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Old 08-24-10, 05:54 AM   #1
donheff
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Close call yesterday

This is a bit of a nothing story except for the train of though I was having as I almost smashed into a jogger. I was thinking of our "on the left thread" as I passed by walkers, joggers, and other riders on the Capital Crescent Trail yesterday. I settled on "passing" as the better shout out and was using it religiously. I was waiting until I got quite close to shout out to be sure the people I passed would hear me. As I was rode up a long, gentle uphill doing about 13 MPH I approached a slow jogger who looked to be tiring of the slope. As I watched her slogging along I thought of the many stories I had read of joggers making an abrupt u-turn as riders passed and imagining the woman in front of me making such a move. As I got close to her I signaled "passing" at the exact moment my wife behind me rang her bell and at the exact moment the jogger made an abrupt u-turn into my path. As she completed the turn I could see the shock on her face as our alerts entered her brain. But instead of moving back to the left she froze a few feet in front of me. Luckily I was able to swerve to the left and brush by her without a crash. Naturally, this has convinced me that psychic communication really exists - my thoughts about abrupt u-turns obviously prompted this jogger to make one at the critical moment. And, I learned to shout-out louder and sooner.
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Old 08-24-10, 06:13 AM   #2
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Glad is was a narrow escape instead of a full hit. While I too have settled on a version of your shout ("passing left"), I've learned to give people time to react. So, I shout louder and sooner.
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Old 08-24-10, 07:43 AM   #3
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I have a bell on all my trail bikes, but the bell and I'm on your left is almost useless. Over 50% of the pedestrians where I ride have Ipods blasting in their ears. The only thing I can do is I slow down and cover my brakes with my hands, that comes from years of motorcycle riding. It is agravating, but at least I have an excuse for my low average speed LOL. I learned on a motorcycle when you expect danger put your hands over the brakes amd slow down. I still prefer to ride greenways because if I do have an accident there more than likely I'll walk away from it.
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Old 08-24-10, 11:14 AM   #4
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Glad is was a narrow escape instead of a full hit. While I too have settled on a version of your shout ("passing left"), I've learned to give people time to react. So, I shout louder and sooner.
Good!!! I've almost turned into people because they waited until almost on my shoulder before warning me they were there.

Plus: I'm not sure about all States in the US; but the ones I know about the pedestrian has the right of way. So, if a cyclist hits the pedestrian while overtaking I suspect the law and the cyclist's insurance company would both view that unfavorably.
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Old 08-24-10, 11:26 AM   #5
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The real lesson to be learned should be: stay off multiple use paths. Too much unpredictablilty.
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Old 08-24-10, 11:34 AM   #6
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I always give plenty of loud warning before passing on the MUP's and that applies to everyone. But learnt many years ago that unless they move over or look to acknowledge you- They are going to be a problem. Slow down- Give warning again and be prepared to stop. Then ask them politely- "Which side do you want the tyre marks"?
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Old 08-24-10, 12:09 PM   #7
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13 mph = 17.71 feet per second. you need to scream from 30-40 feet away at that speed, to allow for a reaction and stopping if needed.
I don't ever see cyclists announce their presence in time to get a reaction and then stop in time. NEVER. However, I do it. Bailey helps when he's along for the ride. Most cyclists think saying it when alongside helps. That's absurd. This is the main reason for cyclists hitting pedestrians on my local bike paths. I have only once heard someone else even mention it on the internet.
It's often the cyclists fault for announcing late. I also see most drivers tailgating. It's just people, not just cyclists. It's frustrating. This is one reason many cyclists pass without making a sound too. Plenty of people go the wrong way when startled and even get mad. If you're going fast there's no time to say anything and be safe. I always see other cyclists in my mirror long before they say anything.

20 mph = 27.25 fps............If you yell from 15 feet away, it's much too late. Even 30 feet.
10mph = 13.63 fps.............20 feet might be OK. maybe.

Not understanding closing speed and reaction time seems to be the main reason cyclists complain here about peds, the bikes don't allow enough time for the peds to react and the bike to stop. And drivers about cars, bikes, peds etc.

