Fifty Plus (50+) - Passing.....
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07-31-06, 07:28 AM
Okay, I ride daily on the roads and bikepaths. I yell out "passing on the left" and have gotten many mixed reactions. Some people freeze up in the middle of the bikepath not knowing what to do. Others jump into the passing left lane right in front of you. Some turn around in amazement at seeing a bike. I realize that many people are regulars on the bike trail and know how to react, however, many others only visit occasionally and don't have the sense to stay on the right side of the trail. Dog walkers are another story I won't get into, but will only say they should not be allowed on the paved bike trails at all.
So last week I go for a walk unexpectantly on a paved bike path. Haven't done this in years. A few minutes into my walk I hear a faint bell, and think to myself for a split second what is that, and before I know it a bike passed by me. Couple of minutes later a different sounding bell and another biker passes. Me, and avid cyclist was taken by surprise by both bikers. I don't have a bell on my bike. Most of the bikers passing me gave no warning. To my surprise maybe 20-30% used a bell. NOBODY yelled out passing or bike approaching or gave any verbal warning!!! About 15 bikes passed me on my walk. This was an education experience for me who again bikes every day. I know realize how dangerous it is, even more so, to pass someone on a bike trail.
How do you announce you're passing? What reactions do you get when passing others on an "all purpose trail?"
07-31-06, 07:34 AM
My wife and I both use bells on our trail bikes. People can hear them from a distance, but they don't startle anyone, and they seem to help a lot with getting people to move over, rein in dogs, and gather up kids.
07-31-06, 07:45 AM
I yell, GET THE @$#! OUT OF MY WAY, YOU @##%#@!
If they are adults proceeding predictably in the right lane, I don't warn.
If they are older children, adolescents, or seem to be "wandering" I'll give a bell (if I'm on my hybrid) at some distance and/or "passing on your left" loudly and from a distance. Repeat as necessary as I get closer. I've learned that one warning is sometimes inadequate.
Very young children with or without families I will slow down and yell "beep, beep!". It usually gets both their attention and a smile. Hey, a five year old doesn't know what "on yer left" means.
If I'm looking to hammer (inasmuch as I'm capable of it!) I stay off the MUPs
So far, so good.
The trails in my area are multiuse (walking, jogging, roller blading, cycling) and I also use a bell to anounce my aproach. For the most part using a bell doesn't startle most people using the trail but some it does. I have gotten dirty looks from some users as if I don't belong there.
I loudly announce "On your left", about 20 yards before I pass. This gives them enough time to look over their left shoulder as they wander slightly to the left (which many do), correct themselves and move back toward the right. Despite this, as I mentioned on a post several weeks ago, I've had occassion to brush/bump into at least one runner wearing ear buds.
07-31-06, 08:14 AM
I don't think it hurts to use a little humor. I call out passing on your left which works about 50% of the time.
As I pass I also give a blast from this litlle gadget..
This usually creates some good natured laughter and leaves everyone smiling.
07-31-06, 08:23 AM
I call out "passing on your left" which seems to disorient walkers and runners a little less.
07-31-06, 08:23 AM
I do most of my biking on Rails to Trails. The ones I use are NOT densely populated. Nobody uses a bell here.
The standard is: "Passing on your left."
Of course, kids and some inexperienced people do not react properly. The burden is on the fast biker to make a safe passing. Normally this is no problem since I see perhaps 10 to 20 people in 50 miles. On a special Holiday, with lots of Family, kids, dogs, etc. it does become a little annoying.
07-31-06, 08:35 AM
I ride on some of the busiest mup's in the country - Mount Vernon Trail, Potomac River Trail, the Mall, Capital Crescent, W&OD.
I use a bell. Gets attention better than shouting. Seldom get an adult moving the wrong way. If there is enough room to pass and they keep on a predictable path, I can pass without too much trouble.
When I walk on those same paths, I hate it when a bike zips by with no warning.
