Fifty Plus (50+) - When is an MUP not an MUP?
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03-01-08, 01:46 PM
When uninformed people constantly complain to the local newspaper (letters to the editor) that those dangerous bicyclists shouldn't be on a Multi Use Path; I start to worry. Although I much prefer sharing the road, I often make use of path views, relaxation, conversation, short-cuts, etc.
Should I be concerned?
03-01-08, 01:50 PM
What I really like about the MUPs in my area is they all have signs that say "Bike Path".
Im concerned about my safety on MUPs more than the roads sometimes. There are too
many stupid people not paying attention.
03-01-08, 02:28 PM
A lot of cyclists prefer the open road...but that doesn't mean we don't have a right to be on the MUP too. Too often cyclists give up that right and proclaim that we should all just stick to the road because people on MUPs don't have common sense.
03-01-08, 02:41 PM
A MUP is not for me when dog owners think the M stands for Mutt and they let theirs have free rein of it.
03-01-08, 02:51 PM
MUP stands for use by all, walkers, dog owners, roller bladers and even cell phone talkers. Just as we would like them to stay predictable and to pay attention, they would like for us to slow down in their presence.
A smile........a nod...........This all helps.
Frankly, the behavior I see from cyclists on the MUP is fast, hostile and self centered.
When walkers make a big deal about thanking me for announcing my presence and slowing before passing them I realize that their view of cyclists is not the same as mine. I wonder where they get that impression.
There are more of them than there are of us. Continued access to the MUP is going to take some PR work.
03-01-08, 03:20 PM
Here in the UK- we have a body called Sustrans. For many years they have been promoting and building Paths linking Communities. They have taken the Old Railway lines- Created Safe Cycling routes through Cities and towns and even renovated disused Tracks across country side to promote Physical activity. Although the body started by making cycle paths- these are now generally classed as MUP's.
One of the first to be made was along an old disused railway line running for 11 miles in my local area. I can remember this railway line- Pre-sustrans and it some places it did not exist and for most of it- it was a muddy path. Only suitable for Mountain bikes and hardened ramblers with boots and red knee length socks. Sustrans got hold of the route and it is now a hard surface for the total length and where the track no longer existed- The route was sign posted along residential areas.
It has opened up a "Safe" route for commuters on foot or bike, Made a respectable path for recreational cyclists and given local communities a car free area for family walks on a Sunday. It is truly a Multi Use Path. All we have to do now is get the various users of the MUP to respect each other. That may never be achieved.
03-01-08, 03:55 PM
We have 300+ miles of paved MUP trails in our area and I've never had any problems riding on them. Most cyclist in the area know the mile or two near town will have walkers and skaters so we just slow down in these areas.
I've seen bad behavior from all users on the trails. I don't believe the problem is with any type of user....the problem is with the people who don't show respect or consideration for the other users.
We are almost always met with politeness as we pass walkers on the MUP, especially when we announce we're coming. I don't have a bell so I often say "ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!" and that always gets smiles and "Thank you!" from the pedestrians. I think we must live in a bike-friendly area for the most part because we rarely encounter any rudeness. I try to be polite by saying thank you or hi, waving, or whatever it takes to gain their respect. Even the dog walkers seem conscientious about keeping their dogs out of our way as we pass. I ride the MUP with an even higher awareness than I do on the road.
03-01-08, 06:07 PM
I've lived in several cities where the MUP's were practically unusable on the weekend if you were out to ride any speed fast enough to get a workout. (Yogi Berra would say, "Nobody uses the bike paths any more because they're too crowded."). I ruined a bike once when a very young kid on a big heavy Huffy suddenly darted across the path into my line, and then turned around to look for his parents and started weaving around...I was trying madly to brake and dodge, but he zigged when I zagged and I hit him head on. I went flying into the weeds; he just stood there. Somehow his bike absorbed the crash from my bike but wasn't hurt too badly; I was banged up and my bike frame was totalled; I was just happy he wasn't hurt. I was cautious about MUP's even then, but much more careful after that.
One of the problems w/the MUPs here in Seattle is we get "root heaves;" the roots from plants push up and make lots and lots of nasty bumps in the path. You really have to go slow, even if nobody else is on the path.
Another ongoing controversy here is among bike commuters who annoy each other with their bright headlights pre-dawn or post-sunset. I have headlights that I can adjust so they tilt down when I get on the MUP, but last night I forgot, and kept them aimed up......I was passing another rider going over a bridge and he yelled at me, "Your lights are too f****** bright!"....oops.
03-01-08, 06:28 PM
They call all of them here "Bike Trails" or "Bike Paths." None are called "MUPs." Out here in the countryside, cyclists outnumber walkers by at least 10:1.
03-01-08, 07:18 PM
I live on a "Rails to trails" network that is listed by the State of Connecticut as a Linear Park. In places where there is sufficient parking, walkers probably outnumber bikers 4:1. Fortunately this is confined to a few miles of trail. The rest is so underutalized that its possible to ride as much as 10 miles without encountering anyone else. Well over 3/4 of the cyclists ride in the same locations as the walkers??? From the sides of these trails you can find side trails, dirt roads (power line, fire etc) or just plain pathways (singletrack?) that range from smooth/hard to hilly, sandy, rock infested, muddy or just about any other terrain that you want to try. None of this is paved though.
My experience with paved paths (MUP's, mostly on Cape Cod in tourist country) though is that at certain times of the day, the non biking population is out in full force and speed on the bike has to be held down considerably to avoid accidents. None of the places I ride are designated as "bicycle paths" (and I'm not sure that most bicycle paths are intended to be bicycle only). My wife's riding style is more appropriate to these sorts of trails so when I am riding with her we just sort of loaf along taking our time around the walkers. I am under the impression that many recreational bikers are doing the same thing. Fortunately for me they tend to do it on weekends after 10am.
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