I understand this and don't have close calls on a bike path, how odd.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 08-24-10 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 08-24-10, 12:41 PM   #8
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I use our local MUP as both a cyclist and as a pedestrian, and I've had far greater potentially dangerous and downright unpleasant interactions with cyclists while I've been walking, than vice versa. Only twice have I been riding and had a potentially bad situation - one involved a dog walker with a pooch on a retractable lead that they let cross the trail to do its business. The other was actually a roller blader who thought this often-crowded trail was a good place to learn how to blade backward.

While walking the trail, though, I have been buzzed within a fraction of an inch repeatedly by cyclists who pass carelessly. I'm not talking about riders who fail to announce themselves and have close calls because of unpredictable pedestrian reactions. I'm talking about blatant unsafe riding. When they come up behind other path occupants (of all stripes slower than they - not just those on foot) and the oncoming lane is obstructed, rather than hit the brakes and slow until the oncoming lane is clear, they try to squeeze through in between the other trail occupants.

Now, I'm a cyclist. I love riding. And I would never suggest that the members here would behave this way. But I also understand that the posted rules on the trail have a purpose, and it's important that they be obeyed for everyone's safety. Pedestrians have the right of way. Cyclists are required to yield to them. Roller bladers are required to yield to everyone. It's not acceptable to ride as though the trail is their own personal high-speed slalom course. If a cyclist is that concerned about the training effect of riding consistently at speed, a crowded MUP is not the place to do it. Just last night wo different cyclists came within a half-inch of hitting me, while riding at least 18-20 MPH, one while overtaking me from behind, the other while approaching me and passing occupants in his own lane. The latter was a person on a fully-faired (actually enclosed) recumbent trike, and you'd think he was qualifying for Bonneville.

I may get jumped on for saying this, but nearly every time I set foot on that trail, some cyclist makes me ashamed to call myself one of his/her fellows.

Go ahead - pile on.

Last edited by CraigB; 08-24-10 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 08-24-10, 02:41 PM   #9
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I crawl past pedestrians and joggers to combat unpredictability, of course I suspect our MUP's don't see the high traffic volume that you're accustomed to.
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Old 08-24-10, 03:29 PM   #10
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I use our local MUP as both a cyclist and as a pedestrian, and I've had far greater potentially dangerous and downright unpleasant interactions with cyclists while I've been walking, than vice versa. Only twice have I been riding and had a potentially bad situation - one involved a dog walker with a pooch on a retractable lead that they let cross the trail to do its business. The other was actually a roller blader who thought this often-crowded trail was a good place to learn how to blade backward.

While walking the trail, though, I have been buzzed within a fraction of an inch repeatedly by cyclists who pass carelessly. I'm not talking about riders who fail to announce themselves and have close calls because of unpredictable pedestrian reactions. I'm talking about blatant unsafe riding. When they come up behind other path occupants (of all stripes slower than they - not just those on foot) and the oncoming lane is obstructed, rather than hit the brakes and slow until the oncoming lane is clear, they try to squeeze through in between the other trail oppcupants.

Now, I'm a cyclist. I love riding. And I would never suggest that the members here would behave this way. But I also understand that the posted rules on the trail have a purpose, and it's important that they be obeyed for everyone's safety. Pedestrians have the right of way. Cyclists are required to yield to them. Roller bladers are required to yield to everyone. It's not acceptable to ride as though the trail is their own personal high-speed slalom course. If a cyclist is that concerned about the training effect of riding consistently at speed, a crowded MUP is not the place to do it. Just last night wo different cyclists came within a half-inch of hitting me, while riding at least 18-20 MPH, one while overtaking me from behind, the other while approaching me and passing occupants in his own lane. The latter was a person on a fully-faired (actually enclosed) recumbent trike, and you'd think he was qualifying for Bonneville.

I may get jumped on for saying this, but nearly every time I set foot on that trail, some cyclist makes me ashamed to call myself one of his/her fellows.

