founded or unfounded?
Not sure... seems like it really isn't all that often... what does happen at least once a week though is the bot that creates a new account to give us a link to some live feed soccer.
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Old 05-30-14, 02:53 PM   #9
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Not sure... seems like it really isn't all that often... what does happen at least once a week though is the bot that creates a new account to give us a link to some live feed soccer.
I liked this one where the guy created an account to ask about buying used phones online.

Anyone has bought used phone online?
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Old 05-30-14, 03:10 PM   #10
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If you are worried about them moving suddenly towards you when you sound the bell (like a moth towards a flame), maybe you should growl sharply at them so they instinctively move away.
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Old 05-30-14, 06:05 PM   #11
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I walk quite a bit and about twenty miles of my walking each week is on bike paths. I never have any problem with being buzzed by cyclists. Perhaps it's because I don't wander down the middle of the road. I stay to the edge and prefer to move off into the grass when it's there and has been mowed recently enough that I can see any dog feces that might be present. When my wife is with me, we look behind us regularly and are always single-file when overtaken.

I also ride along these same bike paths a bit on my way out/in since I live next to the main bike path in town. The only exclamations of annoyance I ever hear from the pedestrians I pass come from women who are walking three abreast, often with dogs. I give them fair warning, but I only slow down for children (for kids I'll stop and walk if necessary) and when passing would put me in the path of oncoming cyclists. If people want to hog eight of the ten feet of roadway and not pay attention, they shouldn't complain when someone passes within a foot or so.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:00 PM   #12
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I walk quite a bit and about twenty miles of my walking each week is on bike paths. I never have any problem with being buzzed by cyclists. Perhaps it's because I don't wander down the middle of the road. I stay to the edge and prefer to move off into the grass when it's there and has been mowed recently enough that I can see any dog feces that might be present. When my wife is with me, we look behind us regularly and are always single-file when overtaken.

I also ride along these same bike paths a bit on my way out/in since I live next to the main bike path in town. The only exclamations of annoyance I ever hear from the pedestrians I pass come from women who are walking three abreast, often with dogs. I give them fair warning, but I only slow down for children (for kids I'll stop and walk if necessary) and when passing would put me in the path of oncoming cyclists. If people want to hog eight of the ten feet of roadway and not pay attention, they shouldn't complain when someone passes within a foot or so.
I don't know about the US but here in Singapore MOST pedestrians do not acknowledge or react to a bell, regardless of how its rang. Granted, my Brompton bell is far from an airhorn, but in most cases when we're not besieged by ambient traffic noise, they still can't, or won't react. They just continue walking firmly ensconced in whatever thoughts they were harboring.

This is not something I've done once or twice and came to the conclusion - it's many dozens of times, from the elderly to the young, more often than not without any visible earphones/distractions attached.

Maybe there's just something about the human brain that seems naturally disposed to ignore sharp, frantic bell-ringing in the background.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:07 PM   #13
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I don't know about the US but here in Singapore MOST pedestrians do not acknowledge or react to a bell, regardless of how its rang. Granted, my Brompton bell is far from an airhorn, but in most cases when we're not besieged by ambient traffic noise, they still can't, or won't react. They just continue walking firmly ensconced in whatever thoughts they were harboring.

This is not something I've done once or twice and came to the conclusion - it's many dozens of times, from the elderly to the young, more often than not without any visible earphones/distractions attached.

Maybe there's just something about the human brain that seems naturally disposed to ignore sharp, frantic bell-ringing in the background.
I was recently chatting with a gentleman who had spent most of the past decade living in China. In describing the road situation, he claimed that many motorists in China feel that they lose face if they actually look before entering intersections rather than just proceeding into them as though everyone else should stay out of their way. Perhaps some of this same thing is going on with respect to not responding to bells on the paths in Singapore. Responding might imply some sort of lesser status on the part of the pedestrian.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:10 PM   #14
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WTF is so wrong with suggesting that bicyclists give pedestrians on MUPs the same courtesy they want form cars on the road.

