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Old 02-28-11, 07:14 AM   #1
Phil_gretz
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Youths Getting In Way on Trail Intentionally, For Fun

Does this frustrate you, too?

I was riding home on Saturday on the W&OD paved multi-use trail. At about 200 yards, I see four 12-14 year old boys in the opposite lane of the trail. Into a headwind and slightly uphill, I was slowing anyhow, as I approached them I could see them furtively glancing back toward me and talking and gesturing among themselves. "Here it comes", I think to myself.

So, I slowed down to about 10 mph and said (firmly, not aggressively) "heads up" at about 10 yards away. Then suddenly one of them semi-stumbles directly into my path.

Naturally, I had to stop abruptly to avoid hitting him.

They said "we didn't see you". I said, "I was a teenage boy once, and you're lying". Still straddling my bike, I grabbed the boy by the arm to spin him around to look him in the eye. "Don't lie to me... admit that you did that for fun, to see what would happen." He looks away slightly "I didn't know that you were so close..."

This conversation is going nowhere and I have no authority over the boys. No crime was committed. Just frustrating...

Phil
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Old 02-28-11, 08:23 AM   #2
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This is part of dealing with mutli use trails, and I have only had this once last year, but it makes me very proactive to anticipate it.

Note:
You indicated no law was broken, but your grabbing the youths arm can be used as legal action against you.
Be careful out there.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:30 AM   #3
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This happens to me almost every ride. Around here they are usually older "kids". Can't say much more or I'll have to ban myself.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:38 AM   #4
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Assault

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Originally Posted by rjc100 View Post
This is part of dealing with mutli use trails, and I have only had this once last year, but it makes me very proactive to anticipate it.

Note:
You indicated no law was broken, but your grabbing the youths arm can be used as legal action against you.
Be careful out there.
I know. My dad was a lawyer and a judge. Under the circumstances, my actions would be judged as crossing a line in only the most progressive, fringe courts. I tried to turn him as non-violently at possible. Of course, there's always adrenaline pumping... Thanks.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:41 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Does this frustrate you, too?

I was riding home on Saturday on the W&OD paved multi-use trail. At about 200 yards, I see four 12-14 year old boys in the opposite lane of the trail. Into a headwind and slightly uphill, I was slowing anyhow, as I approached them I could see them furtively glancing back toward me and talking and gesturing among themselves. "Here it comes", I think to myself.

So, I slowed down to about 10 mph and said (firmly, not aggressively) "heads up" at about 10 yards away. Then suddenly one of them semi-stumbles directly into my path.

Naturally, I had to stop abruptly to avoid hitting him.

They said "we didn't see you". I said, "I was a teenage boy once, and you're lying". Still straddling my bike, I grabbed the boy by the arm to spin him around to look him in the eye. "Don't lie to me... admit that you did that for fun, to see what would happen." He looks away slightly "I didn't know that you were so close..."

This conversation is going nowhere and I have no authority over the boys. No crime was committed. Just frustrating...

Phil
Congrats. You just committed assault.

One thing I try to remember is that *I* am not law enforcement. All I can do is get through the situation safely. Anything more than that- explaining the law, trying to make someone apologize, trying to punish them for poor decisions, are law enforcement funcitons. Have I ever done something similar to what you did? Yes. But really, not a good idea. If you do feel the need to engage, make sure it is verbal only and not physical, and do not issue any threats.

Having said that, my wife is a teacher and has the Teacher Voice. She knows exactly what to say and how to say it so that the proper impression is conveyed, without crossing the line. It's an amazing thing to watch.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

Last edited by Doohickie; 02-28-11 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Phill beat me to it.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:41 AM   #6
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You just committed assault.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:44 AM   #7
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As a frequent MUP rider myself, I don't often see that here.... just the usual annoying stuff. Luckily our trails get you out of urban areas into some fairly wide open spaces where there aren't a huge number of pedestrians.
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Old 02-28-11, 08:56 AM   #8
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This happens to me almost every ride. Around here they are usually older "kids". Can't say much more or I'll have to ban myself.
You can always do what people do in PA on MUPs. Carry. "Be judged by 12 instead of carried by 6."
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Old 02-28-11, 09:06 AM   #9
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Twice over 10 years, and I ignored it both times, reporting it to the authorities later. Our police and park authorities do patrol. You gave them exactly what they wanted - a violent reaction, possibly subjecting yourself to criminal action. I would guess they have no clue as to who you are, however, unless their lawyer does internet research and traces your confession, IP address, etc. on this forum through a subpoena to the forum.

