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Old 05-03-10, 10:56 AM   #1
Bicycle Guy
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Bike Path Friendly Rules

There are several bike/walking/wheel chair paths near my home. One is about 8.9 miles long, and was converted from a railroad line.

I have been considering riding the rail-trail which is paved. This would be my first "path" ride.

Are there any simple rules I should follow to be safe, and friendly to walkers/runners? My average speed is only about 8 MPH. I would appreciate your thoughts both from a riders perspective, and from any who are also walkers and runners.

Thanks
Ken
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Old 05-03-10, 11:15 AM   #2
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Stick to the right of the path except when passing.
Use a bell and/or call out when passing.
Use a mirror so you know if faster riders are approaching from behind. Even though they should warn you of a pass, don't assume they will.
Don't pass if there's oncoming traffic, unless your MUP is one of those really wide ones.
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Old 05-03-10, 11:16 AM   #3
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On the American River Bike Trail here in Sacramento, CA we have a sign with images that reads: bikes yield to horses and pedestrians; pedestrians yield to horses. Pedestrians should walk against the flow of traffic to see what is approaching them, but many people forget that...I don't let it bother me when on the trail. I look out for slower riders/pedestrians and every once in a while I'll look over my shoulder and see who is behind me...and move to the right, if it is safe to do so and give them a bit more room to pass.

I pass when it is safe to do so and usually not at corners. I will yell out on "On your left" or "Good Morning on your left" or some version of that when passing. I also have a bell and I use that on the trail, that will typically get people to move over so you have room to pass and don't startle them as a you come up behind them.

A friendly nod a smile makes the time out more enjoyable. Use good judgment and you should be okay.
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Old 05-03-10, 11:55 AM   #4
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I normally clear my throat about 30 yard before announcing "on your left". I have really scared some people by saying "on your left" in a normal tone and I don't want to give anyone a heart attack. Most people turn around when I clear my throat. I must be loud.
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Old 05-03-10, 12:03 PM   #5
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Air horn from a semi. They wont misunderstand that noise

Be respectful, slow down before passing pedestrians, and ALWAYS pull over and STOP for horses. Some horses are easily spooked, and its just safer for everyone if you pull over and stop until they are past

I find a lot of pedestrians walking side by side will split, one going to both sides of the trail, when a cyclist approaches. Ignorance... but that is when its a real good idea to just take it slow, and say hi, or nice day or something kind as you pedal past

MUP are meant for everyone to be on, so play nice and share the path. This will ensure it is there and is kept up for years to come
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Old 05-03-10, 12:03 PM   #6
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We have lots of paths in my area 100’s of miles of them so I was told by my LBS if you’re riding faster than 20KPH then move off the path if it's at all busy. I always try to say Good morning and thank you etc when I pass people.
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Old 05-03-10, 01:09 PM   #7
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I will yell out on "On your left"
I have found that about 50% of people will move over to their left when you say this. "Passing" and if necessary "stay to your right" works almost every time (IMO). A "good morning" or friendly greeting as you pass goes a long way toward friendly bike/hiker relations.

For horses, do not try and pass until the (horse) rider motions you through. A fast bike can spook the horse & injure the horse, rider or you.
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Old 05-03-10, 01:18 PM   #8
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The posts here are exactly what I needed to know.

Horses?-never even thought about horses on the path.

Thanks so much for the information!!!

Ken
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Old 05-03-10, 01:34 PM   #9
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I always keep a very close eye on dogs and toddlers when I pass them...you never know where they might dart.
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Old 05-03-10, 02:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
I have found that about 50% of people will move over to their left when you say this. "Passing" and if necessary "stay to your right" works almost every time (IMO). A "good morning" or friendly greeting as you pass goes a long way toward friendly bike/hiker relations.
Agree. I generally yell "Behind you" if people are blocking the path. I wait for them to move in whatever direction they want, then ride by. If someone does move aside, I always wave and say "Thanks" or "Thank you" as I go by.

I have to admit, if people are well to one side of the path or another and not walking with kids/dogs I'll often pass without saying anything. Even "behind you" often leads to unpredictable behavior: I've had more than one person move right, then think twice and dodge left... directly into my path! If they don't know you're approaching, their behavior is often much more predictable. I try to leave at least 5-6 feet between the bike and anyone I'm passing unannounced, so hopefully they aren't too startled.
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Old 05-03-10, 10:06 PM   #11
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Besides announcing my presence I usually slow down to not much faster than they are walking when passing pedestrians.
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Old 05-03-10, 10:39 PM   #12
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In our area they allow dogs, the rules are posted-

Dogs yield to bikes, bikes to pedestrians. Bikes pass on the left side and always call the pass.
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Old 05-04-10, 10:01 AM   #13
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Watch for dog leashes, especially evenings or mornings. Dog will be on one side of the path. Owner on the other.
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Old 05-04-10, 10:19 AM   #14
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I "yield" to virtually everything I come upon, whether they are supposed to yield to me or not. I just assume they won't. Guess it comes from riding motorcycles where you plan for EVERYONE to pull out in front of you.
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Old 05-04-10, 10:30 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
I always wave and say "Thanks" or "Thank you" as I go by.
+1

It's not even about politeness and rudeness; the joggers and walkers are out there enjoying some fresh air and some exercise, too.
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Old 05-04-10, 03:57 PM   #16
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Use a horn, not a bell. Headphoned peds and joggers won't hear your voice or a bell.
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Old 05-05-10, 01:16 AM   #17
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I usually just coast for a sec or two. My Campy Athena 9 sp hub is loud enough that most people hear it. If people are lallygagging I'll clear my throat or slow down and say excuse me. I've noticed that only fairly experienced bikers understand "on your left" quickly enough to get to the right side.
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Old 05-05-10, 06:05 AM   #18
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I'm still trying to understand why so many people look over their Right shoulder when I call "On your Left".

In addition to toddlers and small dogs, watch out for squirrels. In my experience about 1 in 10 will decide to try to run through your front wheel. They won't make it. This never works out well for the squirrel, and rarely works out well for the cyclist. (Google "squirrel in spokes")
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Old 05-05-10, 03:19 PM   #19
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I never ever use the words "left or "right" too many people will react to the word and move that way.
I just call "Passing Please" and let them figure out the correct move.
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Old 05-05-10, 05:37 PM   #20
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Something I find myself calling out is "Look up!" as I encounter bike riders looking everywhere but straight ahead and cruising to a head on collision with (usually) a larger and faster moving cyclist.
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Old 05-05-10, 05:57 PM   #21
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I call out on your left only if they are blocking the path and early enough that I can see where they go. I typically won't say anything if there is adequate room to pass.
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Old 05-06-10, 10:43 PM   #22
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I ride on the American River trail quite a bit and quit saying "on your left" as this seems to cause confusion. Nowadays I simply say "coming by you" or "coming through" and then say hi or thanks as I go by. Always be weary of families walking/riding with kids or walking with dogs on a leash because they (kids and dogs) will zig zag across the trail at any given time.

Also, I feel being extra friendly makes up for the guys who think they own the bike trail. Early spring seems to bring out the families so I'm just aware of it and try to be aware and prepared.
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