Are we looking at trickle down obnoxiousness?

How often here on BF do we have folks arguing for the "Take the Lane" approach and it's just plain tough on any cager that has to lose some time if he can't pass? Or arguments in favor of presumed liability where drivers would be presumed to be responsible if they hit a bicyclist.

So we have a newbie posting a request for comparable courtesy, patience, and planning when they pass pedestrians, and he's roundly flamed.

I agree that most of us don't need the lecture from a newbie, but IMO that doesn't excuse the reactions I've read here.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:31 PM   #15
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WTF is so wrong with suggesting that bicyclists give pedestrians on MUPs the same courtesy they want form cars on the road.

Are we looking at trickle down obnoxiousness?

How often here on BF do we have folks arguing for the "Take the Lane" approach and it's just plain tough on any cager that has to lose some time if he can't pass? Or arguments in favor of presumed liability where drivers would be presumed to be responsible if they hit a bicyclist.

So we have a newbie posting a request for comparable courtesy, patience, and planning when they pass pedestrians, and he's roundly flamed.

I agree that most of us don't need the lecture from a newbie, but IMO that doesn't excuse the reactions I've read here.
While at the heart of things I agree with your first sentence... consider for a moment the parallel scenario some here are proposing when motorists meet cyclists... that when a motorist approaches you from behind, they can yell or make some other sound, and you have to move out of the way.

Frankly my approach to peds on the MUP is to do exactly what I want motorists to do with me on the road... approach carefully and pass with care, slowing down as needed to ensure safe passing. To prevent startling, I tend to simply say good day or hello or cyclist passing... Motor vehicles tend to make noise, and thus rarely need to alert me when they pass while I cycle.

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Old 05-30-14, 07:40 PM   #16
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While at the heart of things I agree with your first sentence... consider for a moment the parallel scenerio you are proposing for cyclists... that when a motorist approaches you from behind, they can yell or make some other sound, and you have to move out of the way.

Frankly my approach to peds on the MUP is to do exactly what I want motorists to do with me on the road...
You and I agree on this, but you turned my scenario on it's head. I wasn't proposing that it's OK for motorists to treat us the way some would treat pedestrians. I was suggesting that we treat pedestrians the way we wish motorists treat us.

I'm arguing for consistency. Either accept a world where the passing vehicle has rights of way and shouldn't be delayed, or one where the passing vehicle yield to and pass slower vehicles (or people) they come upon safely and courteously.

BTW- I was also suggesting that, right or wrong, we might give a newbie here a nicer welcome.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:42 PM   #17
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Yeah um, most pedestrians in NYC have their earbuds in and can't hear anything in a 3 feet radius of them let alone something coming up from behind them 50 feet away. Nor can they see anything cause that text really can't wait for them to look up as they jaywalk in front of a bike heading right for them. Here is a great freaking idea lower your volume on your earbuds, stay out of the bike lane, and look the **** up from your smartphone every once in awhile. 90% of my run ins with pedestrians would be completely avoidable if pedestrians paid some mother ****ing attention, crossed at crosswalks only, and yield to bikes as they jaywalked. Oh right, on MUP does the family of four really need to take up the whole walk way? DO they not get walking to the right just like they were driving in cars? Oh yeah if they are not wearing earbuds, mos tof the time they ignore my bell. If I yell sometimes they yell "Shut up!" Sometimes they are even ruder! More often they simply ignore me and do whatever they feel like.

So yeah thanks for your insights. Why don't you pass some of mine on to your fellow walkers?
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Old 05-30-14, 07:45 PM   #18
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You and I agree on this, but you turned my scenario on it's head. I wasn't proposing that it's OK for motorists to treat us the way some would treat pedestrians. I was suggesting that we treat pedestrians the way we wish motorists treat us.

I'm arguing for consistency. Either accept a world where the passing vehicle has rights of way and shouldn't be delayed, or one where the passing vehicle yield to and pass slower vehicles (or people) they come upon safely and courteously.