One does need to watch what they write on the internet.

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Old 02-28-11, 09:11 AM   #10
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I usually just yell "WTF IS YOUR PROBLEM???!!!!" More effective than you'd think.
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Old 02-28-11, 09:12 AM   #11
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Actually, assault is verbal. He admitted to grabbing the youth. He confessed to the crime of Battery. Most likely Misdemeanor Battery, but that would be up to the statutes of the local jurisdiction.
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Old 02-28-11, 09:16 AM   #12
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I was riding some singletrack yesterday (first time with my spd clipless pedals, so I was a frequent visitor to Club Tombay, but that's another story), and as I was coming around a bend in the trail, a family of three or four were stopped right in the middle of the trail, less than 50 feet from the end of the trail. They were completely blocking the trail as the father did some sort of equipment repair for his son. A group of teenagers is mischievous enough on their own, without parents who are clueless and selfish about proper etiquette teaching them wrong to begin with.
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Old 02-28-11, 09:29 AM   #13
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Anyone remember the recent story where the marine dad came into the living room to find his daughter and boyfriend having consensual sex on the sofa? Dad punched the boy, and, upon a complaint from the young man, was arrested and found guilty of battery. I don't know the sentence!

Daughter claimed it was her very first time.
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Old 02-28-11, 10:23 AM   #14
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Re-Thinking This

After reading the feedback, I guess that I did cross the line. I need to be better prepared in a situation like this. I have a command voice, as I used to be an amateur ice hockey referee for a number of years.

The hard lesson is that you can't grab someone. Period. Sigh.
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Old 02-28-11, 10:53 AM   #15
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I've also had a young man - about 18 to 20 jump sideways to block me as I approached on the WO&D. Without much time to react safely (i.e. stop) I slowed, set my head down / balanced myself, moved further left and shouted HEADS UP! In a second I was past, the miscreant having ducked back next to his girlfriend. I don't know how I'd have come out of a collision but only one of us had a helmet and it wasn't him.

I don't understand how our youth can think causing someone to crash and possible suffer serious injury would be a fun activity.
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Old 02-28-11, 11:20 AM   #16
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I don't understand how our youth can think causing someone to crash and possible suffer serious injury would be a fun activity.
‘Do you think’, said Candide, ‘that men have always massacred each other as they are doing today? That they have always been liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, weaklings, unreliables, cowards, enviers, gluttons, drunkards, misers, social climbers, bloodsuckers, slanderers, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?’


‘Do you think’, said Martin, ‘that sparrow hawks have always eaten pigeons when they found some?’


‘Yes, without doubt,’ said Candide.


‘All right!, said Martin, ‘if sparrow hawks have always had the same character, why do you expect men to have changed theirs?’
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Old 02-28-11, 11:47 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
After reading the feedback, I guess that I did cross the line. I need to be better prepared in a situation like this. I have a command voice, as I used to be an amateur ice hockey referee for a number of years.

The hard lesson is that you can't grab someone. Period. Sigh.
If the lesson is learned by a posting on a message board, then all is well. I know about Misdemeanor Battery because I was charged with it many years ago trying to defend my wife and property against a gang of teenagers.

I have also learned never to answer questions to the police before consulting with a lawyer. I told them how I put my hand on the boy's shoulder to get him to calm down. Several lawyers I consulted with said that by my statement I had confessed to the crime. I will never put my hands on anyone in a conflict situation unless it's a clear case of self-defense.

I try not be confrontative at all. I didn't say anything to the family on the trail yesterday. Meanwhile it (along with other reasons) has me thinking about trying not to ride solo any more, but if I wait for my schedule to sync up with other peoples, I might never ride.