Go ahead - pile on.
I see plenty of idiots passing too close and too fast also. They're everywhere. Worldwide.
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Old 08-25-10, 02:42 AM   #11
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Other than the scenery along the river, I've rarely had a pleasant experience on the CCT. It's impossibly crowded after work. And the surface is getting so rough that it shakes the spokes out of my wheels. Plus there's no real convenient way to get down to it from the Key Bridge. It's a shame, but it's getting so popular, nobody goes there anymore...
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Old 08-25-10, 03:53 AM   #12
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I can not comment on the CCT but I have ridden on the Mount Vernon Trail and I can say that was so bad I got off and rode on the Parkway to Mount Vernon.
I think trails like these are more for sightseers than cyclists, and sightseers being people on bikes taking in the sights. Way too many walkers, joggers, people walking their dogs, roller bladers, kids playing and such.
Yeah you can ride a bike there but expect to go 8 mph.
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Old 08-25-10, 06:23 AM   #13
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Other than the scenery along the river, I've rarely had a pleasant experience on the CCT. It's impossibly crowded after work. And the surface is getting so rough that it shakes the spokes out of my wheels. Plus there's no real convenient way to get down to it from the Key Bridge. It's a shame, but it's getting so popular, nobody goes there anymore...
I like it but then my wife and I have the luxury of riding after rush hour on weekdays so it isn't crowded. We never venture over there on weekends.

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I can not comment on the CCT but I have ridden on the Mount Vernon Trail and I can say that was so bad I got off and rode on the Parkway to Mount Vernon...
Yeah you can ride a bike there but expect to go 8 mph.
The few times I have ridden out to Mt Vernon I switched to the Parkway as well. But I like the trail from downtown to Old Town (again, after rush hour on weekdays). It is also a nice route to the network of Virginia trails that open us up to relatively unobstructed 30-40 mile rides. I like to ride without constant distractions from traffic signals and cars blasting by. Living in the heart of the city makes that difficult. For me it is either ride 5 miles to a MUP and then cruise as far as I want or pack up the bikes and drive out to more rural routes. Fortunately, I have a weekend house in Virginia's Northern Neck and get lots of rural road riding down there.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:00 AM   #14
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I like it but then my wife and I have the luxury of riding after rush hour on weekdays so it isn't crowded. We never venture over there on weekends.

The few times I have ridden out to Mt Vernon I switched to the Parkway as well. But I like the trail from downtown to Old Town (again, after rush hour on weekdays). It is also a nice route to the network of Virginia trails that open us up to relatively unobstructed 30-40 mile rides. I like to ride without constant distractions from traffic signals and cars blasting by. Living in the heart of the city makes that difficult. For me it is either ride 5 miles to a MUP and then cruise as far as I want or pack up the bikes and drive out to more rural routes. Fortunately, I have a weekend house in Virginia's Northern Neck and get lots of rural road riding down there.
I have not ridden the Mount Vernon trail north of WW Bridge only south of it and that was after riding up from Waldorf.

I have a uncle who has a place in the Northern Neck as well and would think it a great place to ride. When ever I go down there there seems to be not too many people out and about. He is in Bay Quarter Shores.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:26 AM   #15
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MUP's around here have a speed limit of 10mph. We use them occasionally, for scenic purposes only. Careful.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:39 AM   #16
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Reading the comments above make me glad that I live in a smaller community. I reside 1 block from the badger rail trail and put several hundred miles a year on it. On a busy day, I might see 20 other people riding, walking, or running over the course of a 10-40 mile ride and never have a problem.
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Old 08-25-10, 09:56 AM   #17
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We used to live in DC just north of Georgetown on Crescent drive area. We would use the CCT for biking, inline skating and running. We mountain biked along the canal on the toe path. The section we used was from the Key Bridge north and we would ride from our house to the Starbucks on Wisconsin Ave. The traffic on that section of the CCT varies in density and composition and sometimes we had to pick our way along or ride behind a walker until it was okay to pass. MUPs are okay for casual riding but they do have their challenges.
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Old 08-25-10, 10:58 AM   #18
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I'm fortunate in that most of the rural roads and main highways have either very light motorized traffic or good shoulders. That lets me ride primarily on the road or highway. There are some places where I do ride the MUP and I'm very careful for three reasons. Primarily because despite signs and the law they are used by 4-Wheelers and motorcycles. More and more MUP users are plugged in to their music players and can't hear any kind of signal. Last, our perceptions aside "serious cyclists" are a distinct minority of bicycle riders and MUP users. In their daily bicycle use they have no interest in the "rules".
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