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Old 07-06-08, 08:55 AM   #1
ticwanos
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Road Rage, PR & White Rock etiquette??? A rant.

It is clear to all of us that cyclists have PR problems with the public at large. Since we are the ones whose lives and bodies are at hazard, it is our natural tendency to heap verbal abuse upon thoughtless cagers and clueless pedestrians who are trying to kill us. But there is blame to share. Well, "blame" says it poorly, perhaps "responsibility" is more accurate. I want to relate two incidents recently experienced along the White Rock Lake trail.

I had finally convinced my nonbicycling wife to ride the loop starting from the trailhead at Valley View Park. Sunday morning, gorgeous day, but probably the busiest day day of the week for the MUP. We're having a good time ambling along, soaking up the vibes.

Just south of 635 there were a number of soccer fields with many teams getting ready for their games. Yes, they were gathering in the few shady spots, which also blocked half of the trail. Yes, it was inconvenient for all cyclists on the trail. No they shouldn't have been impeding the trail, but it is a "multiple use path".

Coming toward me were two cyclists, one of which, when arriving at the crowded patch expressed in what seemed to me to be a moderate, nonconfrontational but very frustrated voice "Hey, this is a trail." You would have thought he had demeaned everyone's mother from the reaction. These two poor guys were loudly cursed out in two languages. I was a little freaked and not knowing what to expect upon my arrival at that spot, just called out in a clear voice "Permiso!". The same guy cursing the loudest looked totally startled, stepped out of the way and said "Go ahead, sir." We did, and I am still reeling from the different responses. My guess is there is a long history of friction twixt the cyclists and futbolers there.

Within five minutes we were toddling along, my beloved in front, young families everywhere, when coming toward us was a cluster of cyclists at top speed, one passing the others and taking up both lanes on this narrow path. The only reason he missed my wife was she swerved off the concrete, came just short of going down, but still banged herself against the top tube and sustained bruises. Within seconds a second cluster came toward us, again taking both lanes and ran me off the concrete. Please! If you think you are training for the TDF, DON'T do it on a MULTIPLE USE PATH designed for casual recreation. Such stupid and dangerous behavior creates ill will against the entire cycling community. If you want to race get on the roads! Dance with the SUVs, not the young families with strollers. I fear too many cyclists think these MUPs belong only to them and everyone else is just in the way, in much the same way that many drivers feel about cyclists on the roads.

Is there a solution? I hope so, and it probably starts with us taking extra measures to be courteous to everyone around us. NOT hogging highways. NOT putting others at risk. Is it fair that as cyclists we should be the ones to bend over backwards? Of course not, but we are the ones in need of image repair and fairness has nothing to do with it. Rant over.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:53 AM   #2
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The ones here in Houston have a speed limit when passing other cyclists and pedestrians...it is 10 mph. I personally try to avoid MUP's so that I don't have to worry about passing people, getting ran off the road, or being blocked all together.

