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Old 04-21-09, 04:55 PM   #1
Nick C
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Fremont Bridge speed limit?

Had an interesting encounter today.
I was going home on the Fremont bridge, just like I do every day, and I was on the sidewalk. There were only two people on the bridge, one ped heading my way, and another headed away from me.
The guy coming at me jumped out into the middle of the sidewalk, and yelled at me to stop. Having nowhere to go, I slam on the brakes, and he starts yelling about me slowing down, something about a 5mph speed limit on the bridge. I just stared at him for a couple seconds, and then said "theres no speed limit on the bridge idiot" as I started to ride away. He grabs both my arms and says "wanna bet?" So I started screaming at him to let go, thats assault, expletive, expletive, and he responds back with "your assaulting everyone going so fast." at this point I gunned it out of there.
I know that I shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk, but I've been riding the bridge for three years, the first spent on the sidewalk, following the recommended bike route, the second in the street, and then back on the sidewalk this year. My reasons are many. First: the bridge grating is worse than ice when wet; second: motorists who have no problem with me in the street elsewhere, get LIVID when I ride across the bridge; and third: its just so much easier, every time I rode in the street I felt like I had to go as fast as I could, see #2.
Honestly, I just hate the situation on the bridge, but I feel like Im choosing the lesser of two evils by riding the sidewalk across it.
So I guess what I'm wondering is, is there a speed limit across the bridge? and also, how do you handle the crossing?

Fake edit: forgot to mention, I DO slow down crossing, even more so when there are pedestrians on the deck, but in this case, as I said, it was virtually empty today. I was going about 15 mph when I got on the deck, and had already slowed to about 12 by the time he made me stop, planning on slowing even further before I reached him.
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Old 04-21-09, 05:23 PM   #2
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Its all about due care. You are right you should probably be on the road instead of the side walks. If there was a hard fast rule for speed on the side walk it would be in the cycling manual that accompanies the motorist manual from DMV. You did right by pedaling on and leave that corrosive situation.
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Old 04-21-09, 06:47 PM   #3
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No, I think you are NOT supposed to ride on the bridge itself. Use the walkway. The ramps were built to do just that---allow bikes to transition from the road onto the bridge walkway=sidewalk itself, keeping them off the bridge. Didn't someone just sue the city for crashing while riding on the Montlake Bridge (grating) itself, instead of using the sidewalk?

He was so so so totally out of order for touching you---no matter how fast you were going. Next time, get safe distance from the offender and call the cops.

There is no speed limit posted, not sure if there's a law on the books. I understand that he was out of order for touching you, and for that reason it's tempting to rationalize that you were right...by going too fast for him. But, by his actions, it's pretty clear that 12mph was a bit too fast. Why not just go slower next time when someone (or more than 1) is on the bridge? The bridge is what, 50 feet long? You aren't going to lose all that much time and training effort for that short distance. Do we really have to resort to a law to govern common sense and courtesy, for such a short distance?
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Old 04-21-09, 08:53 PM   #4
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yeah, that guy was a jackstrap. I would likely have broken the hold on my arms, defended myself, pepper sprayed the ******bag or thrown him up into the railing depending on his mood - but i almost always ride on the bridge deck. snow and wet dark winter commute hours, maybe sometimes on the walkway.

you are not prevented from riding the bridge deck, there are no restrictions for your vehicle to use the travel lanes on the fremont bridge.

as to riding on a sidewalk, you need to yield to pedestrians and ride safely and with due care. i don't believe there is a bonifide speed restriction on your speed on a sidewalk, just to ride carefully.

I'll choose the bridge over the walkways. particularily when the bridge is raised, when the gates go up the walkways are CROWDED in the summers..... but i do get some 'road ragers' when in the lane on the bridge approaches or bridge itself. ignore them.

I think the city should close one lane of the bridge off entirely to motor vehicle traffic and create wide bikelanes on the decking with non-skid plates like on the hood canal bridge but a bit larger. screw the motorists in their rush hour backlogs, its not the bicyclists causing the traffic jams, its all the jackstrap motorists.

Last edited by Bekologist; 04-21-09 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 04-21-09, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick C View Post
The guy coming at me jumped out into the middle of the sidewalk, and yelled at me to stop.

...

I know that I shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk,

...

So I guess what I'm wondering is, is there a speed limit across the bridge? and also, how do you handle the crossing?
...

I was going about 15 mph when I got on the deck, and had already slowed to about 12 by the time he made me stop, planning on slowing even further before I reached him.
No, no, no! You totally should be riding on the "sidewalk" there. The metal grating on that bridge (unless things have changed recently) is VERY dangerous to cyclists. I'm sure that there is a warning sign for motorcycles which would be a glaring warning sign to me and my inch wide tires. I'd never ride on that deck, especially with road or hybrid tires. Yikes.

That said, the sidewalk is the pedestrian's domain. The law is pretty clear. Cyclists are to yield to pedestrians. No speed limit is mentioned other than the word "reasonable". 12mph obviously wasn't reasonable to this guy. Even a few people here, myself included, think that is too fast. Personally, I creep through areas like this around 5mph, give audible warning well ahead of time and use words like "excuse me", "may I pass"? But that's me... I suspect he's seen a sign somewhere in the city that says 5mph and is assuming it applies everywhere. (I have an image of such a sign in my head but don't have the foggiest idea where it may be)

This guy probably has had the experience of being blown by from behind at a high rate of speed. Think of how irritated you get when a car does this to you. It's not the same, in terms of potential injury, but try to understand their perspective. After the bridge deck though, it's back onto the street and bye bye... (Carefully watching for the right hook by motorists of course...)

