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  1. #1
    SisuMess
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    Pedestrian Avoidance Techniques

    Being recently involved in a major collision with a pedestrian, I thought I would take the time to start a thread on how you deal with pedestrians...My technique, which has worked for many years, recently failed. Normally, when I see a potential pedestrian in my path I don't move. The pedestrians first reaction is one of two ways (to the left or right of where my path will be when I get to them)...after their initial reaction, if they see no movement from the bike they usually continue another step or two in the same direction of their initial reaction which carries them plenty of distance away from where me and my bike will be when i get to them. complications occur when the pedestrian makes their initial move and then sees the bicyclist make a move. The 50/50 chance of it being the same direction is really bad because all of a sudden both the bike and the pedestrian have commited their energy in the same direction. The other pure luck (50/50) possibility is that you both choose opposite directions. In that case your ride away smoothly and they continue with their day.
    The additional movement creates a frenzy of brain activity in the pedestrians mind which in turn leads to poor decisions. That is why I choose to not change my path at all!

    I'll stop at that and see if this goes anywhere....
    disclaimers now...
    *this is not an antiped thread!

  2. #2
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Just wondering, do you slow down?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    NASCAR (and other....?) racers aim for the scene of the crash if they come around a turn onto an accident in a race. The logic is the other car will have moved by the time they get there.

    I find myself working really hard to avoid ped.s on the Brooklyn Bridge. The giant yellow line painted downt he middle of the path and the drawing of walkers on one side and bikers on the other side seems too cryptic for many of the visitors to my fair city.

    If I have time I point at them and then point to where they should be. (I'm not great at hills and the bridge gives me ample time to do this. Well, half the trip on the bridge!) Oh and I yell a lot. Really loud.

  4. #4
    SisuMess
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    i ride a single speed with only a front brake and i hate using it...so no i dont' slow down but i'd say i don't make an effort to go faster..
    and as far as bk bridge....been there done that and know exactly what you're talking about. Pittsburgh is loaded with bridges...fact: Venice is the only city in the world with more!...what kills me is when people walk 3 or 4 wide watching you ride towards them for hundreds of yards then get pissy and jump out of the way at the last second!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cavedog's Avatar
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    Your original theory has merit. When I hit a ped, it was just as you described it. I was on my way to school (8th grade), and I went left, and so the ped. I then went right, and so did the ped. We met violently. I was in the wrong. If I had slowed, and maintained a predictible path, I think the incident could have been avoided.

    Your SOP failed the other day. But how many times has it worked? Sometimes, no matter what you do, you are gonna eat it. Please don't junk a procedure that has worked countless times and failed once.
    Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I don't really have an opion on your method as I don't have an inner city commute; so no experiences that compare. I was just thinking you must have brass balls to pull it off.
    Doesn't sisu mean "yes" in Sweedish?

  7. #7
    SisuMess
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    Guts in Finnish

  8. #8
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    On the MUP's around here, bikes must yield to pedestrians.
    I don't think going straight and forcing the pedstrian to move would qualify as yielding.

    Are you talking about a head-on collision or from behind?

  9. #9
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Holding position is fine, but slowing down is a must. The inconvenience of slowing down is not a valid reason not to do so...isn't one of the things that bothers us about motorists their impatience and unwillingness to slow down or be slowed down by a cyclist? What is more inconvenient - using the brake or running into a ped?
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  10. #10
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    When a ped is crossing a road, eg a side road that I am turning into, I sometimes aim to ride behind them, adjusting my speed to avoid collision. One of the dangers of this is that peds can reverse and step backwards into my path.
    I have no idea why they do this but it happens frequently enough that I factor it ino my riding.

  11. #11
    SisuMess
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    Quote Originally Posted by cc_rider

    Are you talking about a head-on collision or from behind?
    i don't understand

  12. #12
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SisuMess
    i don't understand
    Were you and the pedestrian going the same way or opposite ways on the path?
    I usually have a bigger problem with pedestrians going the same way as I am. The ones going the opposite way usually manage to stay on their own side of the path.

    edit - I see from your other post that it was a sideways hit while on the road. Pedestrian crossing your path changes everything.
    Your straight line approach with a slow down or stop is probably the best way to go. I'd rather hit the pedestrian than swing wide to avoid them and get hit from behind by a car.
    Last edited by cc_rider; 05-25-06 at 10:14 AM.