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Old 07-06-08, 01:47 PM   #3
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The white rock creek (and lake) paths can get crazy, especially on the weekends. I would ride it regularly during the week when I was in school and had a free morning. I will hold a 17+ speed when there is NO ONE around, but will be the first on the brakes when other riders (especially rec riders with families etc) are ahead. There is no reason to be taking up the entire path or passing in such a way that would cause someone to go off road. And something that I've voiced my opinion to on more than one occasion to a rider acting in a similar fashion.
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Old 07-06-08, 03:36 PM   #4
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I've been through there quite a bit, and never had a problem. But the first thing is when you're coming to a clump of people like that, you have to slow way down. There's little kids there kicking balls and whatnot and they just don't watch what they're going, and you can't go whizzing through at 20 mph or even 15 or 12. It may help that I have the doofus look and not the Plano roadie look, too.
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Old 07-06-08, 05:26 PM   #5
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....It may help that I have the doofus look and not the Plano roadie look, too....
+1 Ahh...that explains it!
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Old 07-07-08, 03:39 PM   #6
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Yep, there are way too many wannabe's on the WRL trail. I like to ride right up against the centerline when I see those doofi coming; assert my ownership of that half of the trail. Sure it's abrasive but guys like that are incapable of learning courtesy anyway.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:21 PM   #7
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This is a hot topic with the wife and I. We are very new to riding so we are a bit reluctant/unsure of how to react. What we find is that people will come whizzing by us as we amble along at WRL and never announce they are coming around. I know it is our responsibility to hold our line but if we are our on a semi-casual ride I am usually not focused on maintaining a perfectly straight course. I can't begin to count the number of times I am passed, a little closer than I am comfortable, by some racer type. Is it that they are expending so much energy holding their pace that they can't spare enough breath to say "On your left?" Maybe after we have done this for years we will get some kind of spidey sense that will alert us that there is someone coming up--with the wind my ears I can't hear them. There have been times when I see a stone or pile of dog leavings on the road and start easing over to miss it and have someone come by only inches away. A simple alert and I would have held my line or moved the other way.
As an attempt toward positivie reinforcement, I always say thanks to those--in the vast minority--that do announce they are coming around.
The thing that is really bringing this to a head for us is the latest, most egregious example from this past weekend. We were crossing the long bridge on the north side of the lake and two racer types came around while we were on the bridge. Not too bad if we knew they were coming, but the bridge isn't the widest and it was pretty busy with walkers/families and such.
Is it so hard to be courteous. Maybe if you are so fast that you pass EVERYONE else on the trail it gets old having to say "On your left" hundreds of times....
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Old 07-08-08, 07:08 AM   #8
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A MUP is definately no place to ride fast. Lots of people don't feel they can or should ride on the road and want to ride fast so to the path they go.

Do either of you have mirrors? I find them very useful in riding a bike on the roads or on paths. You dont' want to stare in them or anything but just an occasional glance to keep aware of what is what can help.

I'm never sure with the "on your left" stuff. Most times you say "on your left" on a mup or around peds well they go to their left or stop and look left if they hear or pay any attention to you at all. Heck until I logged onto this forum I had ridden well over 20 years and never knew what the heck "on your left" meant. I was riding down route one in connecticut when I first heard that phrase way back before I could drive. The phrase that everyone who knows what it means just expects everyone else to understand and my first reaction was to look left expecting something to be flying in my direction or a car to be pulling out on my left. Of course you go where you are looking so I somewhat moved to the left and got cursed out by some triathalete.
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Old 07-08-08, 03:31 PM   #9
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There is a quick way to slow people down on a MUP. Every so often include a tight turn or even a series of tight turns. Like two u put together. As long as it is as straight as it is cyclist will treat at as a highway. I see MUPs full of nothing but danger and try to avoid them at all cost, when I do have to use a MUP I am crawling along maybe 10-12mph tops. I go even slower if I see traffic ahead of me.

the only way to slow down the cyclist on White Rock Trail is to make them slow down. either put a speed limit in place and tell the police to go shoot it with radar or force them to slow down with super tight turns or speed humps.

Even with tight turns it will be a drag race from one set of turns to the next set.
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Old 07-08-08, 09:43 PM   #10
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There are really maybe four or five places like that, that are commonly congested. Even at those places, it'd be easy enough to jump over to the road instead of trail. On most of the trail, pedestrian traffic is not too bad, and you can hold 15-17 mph without any problem.
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Old 07-09-08, 08:16 AM   #11
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I ride the WRC/WRL trail pretty often. Great ride.

When there are soccer games going on -- in at least 2 places -- you just have to assume there will be kids wandering on and off the trail with no supervision. That's just the way it is. And at the basketball and tennis courts too. And around the lake too.

As for the cycle-jocks who ride fast and dangerous -- F them. Its a recreational trail, not an olympic training facility. I had one athletic ******bag begin screaming at me "on your left" as he whizzed by me when I had very clearly already started to turn left -- which of course put "me in HIS way". He just didn't want to slow down. Seriously, I feel like if I'm riding as safely and courteously as I can and some speedy-type guy eats **** because he is too rad to slow down, that is his problem. Unless he takes me down with him.