BTW- I was also suggesting that, right or wrong, we might give a newbie here a nicer welcome.
Sorry, I went back and corrected my statement... I realized you were not making that statement, others were.

I tend to go along with the concept where the passing vehicle yield to and pass slower vehicles (or people) they come upon safely and courteously.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:46 PM   #19
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Yeah um, most pedestrians in NYC have their earbuds in and can't hear anything in a 3 feet radius of them let alone something coming up from behind them 50 feet away. Nor can they see anything cause that text really can't wait for them to look up as they jaywalk in front of a bike heading right for them. Here is a great freaking idea lower your volume on your earbuds, stay out of the bike lane, and look the **** up from your smartphone every once in awhile. 90% of my run ins with pedestrians would be completely avoidable if pedestrians paid some mother ****ing attention, crossed at crosswalks only, and yield to bikes as they jaywalked. Oh right, on MUP does the family of four really need to take up the whole walk way? DO they not get walking to the right just like they were driving in cars? Oh yeah if they are not wearing earbuds, mos tof the time they ignore my bell. If I yell sometimes they yell "Shut up!" Sometimes they are even ruder! More often they simply ignore me and do whatever they feel like.

So yeah thanks for your insights. Why don't you pass some of mine on to your fellow walkers?
You know, substitute cyclist for pedestrian, and this is exactly the kind of rant you might see in a motorist forum.

IN any case, the OP wasn't talking about jaywalkers on NYC streets, but people strolling on the MUP.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:51 PM   #20
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WTF is so wrong with suggesting that bicyclists give pedestrians on MUPs the same courtesy they want form cars on the road?
My main problem with pedestrians on the MUP is the "Hands across the path for peace" technique otherwise known as "Joey's Promenade Principal of Pedestrian Equalization" which states:

"On any given path where people tend to walk, groups of individuals will spread out equidistant from each other in an effort to block the entire width of said path UNLESS there is an insufficient number of individuals to physically block the entire width, in which case, the individuals will mindlessly weave about from side to side in order to be effective , or they will enlist the services of one or more of their tethered livestock to render the path impassable by anyone overtaking them."


Otherwise, I don't have a big problem on MUPs.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:56 PM   #21
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My main problem with pedestrians on the MUP is the "Hands across the path for peace" technique otherwise known as "Joey's Promenade Principal of Pedestrian Equalization" which states: .
Well said and true all too often. But it's an MUP and they're just taking the lane, the same way I see cyclists do.

I've long given up using "passing on your right (or left)" because folks don't get and many will move into my path rather than away from it. So now I call out at a fair distance "bicycle behind you" and amazingly they part like the Red Sea.
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Old 05-30-14, 07:57 PM   #22
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You know, substitute cyclist for pedestrian, and this is exactly the kind of rant you might see in a motorist forum.

IN any case, the OP wasn't talking about jaywalkers on NYC streets, but people strolling on the MUP.
In either case in my experience that pedestrians tend to be closer. And yes it's a rant but a rant can, and is in this case, still be true. If you reread my post, especially since you're from the NYC area, you'll see everything I described happens daily.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:11 PM   #23
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In either case in my experience that pedestrians tend to be closer. And yes it's a rant but a rant can, and is in this case, still be true. If you reread my post, especially since you're from the NYC area, you'll see everything I described happens daily.
Yes, I've been riding in NYC and dancing around pedestrians since 1967. They've never been that much of an issue to me because I'll use the whole road, and ride for daylight. These days, pedestrians are one of a dozen or so reasons I don't ride in the bike lanes, and totally avoid all avenues with bike lanes on them.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:36 PM   #24
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When I ride on a MUP that has pedestrians or families with small children, I will yell "Coming up behind you" and slow down. Pedestrians will usually move to one side or the other and parents will corral their children, giving me plenty of room to pass.
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Old 05-30-14, 10:09 PM   #25
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Just for reference, I assume people who post in this subforum wait and pass safely on MUPs which is why I felt the OP isn't going to hit their "target audience" here.
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