BluesDawg mentioned boy scouts, and all of our training focuses on the buddy system and two-deep leadership (Which means a minimum of 4 leaders), because if there must always be a minimum of two leaders with the boys, if something happens to someone and there's only two or three leaders, the whole group has to attend to the problem, as opposed to breaking two people off to deal with it (possibly go for help, transport the person needing assistance, or stay with the person while waiting for assistance) while two continue on or stay with the group and attend to the person in trouble.

Did what I just wrote make sense?
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Old 02-28-11, 11:48 AM   #18
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‘Do you think’, said Candide, ‘that men have always massacred each other as they are doing today? That they have always been liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, weaklings, unreliables, cowards, enviers, gluttons, drunkards, misers, social climbers, bloodsuckers, slanderers, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?’


‘Do you think’, said Martin, ‘that sparrow hawks have always eaten pigeons when they found some?’


‘Yes, without doubt,’ said Candide.


‘All right!, said Martin, ‘if sparrow hawks have always had the same character, why do you expect men to have changed theirs?’

Yep. While out on rides, I've had college-age-looking guys throw stuff out of speeding cars at my ( then ) eight-year-old on his bike. I suppose I can look at the positive side of things and be happy that I've trained him to stop RIGHT NOW when I yell...
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Old 02-28-11, 11:58 AM   #19
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I pass many groups of teenagers on our MUP. I've often expected to have problems getting through them (bad behavior usually increases with groups), but they have not only made a hole for me to get through, but often even been polite about. I'm generally saying things like "plenty of room now, thank you very much!" as I reach them, and I'm pretty sure that helps, but so far the local teens have improved my general perception of our youth.
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Old 02-28-11, 12:14 PM   #20
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I pass many groups of teenagers on our MUP. I've often expected to have problems getting through them (bad behavior usually increases with groups), but they have not only made a hole for me to get through, but often even been polite about. I'm generally saying things like "plenty of room now, thank you very much!" as I reach them, and I'm pretty sure that helps, but so far the local teens have improved my general perception of our youth.

We've had extremely good experiences on our local MUP ( primarily the Erie Canal towpath ). Everyone seems to know what "On your left!" means, the roadies don't go weaving in and out of people at 25MPH, and people are polite, regardless of age. The biggest "problem" are the small kids on new bikes weaving back-and-forth over the path, but they're generally avoidable.
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Old 02-28-11, 12:20 PM   #21
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Just another reason I'm glad there are no MUPs here, and why I avoid them like the plague.

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Old 02-28-11, 12:35 PM   #22
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The hard lesson is that you can't grab someone. Period. Sigh.
That, and you can't threaten them with harm (that's the assault part, even if you don't touch them).

Our MUPs locally just don't have this problem. The worst I get are people who are unconscious/careless about the danger they subject themselves to when moving near the paved path. It's worst when some kind of charity walk follows the path and it is not otherwise closed off by police. They don't know the rules of the path (that it is multi-use) and don't realize they need to share the path with cylcists.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

Last edited by Doohickie; 02-28-11 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 02-28-11, 12:41 PM   #23
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A couple other problems I see: People walking their dogs often have the pup on a leash. Dog's on one side of the path while the owner is on the other - with the leash straight across the path. And sometimes, it's a BIG dog.

Other problem I anticipate an eventual problem with is, some of the younger kids in packs. How long until they figure they can shove you off your bike as you pass, and hijack your bike, leaving you crumpled in the weeds? I can see that happening eventually...
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Old 02-28-11, 01:05 PM   #24
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Assault? Nah. You were just helping him back up. But next time, let him get up by himself.
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Old 02-28-11, 01:06 PM   #25
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Well, they could read your body language 200 yards away. Hunching down, slowing down, barking "Heads Up".

Another thing you could have done is maintain an open position. Sped up a bit to a confident speed. Don't stare at them, but keep your head up and as they got close, start to wave at them and acknowledge them as humans. It might have put them off their rythym. It couldn't have made things worse.

And at the worst, with your speed up, they'd be less likely to try and swerve into your lane and you'd be in a better spot to put the hammer down.
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