  13. #13
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    I just use one of these:


    If ya time it right, they jump 8 feet in the air, and you can pedal right under them...

  14. #14
    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    I have always slowed down when approaching peds from either direction. Gives me a chance to get on it when passed them. After my latest wreck involving another bike I am going to do the same with them! A headon with another bike left me with broken shoulder, out for 4 to 6 weeks.
    Treks, 83-600, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

  15. #15
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Avoid ped's, get on the road.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    I use Fox-40 whistle for early warning. This gives them time to think, where to move. I slow down and thank them as I pass.
    The best way is to choose a time of the day when there will be minimum peds on the path

  17. #17
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Avoid ped's, get on the road.
    Peds cross roads and in the rural areas, walk on them too. If you want to totally avoid them, you might have to ride the freeways.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  18. #18
    SisuMess
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    my OP was regarding riding on the road. i later mentioned similar experiences on paths but i'm 90% on very busy city roads and choosing what time is not an option.

    and impala..bike to bike wreck headon sounds nasty..hope ur better

  19. #19
    Senior Member PatrickMcCabe's Avatar
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    This was suggested to me after my extreme pedestrian encounter. Try yelling commands such as - STOP! or HEADS UP! (I am referring to people walking into the street not looking while I am at speed, or stopping on the path and pulling a 180 or 90 without looking) People are pretty responsive to commands, just be sure to follow it up with a "Good Boy" or "Good Girl" they need the positive reinforcement...

  20. #20
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Ding ding with a bell works really well. More genteel than an Air Zound.
    The United States of America is the only democratic nation in the world to deny citizens living in the nation's capital representation in the national legislature. District residents have no vote in either the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives. www.dcvote.org

  21. #21
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Don't count on ding ding. Too many don't have a clue what it means. Sometimes all that is available is "Look out" and slamming on brakes.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  22. #22
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Don't count on ding ding. Too many don't have a clue what it means. Sometimes all that is available is "Look out" and slamming on brakes.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  23. #23
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerBrent
    ...Your SOP failed the other day. But how many times has it worked? Sometimes, no matter what you do, you are gonna eat it. Please don't junk a procedure that has worked countless times and failed once.
    +1 for BikerBrent's advice. No matter how hard you try, sometimes it just happens...

  24. #24
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    I don't understand the adversion to a bell. True, a single ping of a bell doesn't always work. But sometimes it does. And when it works well, like getting a green light. That's is plus right there.

    The pedestrian problem I think needs a context to analyze it. A single pedestrian is more predictible than a group. Multiple groups are even less predictable. On MUPs pedestrians will follow the trail, but on a street corner they can go any direction. This time of year, with the long daylight hours, ninja pedestrains aren't so much as a problem, but they will be back in November.

    The "on your left" or a bell won't work at the last second. It just startles people into a reflex reaction, which isn't predictable behavior. Body language is a good indicator, especially noticing what the pedestrian is looking at. It's a clue to what the pedestrain is concentrating on. Tourists are less predictable than regulars. Parents with children are hard to predict. Teenagers are impossible.

    The more unpredictable the pedestrian is, the more you are going to have to slow down.

  25. #25
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Bells rarely work in the USA, as Americans are vastly ignorant of bicycles. I tried, and had more collsions with a bell then just riding off the pathway around them. (recommend a MTB for this) I may yell out "Bike Back!" or "Rider Back".

    As for a racecar driver aiming the car for the accident scene, that isn't universally accepted paratice. You should aim for the rear of the car, as it that end should be going away from the front of your's. That and if you do hit, you won't hit the door and injure the other driver. I use this when beach riding with loads of cross traffic and have NEVER hit anyone.

    When you ride upon a ped on the side of the road, pass to your left, the peds right. You're the legally recognized vehicle, and you should pass him like a car, assuming this person is walking correctly on the left side of the road.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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