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Old 08-18-07, 04:20 PM   #1
MNBiker
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Pedestrians on bike-only path are violating city ordinance

Around Minneapolis city lakes it is quite common to have two sets of paths: one for pedestrians and one for bikes. Bikes tend to stay off the pedestrian path, but very commonly pedestrians, runners, strollers, roller bladers, etc. are on the bike paths. Why, I'm not sure. Maybe to avoid the more congested ped path on weekends, maybe if they are running it's to avoid having to pass walkers, or ...?

Anyway, the following article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune brought my attention to the fact that those pedestrians on the bike-only path are breaking city law. I also noticed that police say they rarely enforce it. I have noticed how much of a hazard the peds are on the bike paths. Especially when many of them seem oblivious to the bikers and don't seem to be concerned about blocking the path for the bikers -- often being several peds stretched out across the path. socializing as they walk.

Do others of you deal with this kind of situation? I am also wondering if anything can practically be done (with little effort on my part) to raise awareness among the walkers of the city ordinance and the dangers caused by blocking the path.

The link to the article is: http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1369633.html

Walkers on wrong path cause bicyclist to take a tumble

Colleague's crash proves wisdom of following the rules when it comes to biking and walking paths.

Roadguy Jim Foti

Last update: August 18, 2007 – 4:59 PM

Who would have thought that Baghdad could be less dangerous than the paths around Lake Calhoun?

Sharon Schmickle, one of Roadguy's most esteemed colleagues, was embedded with the Marines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but last month a careless Minneapolis pedestrian caused her more harm than any insurgent.

Sharon was biking along at Calhoun one day when she noticed that, up ahead, three women were walking on the bicycle path, even though a separate pedestrian path was just a few steps away.

As she approached them from behind, she realized that the easiest way to get around them was on the right, so she called out her intention.

Just as she was passing, a little dog who was with the women darted across her path. Sharon and her bike ran into the dog's leash and crashed onto the asphalt.

As she lay there in pain, the women stopped briefly, then rushed away.

Fortunately, a park worker who was watering nearby trees heard the crash and came to Sharon's aid. Unfortunately, he couldn't simultaneously help her and pursue the pedestrians, who went unpunished. Sharon wound up with cracked ribs, and her helmet took such a beating that police advised her to get a new one.

Despite what you might see around the lakes and on the parkways, it's a violation of Minneapolis code to walk or jog on a bike path "except where such pathway is also a designated pedestrian pathway." The converse is true; bikes and skaters are banned from designated park walking paths (though it's legal to bike on most sidewalks outside business districts).

Sgt. Brian Rogers of the Minneapolis Park Police was kind enough to fax a copy of the rules to Roadguy. "I wouldn't say we write a lot of tickets for that," he said, but officers are aware of the danger and tend to use their public-address systems to direct people onto the correct path.

Sharon, meanwhile, is on the path to recovery and is itching to get back to kayaking and other activities curtailed by the crash. She's not pleased to have missed out on six weeks of the summer biking season, but she already has that new helmet.

Jim Foti • 612-673-4491

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Old 08-18-07, 04:31 PM   #2
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I agree with you. The peds on the bike paths are extremely dangerous in Mpls. I'd say I have a near miss at least 3 times a week due to them.
However, I disagree with your assertion that rollerbladers should be on the ped. path. They belong on the bike paths. I just wish that they didn't feel the need to take up the entire path. When I rollerblade I stay to the right so people can pass.
The other issue is the 10mph speed limit on the bike paths. While it's easy for me to point the finger and accuse pedestrians of endangering myself, the reality is that I rarely go below 15mph on those paths, so who am I to flaunt the law about?
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Old 08-18-07, 05:24 PM   #3
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madfiNch,

I didn't mean to assert that roller bladers should be on the pedestrian path, I was just observing that they are often on the bike path. With their higher speed I agree with you that they should probably be on the bike paths. I also wish they didn't need to take up as much width as they do.