Last edited by VeloBusDriver; 04-21-09 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 04-21-09, 09:19 PM   #6
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um, many of us ride the Fremont bridge deck on our bicycles, 23c road tires are even fine as long as it isn't wet.
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Old 04-21-09, 09:29 PM   #7
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um, many of us ride the Fremont bridge deck on our bicycles, 23c road tires are even fine as long as it isn't wet.
Free country, I suppose. I biked across it once to see how it felt. Never again. (No, it wasn't wet). However, based on the design of the bike lanes there, with ramps leading to and from the sidewalk on both sides, it is entirely reasonable for a cyclist to be there.
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Old 04-22-09, 07:27 AM   #8
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with as narrow as the walk is over the bridge I slow way down on that portion IF ther is any other traffic. This guy sounds like he is either a clown, or just fed up with the way cyclist can treat peds. Beingf both a cyclis and a ped on the trail I can attest to the rudness and arogance of many of my fellow riders out there.
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Old 04-22-09, 09:31 AM   #9
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Free country, I suppose. I biked across it once to see how it felt. Never again. (No, it wasn't wet). However, based on the design of the bike lanes there, with ramps leading to and from the sidewalk on both sides, it is entirely reasonable for a cyclist to be there.
THAT'S a moderate outlook on riding bikes on the Fremont bridge - different than

Quote:
No, no, no! You totally should be riding on the "sidewalk" there.
There's no 'totally should be riding on the sidewalk' about it. and with pedestrians getting all territorial about shared walkway space in crowded months, I choose to take the lane.
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Old 04-22-09, 11:44 AM   #10
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Seattle Municipal Code has more text regarding motorized scooters / electric powered scooters / etc. than it does about bikes.
But, it does say this:
Section 11.44.120 RIDING ON A SIDEWALK OR PUBLIC PATH. Every person operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk or public path shall operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of pedestrian traffic, grade and width of sidewalk or public path, and condition of surface, and shall obey all traffic control devices. Every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.


Guess we get to pick what is reasonable and proper for speed. Should holler at the pedestrians, or ding our bells, however.
Regarding grating -- thousands of cyclists successfully make it over the University Bridge during the STP. Most of those ride on the grating. Those of us unsure of our balance at 0455 in the morning take the solid section along the right side. But, it is still spooky, and better not have to stop and put a cleated foot down for balance.
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Old 04-22-09, 05:58 PM   #11
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As I said, I have successfully ridden across the grating, every day for a year, but I stopped after one hairy experience with the rain. The right lane was backed up, so I had to stop on the deck. However, as I got slower and slower, I felt my front tire begin to wash out as I moved it to maintain balance. Even with no brakes applied, I was still sliding like crazy. I couldn't even accelerate, so I basically had to coast across, trying not to fall. I cant imagine what would have happened if I had to put a foot down. After I started using the sidewalk again I felt much more relaxed not dealing with all the crap on the bridge, and have really never had a problem with crowds on the sidewalk. I actually deal with less right hook situations going through the crosswalk than the right lane, although that could just be because I expect them coming off the sidewalk. If the bridge does go up, I just slow to walking pace to deal with the mob, and still get across faster than the cars. Maybe I should slow like that every time I cross.

I would very much like to see a bike lane with non slip surface on the bridge, although that would create a huge right hook issue. I think it would be even better to just put that surface across the whole bridge, or at least the entire right lane. Any engineers want to tell me why this couldn't work?

Also, you wouldn't believe the time I've spent thinking about the sidewalk-street options.
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Old 04-22-09, 06:14 PM   #12
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Once you get across the bridge form Fremont to North Queen Anne you enter cyclist hell zone. I lived right above th Tully's for 8 months until I got laid off. I finally decided to stop riding in the road and just coast along on the sidewalk after four 'encounters' with motorists in one month. Keep in mind that I was scrupulously obeying all rules of the road. You probably just ran into one of these assclowns when he was on foot and not in his car. I probably would have thrown him off the bridge into the water.
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Old 04-22-09, 07:26 PM   #13
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don't worry

the guy was an a-hole. You were right to ride on the sidewalyk crossing the bridge. People who cross the grating on the bridge are just cleaning out the gene pool in my opinion. You shouldn't blow through there but it doesn't sound like you were.
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Old 04-22-09, 09:49 PM   #14
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I am always willing to get off my bike when I see a pedestrian or another bike coming the opposite way.
The way I see it you are entitled to be there but every biker should exercise judgement when interacting with others in dangerous environments.

BTW I was really confused until I realized you meant the fremont bridge in Seattle (PDX Fremont bridge is an interstate)
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Old 04-23-09, 11:46 AM   #15
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Fremont Bridge(Seattle) = Oregon City Bridge (Portland)
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Old 04-23-09, 01:47 PM   #16
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i think the yelling ped would have yelled at something else had it not been you. (like "get off my lawn!")

most cyclists use the sidewalks on that section, and for good reason. i've seen CM try to ride over some bridges in seattle (including that one), and more than a few wheels have been stuck in the wide gratings.

next time, spit in his face! just kidding..
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