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Old 08-11-10, 04:22 PM   #1
RoMad
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A short trip on a MUP as a walker

I am currently working near Tarpon Springs Florida where the Pinellas Trail passes through. I am still restricted by Dr. to no bicycling so I decided to take a walk on the Trail. I parked by the old train station and headed south at about 7PM two nights ago.
I was walking along at a pretty good pace, thinking about what a nice evening and a nice trail when WHOOSH, a guy on a CF bike whizzed by me from behind without any warning.
I jumped pretty high for an old guy I guess, but no harm was done. I had left my pistol in the car, so I let him go without incident .
As I walked further a 50+ looking fellow on a nice looking Serotta passed me from the front and greeted me with a small wave. A few minutes later the same guy on the Serotta passed me from behind. As he neared me and before I heard his bike he called out " on your left, plenty of room to pass". I thought that was extremely nice of him and said thanks as he rode by. I'll bet the other walkers on the trail probably appreciate it when he does that for them.
I think when I am back to riding I will be sure to use my bell for all walkers as I approach them from behind.
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Old 08-11-10, 05:13 PM   #2
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I've had mixed results warning people before passing them on MUPs. I found that too often, announcing myself causes them to react in a way that endangers them and/or me. If they are well to the right and seem to be heading straight, I will usually pass without comment. If I feel they are likely to do something that will impair my ability to pass or they are taking the whole path, I'll call out far enough back to see how they react.
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Old 08-11-10, 05:33 PM   #3
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9 times out of 10 I get a "thank you" when I call out a warning. I usually say "comming around" because people don't know left from right or how to respond.

Even if you have plenty of room - a little warning is appreciated to avoid a shock to the walker as you swoosh by.
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Old 08-11-10, 06:16 PM   #4
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I use a bell - several dings - far enough in advance that if they are surprised, they have a chance to recover. Sometimes, when the situation seems appropriate, I will say "passing." Never do I say "On your left" - requires the listener to figure out his/her left, and then what to do once he/she figures it out - "Should I move right (or left) or what??

I never pass without some sort of warning . I had a guy walking straight, and even though I gave warning, his head phones blocked my sound. Without any warning he turned left to be a good citizen and pick up some trash. Fortunately, I had a premonition and was braking anyway, and I missed him.
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Old 08-11-10, 06:41 PM   #5
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When approaching pedestrians from behind, a jingle of my brass bell almost always elicits a gush of joyous appreciation.
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Old 08-11-10, 08:43 PM   #6
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The Pinellas Trail is wide enough in most places that it is divided in to a walking side and a riding side. Unless there was a bike coming from the other way there should have been plenty of room for a rider to give you room while passing, provided you were walking along the edge of the trail. The only place where it isn't that wide is through central Tarpon Springs, and there's so many stop signs in there I can't see a rider picking up much speed anyway. I ride the trail whenever I'm visiting my parents and I never think to call out to walkers/joggers unless they are on the bike side of the path, because I can usually leave enough room. Is it generally accepted as a good practice to call out to walkers even if you will be a whole trailwidth away?
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Old 08-12-10, 03:34 AM   #7
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Interesting RoMad..........you now know that warning walkers that your are about to pass isn't entirely for your benefit. That's a good lesson. And the other lesson..............being nice is always.............nice.
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Old 08-12-10, 03:44 AM   #8
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I started saying "coming up" from a good distance so they can turn and see where I am and do whatever it is they are going to do so I can pass. I always slow down or have hands ready for a brake squeeze too.
Some have headphones on and can't hear anyway.
There are times when I may just look and see if they are holding a steady line and then I may just slow down and pass unannounced.
I keep thinking about a bell but just have never got one.

Oh and when I do say I am coming I always say thanks as I go by. Some will say thanks back some wont, no big deal to me.
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Old 08-12-10, 04:26 AM   #9
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I _always_ speak up when overtaking on the path I use. Usually, its "on your left" and I also say thank you as I go by. I also use the path to walk our dog and then thank those riders that give me a warning. I also am very conscious as a walker to keep looking behind me for those 'silent' types.
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Old 08-12-10, 04:35 AM   #10
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I think when I am back to riding I will be sure to use my bell for all walkers as I approach them from behind.
Depends. I once conducted a highly scientific study, ringing my bell to anyone and everyone I passed on MUP during one day of commuting. I forget what N was by the end of the day (told you it was highly scientific), but about 40% reacted clearly negatively. They either complained verbally, made a huge show or otherwise. The rest thanked or didn't react in any obvious way.

Nowadays, I use the bell only if there's no room to pass, or if I'm likely to buzz very closely by a pedestrian.

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Old 08-12-10, 04:57 AM   #11
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I had a discussion with a former co-worker a few years back. We discovered that she roller-blades on the same MUP that I often cycle. The conversation went something like this. "Oh, so you're one of those cyclist that buzz past much too fast with no warning. And you must be one of those roller-bladers that take up more than your half of the path and listen to music so loud there's no way you'd ever hear me.

We both stopped, looked at one another and agreed that safe behavior is sometimes in the eyes of the beholder. We also both agreed that warnings, even if not well received are still a good practice.
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Old 08-12-10, 06:22 AM   #12
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I've made a couple of walks on a local MUP and have been passed without announcement, and it is disconcerting. I try to be a good boy and announce when I'm passing. With little kids ahead, I slow down a good bit. No telling what the little tykes will do next.
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Old 08-12-10, 06:33 AM   #13
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Riders won't be passing walkers on the right, so why use "on your left" That only makes sense for riding in a group.