I also have a hard time going much under 15 miles per hour on a path when I'm biking so I also have some reforming to do.
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Old 08-18-07, 06:16 PM   #4
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Wow, it's weird that they have a 10 MPH speed limit on a path where there supposedly shouldn't be any pedestrians.
I certainly wouldn't bother using a path with a 10 MPH speed limit unless it took a lot of distance off my route.
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Old 08-18-07, 06:34 PM   #5
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the only problem I have with (most) roller bladers is.. they favor personal music listening devices, which means they are OBLIVIOUS to my BELL when I ring it to alert them that i am passing
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Old 08-18-07, 06:54 PM   #6
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I have 2 things to say,

first, I'd love to actually have more than 2 miles of an MUP, let alone a cyclist only path.

they do have ROW, so that pretty much that gives them right to anything.

what you could do? hit a ped a week, I bet they stay out of your way then
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Old 08-18-07, 09:35 PM   #7
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300 decibel wigwag alarm siren gets those effing idiots off the bikepaths. I sound it when i'm about 2 feet from their backsides. They get the message.
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Old 08-19-07, 08:20 AM   #8
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first, I'd love to actually have more than 2 miles of an MUP, let alone a cyclist only path.
Why, when any of these paths get swarmed with people who are going slower than you are?

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they do have ROW, so that pretty much that gives them right to anything.
As the article quoted by OP clearly states, no, they don't have ROW. They don't have the right to be there at all.

God, do I hate MUPs.
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Old 08-19-07, 08:55 AM   #9
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If you think that's bad, try riding South on PCH in North San Diego County on a weekend morning. The walkers and joggers are taking the lane side by side in many places, going against traffic and forcing cyclists into the #1 lane. It's a trip.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:27 AM   #10
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300 decibel wigwag alarm siren gets those effing idiots off the bikepaths. I sound it when i'm about 2 feet from their backsides. They get the message.
Wonder what your feelings would be if an automobile came up behind you and committed the same act? Courteous actions gain you more than malicious acts of stupidity.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:31 AM   #11
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Wonder what your feelings would be if an automobile came up behind you and committed the same act? Courteous actions gain you more than malicious acts of stupidity.
every day in the city my friend, ambulances, fire trucks, cars, trucks, scooters. One learns to tune it right out.

sometimes you have to stop being a ll nice and courteous and WAKE people up when they are on the bike only lanes. Its for their own safety really.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:56 AM   #12
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Wonder what your feelings would be if an automobile came up behind you and committed the same act? Courteous actions gain you more than malicious acts of stupidity.
Let me get this straight. You've been reading this same stuff since 2003 and you haven't burnt out yet? My god you are a better man than me. What's your secret? I've had to break away for a while, come back to take a peak... and it's starts all over again. I swear, you must be Gandhi or something. I must have reached peak "ability to care anymore" last spring. And here you are still punching since 2003. Yep, cyclists treat pedestrians exactly the same way as cyclists say cagers treat them. Keep the faith brother.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:16 AM   #13
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I use to live on that lake, it I NEVER took the bike path--- always the road. The road has a posted speed limit of 25, IIRC- so it is no big deal to simply take the lane. The bike path has a slow posted speed, and is full of slow moving bikers enjoying the view, bladers, etc... I always regarded it as a dangerous place to take the road bike.
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Old 08-19-07, 11:56 AM   #14
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Wonder what your feelings would be if an automobile came up behind you and committed the same act? Courteous actions gain you more than malicious acts of stupidity.
Surely the subject is pedestrians on bike-only paths? If you were riding your bike on a freeway where bikes are banned, would you expect drivers to be courteous?

Agree that courtesy often works, but, when all else fails, fear can be a useful learning tool
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Old 08-19-07, 12:23 PM   #15
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man I wish we had bike-only paths. all our paths are shared here.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:32 PM   #16
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Do others of you deal with this kind of situation? I am also wondering if anything can practically be done (with little effort on my part) to raise awareness among the walkers of the city ordinance and the dangers caused by blocking the path.
[/I]
We're lucky to have the kind of path and trail system we have here in the Minneapolis metro. Some paths are just too crowded to use (around the lakes) but on the commuter paths I think the only way to raise awareness is to take it to the people you see out there.