I love having the soccer fields there. You can stop and get a delicious paleta de fresa after your ride, thanks to the friendly paleta vendor.
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Old 07-09-08, 08:32 AM   #12
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Ive never had too much trouble on that path. I always expect people to be standing on the trail during games,
so I approach slowly. I always keep right, holding my line too. Most of the time Im doing the passing and I always
say "on your left", or "Paso en tu izquerda" if necessary.
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Old 07-09-08, 10:18 AM   #13
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If I am on WRCT, it is usually before 7:00am or after 8:00pm. Not much traffic out there at those times. But, I there have been a few times that I've had to slow down to a crawl and allow oncoming jocks to take my lane while going around pedestrians on their side of the path. It's just one of the hazards of riding on a MUP.

When I DO approach pedestrians or joggers, I don't assume that they know what "on your left" means. I holler out "Passing on your left!" and then give them a "Good morning" or "Good evening" as I go by.
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Old 07-15-08, 09:56 AM   #14
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I face many of the issues described by the OP and others on MUP I follow to work and back. I'm only ever on that trail when I'm on my commuter bike so I tend to go slower -- like 13 to 14 mph on a good day. On a few occasions I've had folks on road bikes come whizzing past me without me knowing they were approaching. It's frightening and infuriating when you don't expect it. It's also just rude. Seriously, it's a MUP, if you're that effin' ernest about your riding get off the path and on the road where it's safer for everyone.

On the other hand when I'm on the MUP on my bike I pass far more pedestrians than cyclist pass me. I too have seen that look of suprise that comes up when you yell out "on your left" only to have the person stop and spin turn around with a dumb expression on their face -- whaaa?. However, I recently learned something interesting. My new commuter came with a bell. At first I didn't use the bell and kept calling out "on your left". I'd still get the occasional stop and spin. Then I started using the bell....lo and behold folks seem to know that it's a bike coming up behind them and naturally step aside. I always say "thank you" as I pass.
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Old 07-15-08, 06:23 PM   #15
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On the other hand when I'm on the MUP on my bike I pass far more pedestrians than cyclist pass me. I too have seen that look of suprise that comes up when you yell out "on your left" only to have the person stop and spin turn around with a dumb expression on their face -- whaaa?. However, I recently learned something interesting. My new commuter came with a bell. At first I didn't use the bell and kept calling out "on your left". I'd still get the occasional stop and spin. Then I started using the bell....lo and behold folks seem to know that it's a bike coming up behind them and naturally step aside. I always say "thank you" as I pass.
I too have had that experience. I try to give them as much room as possible.
My hybrid came with a bell which I quickly took off. Now I am wondering if I shouldn't put it back on. You have a good idea there!
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Old 07-19-08, 10:19 PM   #16
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What do you tell soccer players who put their gym bags all over the bike path or even sit in folding chairs on the bike trail itself? The soccer spectators are often drinking cerveza and smoking weed in front of children there. Screw them. They know full well that the trail is used primarily as a bike path and stand in the middle of the trail only to be jerks. Think of all the cyclists, joggers and rollerbladers you see and/or pass on the WRC trail. Every single one of those people, 30? Maybe 40 people? have to navigate the maze of idiots not smart enough to respect trail users enough to keep the trail clear. Those people trash the park too. Frankly, I know dogs with more brainpower than some of those feral children with room temperature IQ's that run loose at those soccer games.

There are only two things I even bother to slow down for on the WRC trail or at the lake. Pets and small children under the age of 7-8. Everyone else should know better. I have zero compassion for people that cannot follow the simple trail rules.

The trail surface is getting beaten up enough that road bikes can no longer really hit high speeds there without a risk of pinch flatting all the time. Used to be easy to ride the creek trail really fast. Now, not so much.

