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Old 06-21-08, 10:16 PM   #1
rae
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Close call on the rail-trail

Has anyone had this happen?

I had to go to over to Dayton, so I took my bike with the idea that on the way home I would detour a tiny bit off I-70 and take a ride on the Prairie Grass Trail. This is a 30 mile stretch of rail-trail that runs through a very rural area from London, OH to Xenia--where it connects with the Little Miami Trail to Cincinnati.

Anyway, I was on the return leg of 10 miles, enjoying how fast I can go on this new bike of mine, down in the drops---had just swerved to the left to avoid a groundhog--and suddenly there is a huge pickup truck pulling onto (across) the path not 10 feet in front of me! He then stopped on the path but fortunately left just enough room behind for me to clear him by inches--I don't believe that I could have stopped in time to avoid a collision, or done so if I hadn't already been to the left side of the trail.

I'm sure he was a farmer cutting across to one of his fields (there was a gated fence where he stopped) & just didn't expect to see a cyclist at 8:45 in the evening--altho I did pass a few more before I finished.

This and other rural rail-trails in central Ohio do cross roads which are well marked, even some field roads, but I've rarely had to wait on traffic. This was a total surprise--no indication of a crossing of any sort. The irony of it being that I ride the trails to avoid cars!
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Old 06-21-08, 11:08 PM   #2
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We have several farmers / fields crossings. I've only seen someone going across one once. But I do pay attention. Just yesterday I heard a tractor in a field and noticed a field crossing coming up, so I slowed down in case they were coming across.

My thoughts were that these farmers probably almost never see anyone on the trails, except on weekends, so they probably don't watch when they go across one.
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Old 06-21-08, 11:13 PM   #3
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BTW - I did 26 miles on a rail-trail on Friday. Didn't see another person on the trail during the entire ride.

A couple of weeks ago, I did 30 miles on a mid-week day and didn't see anyone over the last 28 miles.

So now I've got a streak running of 54 miles on mid-week rail trail rides without passing a single other cyclist, jogger, walker, or dog.

I have seen a lot of people on city MUPs and on weekend rail trail rides.
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Old 06-21-08, 11:20 PM   #4
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Whoa! That must have freaked you out! Glad you are all right.

Never had anything like that happen. The only close call we've had was then my husband and I were riding on a bike lane and almost ran into a guy on a motorize wheelchair who was in the bike lane going at a pretty fast clip in the wrong direction. Unexpected, that!
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Old 06-22-08, 12:58 AM   #5
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I had a riding mate that was fantastic- but he knew his Rights. He would enforce his rights aswell. One ride and we came across a Car blocking the MUP. How it got there we were not certain but Mike went to the driver to point out where he could get off the Path. All he got was an earfull from the 20 year old driver. That was it. Mile took his bike on the MUP by carrying it. The car was blocking the MUP so over the car- dragging his bike across the whole length of the car. Now mike was 180 lbs and 6 ft tall. He gave the driver a choice then as His bike was going through the windscreen next.

The car moved.

I ride a lot of farmland on the hills and there are tractors that are used on that land. Had a few occasions where we have found tractors in unusual places- round corners or in the middle of the woods on the sindletrack- but luckily haven't come near to hitting one yet. Now Cows----They are a different matter.
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Old 06-22-08, 06:54 AM   #6
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This can happen and it will happen again. You need a bit of bad luck.
I ride Rails to Trails almost exclusively and they are comparatively safe compared to roads. That does not mean that there is NO chance of accidents such as:
Bikers spaced out on your side coming at you eyes wide open.
Kids.
Dogs.
Farm vehicles crossing. Cars crossing. Bikes crossing.
Giant potholes.
All kinds of animals.
Blinds curves with who knows what is in the blind spot.
Bikers with ear phones all over the trail.

That all said, I see less then 5 people and none of the above on my 46 mile ride of yesterday.

BTW, I have been on the trail you mentioned and set a personal speed record on that trail. My only problem was that I had trouble walking from going too big a gear.
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Old 06-22-08, 09:27 AM   #7
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I would be terrified to set a speed record on a rail trail. Even out in the way boondocks... People just assume they'll either not see anyone or will hear them coming, and they park their bikes and stuff right in the middle of the trail!
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Old 06-22-08, 09:46 AM   #8
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People just assume they'll either not see anyone or will hear them coming, and they park their bikes and stuff right in the middle of the trail!
Have you been spying on me?

I tell you, after you've been riding for 20 miles and haven't seen a soul, it becomes easy to tune everything out.
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Old 06-22-08, 10:45 AM   #9
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People just assume they'll either not see anyone or will hear them coming, and they park their bikes and stuff right in the middle of the trail!
Yeah, my wife and I and another tandem couple did a 35 mile ride on Madison County Illinios's excellent rail-trail yesterday. We were just cruising along and some fellow riding a long wheelbase recumbent trike just pulled up and stopped in front of us CROSSWAYS on the trail! He wanted to look at Horseshoe Lake. We both managed to miss him but not by much.

That's what I like least about MUP's and the like. Way too many people seem to think that since there isn't any auto traffic there shouldn't be any rules at all to abide by.
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Old 06-22-08, 06:39 PM   #10
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I did a ride a couple of Mondays ago on our Santa Ana river trail. I rode almost 40 miles and only saw 2 bike riders...then I approached a road crossing, which takes the trail under the road, all of a sudden right there under the road was a county service truck driving right down the trail!

It's easy to become complacent riding deserted trails...I might be thinking about work or home or anything, except traffic.
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Old 06-22-08, 07:07 PM   #11
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Well they just re stoned much of the trail in my area. Went from 2 feet in many areas to 8 feet wide. Close encounters should be lessened. Walkers were the worst as they must walk side by side, and unfortunately not close enough. At least I get some time to decide to pass on right - left - or thru the center. Biggest surprises were the tractors cutting the grass. Although it's just a matter of time till a deer runs into me.
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Old 06-22-08, 08:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will dehne View Post

BTW, I have been on the trail you mentioned and set a personal speed record on that trail.
I'd like to set a speed record when passing that fertilizer processing plant! Trying to go fast and not inhale at the same time, though, not easy! The fertilizer is named Tizwhiz--wonder what's the nitrogen source there?
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Old 06-22-08, 08:46 PM   #13
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I ride that area, almost, every day, for the Parks and Rec.
Trail Sentinels. There are a good many cross drives, that
either, go to farms, or farmers fields.
I will tell my, Ranger boss, about this and will see if we can
get some kind of signs, warning people to watch out for farm
trucks and tractors. (Something like: For the next x number of
miles, watch out for farms equitment, crossing the bike way.)
I would belive that, the farmer, should, check both ways, before
crossing the bike way.

Last edited by Bikehead; 06-23-08 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 06-23-08, 07:22 AM   #14
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I ride railtrails almost exclusively. Trains and Railroads are part of my hobbies and one of the trails has a lot of history as well as unique Railroad specific things like the "Y" I go by way out in the middle of no where.
NOTE: A "Y" is where an Engine would pull it's freight or passenger cars, disconnect and go to the other end to pull back from where it has been.

On my one ride I try to do twice a week, it's 30 mins out and 30 mins back. It's perfect for doing my heart-rate work out. I have the option of adding miles and time at either end, so depending on how I feel, I can extend my ride another 30-60 mins if needed. And most times, I never see another soul on these trails.
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