When faced with pedestrians /runners on the bike only path I look at them and tell them as I pass "Hey, you're on the wrong path" and point out the ped path. Even though it may not raise their awareness of the safety issues they are causing, they do get the message that this biker at least does not appreciate their disregard for the system that has been put in place. I figure the more they hear it the less likely they are to be there. That's my theory anyway...

Patrolling of the paths is unlikely to happen on a municipal level, which is fine, so I think we as users have a responsibility to do it ourselves. I help people in need, I report grafitti and maintenence issues whenever I notice them. I figure it's all part of taking care of what we have, because as others have pointed out, we're lucky to have it. I have one of the best urban bike commutes I can imagine, it's dear to me, and I want to protect it.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:58 AM   #17
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300 decibel wigwag alarm siren gets those effing idiots off the bikepaths. I sound it when i'm about 2 feet from their backsides. They get the message.

Beat me to it - but it's only 120 decibels:

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Old 08-20-07, 06:50 AM   #18
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sometimes you have to stop being a ll nice and courteous and WAKE people up when they are on the bike only lanes. Its for their own safety really.
I had some woman in a car tell me the same thing in almost the exact same words when I asked her why she buzzed me. Just change bike lanes with roads and you've got it.

I don't see much difference here. "We need to teach those peds a lesson with obnoxious horns or buzzing" sounds eerily familiar.

Az
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Old 08-20-07, 07:21 AM   #19
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I don't usually have problems with peds on the bike path at the lakes. There are so many bikers there it doesn't take long for someone unfamiliar with the setup to figure it out.

On my commute along the west river road, however, I get walkers on the bike only path all the time. Especially on the Stone Arch bridge. Like someone else said, I'm speeding all the time anyway (10mph ), so I can't really complain about the legality of it.

The other day I had to go around two joggers in the on street bike lane. Now THAT made me mad.
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Old 08-20-07, 07:50 AM   #20
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Time to hit these pedestrians with $1000 fines for violating city bylaws. Step onto a bike path and get caught, $1000 fine. do it again, $2000. The only thing these two legged sheep understand is their pocketbook. Hit em hard in the pocketbook.
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Old 08-20-07, 07:57 AM   #21
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I had some woman in a car tell me the same thing in almost the exact same words when I asked her why she buzzed me. Just change bike lanes with roads and you've got it.

I don't see much difference here. "We need to teach those peds a lesson with obnoxious horns or buzzing" sounds eerily familiar.

Az
+1

Same idea. Different source and target.
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Old 08-20-07, 08:28 AM   #22
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300 decibel wigwag alarm siren gets those effing idiots off the bikepaths. I sound it when i'm about 2 feet from their backsides. They get the message.
I don't think that 300dB is possible, it would kill you and everyone around you.

A rock concert is 120db and the space shuttle engine is 200db at a distance of 10 meters. So 300dB would be 10 times louder than the space shuttle launching. You'd be dead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel#Acoustics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB_drag_racing

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Old 08-20-07, 08:35 AM   #23
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I had some woman in a car tell me the same thing in almost the exact same words when I asked her why she buzzed me. Just change bike lanes with roads and you've got it.

I don't see much difference here.
Oh, I think there was probably at least one. When you got buzzed by the woman in the car, were you on a cars-only road? As in, legally posted for motor vehicles only, or with "no bikes"?
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Old 08-20-07, 08:38 AM   #24
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I had some woman in a car tell me the same thing in almost the exact same words when I asked her why she buzzed me. Just change bike lanes with roads and you've got it.

I don't see much difference here. "We need to teach those peds a lesson with obnoxious horns or buzzing" sounds eerily familiar.

Az
Except that bicycles have the RIGHT to be on the roads, while the peds do not have the right to be on this path.

^^ beat me to it
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Old 08-20-07, 09:56 AM   #25
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I don't think that 300dB is possible, it would kill you and everyone around you.

A rock concert is 120db and the space shuttle engine is 200db at a distance of 10 meters. So 300dB would be 10 times louder than the space shuttle launching. You'd be dead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel#Acoustics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB_drag_racing
Close...dB is a log scale with each 10dB equaling a factor of 10 increase. 300 dB would be 10^18 times more intense than the 120dB rock concert. So, yeah, a lot.
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