I like "good morning" or "passing through" or just coasting to make my freewheel buzz, if it's quiet enough.
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Old 08-12-10, 06:42 AM   #14
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We both stopped, looked at one another and agreed that safe behavior is sometimes in the eyes of the beholder. We also both agreed that warnings, even if not well received are still a good practice.
Yeah, I always warn but a surprising number of people give me a nasty look or startle and jump. I can understand that constant "on your lefts" on a busy MUP gets old but you would think they would see the signs that remind us to alert them. I think some people get irritated - particularly by bells - thinking we are telling them to move over when they are already on the far right. And to think I just heard on a science program that IQs are gradually rising a couple of points per decade
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Old 08-12-10, 07:00 AM   #15
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Yeah, I always warn but a surprising number of people give me a nasty look or startle and jump. I can understand that constant "on your lefts" on a busy MUP gets old but you would think they would see the signs that remind us to alert them. I think some people get irritated - particularly by bells - thinking we are telling them to move over when they are already on the far right. And to think I just heard on a science program that IQs are gradually rising a couple of points per decade
Interesting. Our "walkers" are very well "bell-trained" - sort of like a Pavlovian effect - they hear the ring and move over - and I get numerous "thank yous" as I pass. Must be a cultural thing.
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Old 08-12-10, 07:15 AM   #16
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Interesting. Our "walkers" are very well "bell-trained" - sort of like a Pavlovian effect - they hear the ring and move over - and I get numerous "thank yous" as I pass. Must be a cultural thing.
Maybe you are right. I don't get glares on the Virginia MUPs just from privileged women on the Capital Crescent Trail near Bethesda.
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Old 08-12-10, 09:55 AM   #17
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtv2_-2mHck

I believe this has been posted here before but if not......
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Old 08-12-10, 10:19 AM   #18
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtv2_-2mHck

I believe this has been posted here before but if not......
In a way that is a little bit scary.
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Old 08-12-10, 10:27 AM   #19
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When approaching pedestrians from behind, a jingle of my brass bell almost always elicits a gush of joyous appreciation.
In this hot weather. The "joyous appreciation" dims a bit when they don't see an ice cream box attached to our bikes. "I thought you were an ice cream cart." But a lot of laughter with the remarks.
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Old 08-12-10, 11:00 AM   #20
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When approaching pedestrians from behind, a jingle of my brass bell almost always elicits a gush of joyous appreciation.
Where were we riding together when your bell got the little girl to jump out of her skin? Beach?
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Old 08-12-10, 11:03 AM   #21
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I've started saying "Bike behind you" followed by "Thank you" as I pass. Haven't had any negative reaction to it.
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Old 08-12-10, 11:05 AM   #22
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Where were we riding together when your bell got the little girl to jump out of her skin? Beach?
That's the almost part. Of course we need to factor in the hearty round of laughter enjoyed by her family as a result of her startleability (new word).
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Old 08-12-10, 11:07 AM   #23
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That's the almost part. Of course we need to factor in the hearty round of laughter enjoyed by her family as a result of her startleability (new word).
True
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Old 08-12-10, 11:28 AM   #24
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I ride the "Galloping Goose" trail in Victoria, BC quite a bit, and I'm one of only a few cyclists with a bell mounted (it's attached to the pump, like the amateur racers do in Belgium where I think bells are required by law). I'll usually use the bell when approaching peds from behind. I whistle thru my teeth (a technique I learned in Mexico where cyclists whistle at drivers to announce their presence) when approaching slower cyclists from behind (louder than the bell but a more piercing sound). I think the advantage of a bell is that it's non-intimidating. It's like dainty Tinkerbell is behind you. It merely announces your presence. A car horn, on the other hand, is objectionable because its message is "get the #%$ out of my way!" I have acually been thanked on occasion for using the bell. More often, though, peds will just keep walking straight, or make like they haven't heard the bell, especially if they are two abreast blocking half the path.

I think a big problem is just plain arrogance. Each MUP user is loathe to acknowledge that they need to "get out of anyone's way." They see it as a sign of weakness, as forelock-tugging. The worst are two or three females that block the path. They are usually so arrogant or condescending theyll move over for no one. Likely a product of our cultural times, where everybody thinks he's a celebrity, "king/queen of the world." You see less and less courtesy these days in impersonal places like MUPs.

The only guys who pass me are wannabe racers who are out to prove something (I'm usually travelling at around 30 kmh, which I think is the highest speed reasonable on a MUP - quick but I'm not making any kind of effort, and I'm able to respond/slow down quickly). I can usually hear tire noise coming up behind me (plus I look around quite a bit). But I'm usually positioned towards the right side of the lane anyway, so it's never a big issue.

With cyclists, the guys that bother me are the ones I'm about to pass who pull out without looking to pass even slower riders ahead of them. If I have whistled or otherwise announced my presence, then I think it's fair game to buzz or bump them. Usually in a bike/bike collision, it's the guy being overtaken who goes down, so it doesn't bother me (especially if I'm in a foul competitive mood), plus I've had about 35 years of bike racing experience, so I can handle bumps. I even practice bumping against the rails of bike bridges if they extend out like the balustrade around a velodrome. It makes you a better bike handler and able to absorb bumping in a pack.

People with dogs are usually the most appreciative of the bell; however, I wish they would learn to walk on MUPs with themselves between the dogs and the bike traffic. If you ever visit a stable where they keep racehorses, you're always cautioned to make sure that when you are passing by a horse and trainer, you should always have the trainer between you and the horse. I wish more dog owners would learn this...

Luis
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Old 08-12-10, 03:49 PM   #25
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I've started saying "Bike behind you" followed by "Thank you" as I pass. Haven't had any negative reaction to it.
I've started doing that with pedestrians coming towrds me as I glide past them, and I get a big thank you from the biker whose coming upon them from behind!

I figure we all gotta look out for one another.

Last edited by cranky old dude; 08-12-10 at 04:06 PM.
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