I say "Coming up on your left" in a pleasant tone of voice, loud enough to reasonably be heard but not yelling. So far that's worked well for me--doesn't seem to cause confused pedestrians to move to their left, at least. I time it so if they move left I can still brake or avoid them, but have only needed that safety net a few times. I slow way down for children, regardless. You can never tell what they're going to do and it's better to be safe than sorry. Plus, it's a great opportunity to practice sprinting to get back up to speed after you pass them. :D
The best is when I pass someone who acknowledges hearing the warning with a hand gesture or elbow flick, without turning. Then I know there won't be any last second turning into my path--I really appreciate that little gesture on their part, and when I'm the jogger or the cyclist being passed, I reciprocate. If a cyclist gives me warning, I give a hand gesture acknowledgement (no, not with my bird finger! :p ) or a verbal "Got it" or "okay", without turning around to look.
I'm lucky in that my local MUP only has a parking lot/trailhead every 15-20 miles or so. The families/joggers/picnickers are mostly found within a mile or so of a trailhead; the rest of the trail is cyclists with a few long-distance runners and serious rollerbladers.
07-31-06, 10:58 AM
With me it's situational.
Bike riders and roller bladers who look like they know what they're doing get an "On your left."
Bike riders who look a little hinky and anybody with kids, I slow down to near their pace and converse with them as I creep past.
I alert walkers as I approach them. If they move over I give them a plan "A". If they act like they didn't hear, they get a plan "B".
07-31-06, 11:17 AM
I always use a bell.
I never say "Passing on your left" or "On your left." I find that to be quite confusing to the ped - they have to figure out in their brain what is left, and then they have to figure out - should THEY go left, or is the bicyclist going left? By that time, it is already over.
If I say anything I just say "passing." Since most everyone passes on the left, this seems to work fine.
Last week, I had a sweet young thing (participating in a teen-age triathlon training program) state "Passing on your right" as she went zooming by on my left!
07-31-06, 04:04 PM
Have tried a bell and it doesn't work- Walkers do not hear it. Tried a horn on the Tandem and the only reaction I got was "You ought to get a bell". Always call out Bike Behind from a respectable distance but more and more people don't hear me. All they can hear is whatever they get through their ear pieces from the I- Pod.
I try not to use the MUP's as much as possible now as it is too expensive on front wheels, but Walkers and family groups and dog walkers have as much right on these paths as we do. Just wish they would realise that cyclists also have the same rights.
07-31-06, 04:16 PM
Many "civilians" and others not initiated just don't react to "on your left" other than to be startled. I called that out once and the person thought he was supposed to step to the left. Generally I don't ride bike trails frequented by noncyclists, kids in strollers, or 6mph cruisers because there are just too many slowdowns and hovering on the brakes-- or just going 6mph to be cautious. Better to head for the roads where I can be a vehicle more than a "walker on wheels".
Reminds me of shouting "Fore" on a golf course..... most people look up and risk getting hit in the face rather than the thicker back of their skull.
07-31-06, 05:36 PM
A bell seems to startle people less.....
07-31-06, 06:44 PM
I don't ride on MUPs, but I do come across runners often on my dark morning ride. I ride right by a large YMCA and groups of runners originate there and run on the streets. I usually call out loudly "on your left", with that and my flashing front strobe as well as my helmet light the runners realize something is coming even though they may not know what and so a lane is cleared.
I had one event a couple of months ago where I came up on a group of about 20 runners covering the entire street. I started out calling I would be on the left, then changed my mind as the group didn't seem to understand I shouted, "coming up the middle". This actually worked very well, the runners could figure out which side of the road was closet and head towards it leaving the middle to me.
It's funny that at this early hour, (5:30am) runners and cyclist's also feel they own the road for a change and are just all over it. I am as guilty of this as anyone on any of the side roads.
07-31-06, 08:25 PM
The trail I ride is divided in half with a painted line. If everyone would simply stay on their half of the trail to the right many of these problems would be avoided. Walkers walk on the left, dogs on leases on the wrong side, groups of people walking or jogging take the whole trail, baby carriages two abreast blocking the whole trail.....I've seen every stupid irresponsible action possible almost every time I use the trails. It the people who think they own the whole trail that cause the problems. And I can't tell what stupid move the idiot in front of me will try as I approach from the front or behind. They create the problem, yet they want me to go out of my way to accomodate them ....and sometimes their
dog because they say I'm in a hurry. I might as well walk my bike to keep them happy. Even if I rang a bell every 500 feet they wouldn't be polite enough to allow me to pass in safety.
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