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Old 11-01-07, 09:00 PM   #1
joe99
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MUP etiquette

Most of the paths around here do not have a centre line marked and this may be part of the reason so few users keep to the left (which is the "correct" side in Australia)

Suppose I am cycling on such a path at a moderate pace, the natural tendency is cut the corners, i.e. to go close to each apex to make my track as straight as possible.

If I fail to notice a faster cyclist coming up from behind just as I enter a corner, (and he fails to sound a bell or issue a verbal warning), does he have a legitimate grievance that I have "cut him off"? Or is the situation similar to motor racing that I am entitled to take the line I have committed to through the corner and the fellow behind is obliged to keep clear?
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Old 11-01-07, 09:47 PM   #2
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Assuming that neither of you are on your way to pedestrian mayhem, I would say it's up to the rider following you to ensure that he does not stray into your path. After all, you may have a legitimate reason (not just 'natural tendency to cut corners') for moving in an unexpected fashion, such as small animal avoidance, or an understandable desire to not come in contact with the local mulgas.

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Old 11-01-07, 10:55 PM   #3
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It's the duty of the person overtaking to ensure the safety of his/her action. By that, I mean they should signal their intention with a bell. I do it 50% of the time, the other 50% is a bit dangerous to take a hand off the bar to reach the bell. In that situation I can only do whatever I can to the best of my abilities.
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Old 11-01-07, 11:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses..

But would you still take the same view if there was a "centre line" marked? In a corresponding situation involving motor vehicles, I do not believe I would have the right to veer out of my marked lane. Even if an animal runs into my path, it is up to me to drive in a way that I can stop within my lane if necessary.

Back to bicycles... When I approach a pedestrian from behind, I hesitate to use a bell in case the person interprets it as an agressive demand to "get out of my way". Sometimes I just flick a brake lever and if the person does not react to the sound by looking around, I simply pull off the path and ride by on the grass at a safe distance.
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Old 11-01-07, 11:46 PM   #5
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Where I live at least, the posted rules of the MUP state that all trail users are to keep to the right (which, if the path were in Australia, would be reversed so that users would keep left). It does not matter if there is a centre line painted or not.

The trail rules here also call for an audible warning--a bell or voice--when overtaking. It's not aggressive, it's what is required.

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Old 11-02-07, 06:28 AM   #6
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only in a race is it ok to 'just take your line'

on a mup you just -have- to look back before cutting an apex
because that is a shared traffic lane and you are expected to
be predictable.
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Old 11-02-07, 09:49 AM   #7
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^^^
disagree.
The person in front should be predictable, should keep their line, and it would be in their best interest to look back if they are turning.
But the person coming up from behind is in control of the situation. They can see what is in front of them, they are in better position to judge the speed and distance and timing of their pass, and they have an obligation to announce their presence and intention to pass to the person ahead. If they fail to announce and a collision occurs, it is their fault, even if the slower bike contributed to it by not keeping their line.

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Old 11-02-07, 10:00 AM   #8
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I agree with cc_rider.

Always be as predictable as possible, but when overtaking, the person passing is the one in control of the situation.

I see it as like being in a car on the road, in a rear ender, the person with the front end damage is almost always the one at fault.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:17 AM   #9
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The MUP near my house has a centerline marked on corners only. There are a few U-turn corners for bridge ramp access that are impossible to keep the bike on the right inside side.
I wouldn't count on anyone being on any side anyway. There is a wide mix of people using the MUP, about half are on the 'wrong' side anyway. Also it is unclear which side pedestrians should be on. Facing vehicular traffic or not?
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Old 11-02-07, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
I agree with cc_rider.

Always be as predictable as possible, but when overtaking, the person passing is the one in control of the situation.

I see it as like being in a car on the road, in a rear ender, the person with the front end damage is almost always the one at fault.

wrong. the person passing reasonably expects the other to stay in the lane and not make a turn without signaling intent.

if someone is on the mup and makes a left turn and gets creamed it's their own fault.
they should stay the hell off the mup if they can't be bothered to either signal intent,
or turn their head and look before cutting left like a doofus.

but w-h-a-t-e-v-e-r


everyone should look out for themselves because no one else will look out for you.
if you think otherwise you will get run over
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Old 11-02-07, 02:31 PM   #11
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If you have too many close encounters when overtaking someone, then obviously you haven't adjusted your speed or gave enough safety room. If you give enough room and adjust your speed properly, you would be able to avoid getting cut off from unpredictable moves made by the person in front of you.
If you were in a car and the guy in front of you made some unpredictable move, and if you rear end him, it would be your fault for following too closely for conditions.

That being said.
Most people on MUPs that I encounter seldom sound the bell and seldom do they signal their intent. Ride for the conditions. No one in front? go as fast as you want. Crowded? can't see in front? slow down.
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Old 11-02-07, 03:04 PM   #12
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IMO

I treat the MUP as if I were driving a car.

While driving a car I …..
… don't cut corners or weave all over the road.
… signal when turning left/right.
… signal before overtaking another car. On a bike, this is done by shouting “on your right” (left in Austrailia) or a ding on the bell. The person passing is the one in control

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Old 11-02-07, 03:12 PM   #13
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In the absence of any clear rule as to whether or not it is OK to use the full width of a path on corners, I guess the only safe policy for me to adopt is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by edzo
everyone should look out for themselves because no one else will look out for you.
if you think otherwise you will get run over

I should perhaps point out that the particular path I have in mind is not a "trail" which leads anywhere but simply a loop contained within a park. The park is used for all sorts of activities and when riding one has to watch out for kids, dogs, frisbees, soccer balls etc which may come flying across the path at any time. As a result it is not suitable for fast riding and is normally only used by young riders, or by those 50+ (like me) who are happy just to cruise around at a moderate speed.

Thanks again to those who took the trouble to reply.

Incidentally I have just noticed a thread at
New Trek Christened- typical bike path story
which discusses the responsibilies of a following rider, except it relates to the situation where the front rider is actually making a turn off a path.
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