I don't even live in Dallas, but travel there frequently from my home in New Mexico. I have ridden the trail and around the lake for a solid 12 years. I think it's a safer trail now for cyclists than ever before. There are fewer rollerbladers(fad is dead) and fewer younger people in their early 20's seem to be exercising in the evenings. Alot of trailwalkers or people just farting around seem to use the Katy Trail now instead of White Rock which really releases alot of the foot traffic. I have seen the popularity of the trail use drop off dramatically in the past couple of years. Changing demographic perhaps.

Make no mistake about it. The White Rock Creek Trail was built specifically for bicycle traffic. Period. In 1985 the Dallas Water Utilities swapped some land from the Parks Dept to build watermains under/around/next to the creek. In exchange the Water Utilities built the parks dept the trail along with a kick-in from the Federal Government and TxDOT using bike path funding money. Otherwise it never would have been built.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:53 PM   #17
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I regularly ride out at WRL. I sustain 19-20 mph averages there (solo). I mainly ride on the road and avoid the actual path. I also try to avoid weekends out there. It is just too busy... even the roads get congested with gawkers in slow moving cars going 10 mph.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:01 PM   #18
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"What do you tell soccer players who put their gym bags all over the bike path or even sit in folding chairs on the bike trail itself? The soccer spectators are often drinking cerveza and smoking weed in front of children there."

That's a couple of things I just haven't observed out there, to be honest.

"The trail surface is getting beaten up enough that road bikes can no longer really hit high speeds there without a risk of pinch flatting all the time. Used to be easy to ride the creek trail really fast. Now, not so much."

I doubt soccer players are contributing to the trail being beat up. Here in Garland, on the local MUP, I have on occasion seen police cars driving down it, and I wouldn't be surprised if either police cars or maintenance vehicles haven't caused a lot of the damage there on the White Rock Creek trial. Last time I was out there, there were several spots where the edges of the concrete were broken off.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:10 PM   #19
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I rode the WRT yesterday afternoon. Sure enough- there was a soccer game going on
just south of LBJ and among the spectators was a really little girl who pushed a stroller
out onto the path right in front of me. I expected it though, and had begun slowing down
before she even got onto the path. This behavior wont change. You just have to be ready
for the unexpected.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:31 PM   #20
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"What do you tell soccer players who put their gym bags all over the bike path or even sit in folding chairs on the bike trail itself? The soccer spectators are often drinking cerveza and smoking weed in front of children there."

That's a couple of things I just haven't observed out there, to be honest.

"The trail surface is getting beaten up enough that road bikes can no longer really hit high speeds there without a risk of pinch flatting all the time. Used to be easy to ride the creek trail really fast. Now, not so much."

I doubt soccer players are contributing to the trail being beat up. Here in Garland, on the local MUP, I have on occasion seen police cars driving down it, and I wouldn't be surprised if either police cars or maintenance vehicles haven't caused a lot of the damage there on the White Rock Creek trial. Last time I was out there, there were several spots where the edges of the concrete were broken off.
You must not ride on the weekends. The bike path is packed with Mexicans near the soccer fields. It's adult soccer so their kids run hog wild. Throw in a couple push cart ice cream vendors, a mobile taqueria. Lately they have hired a Dallas Police Officer because the crowd gets into so many fights. When I refer to Mexicans, I mean Mexicans from Mexico.

In regards to the concrete breaking up, much of it is from the creek flooding.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:15 PM   #21
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i like riding the WRL trail; i have only had one semi-unpleasant moment in the 5 - 6 years i've been riding there. earlier this spring had a ricky racer type coming toward me; unfortunately there was a lady up ahead with a stroller; wouldn't you know we all converge on the same location at the same time. i slow way down but ricky racer needed to maintain his pace of about 20mph. apparantly he clipped my handlebars with his finger. he yelled out a loud F___ and was waving / shaking his hand. i felt a little wobble but never any danger of going down. i don't mind using or hearing a few choice words on ocassion but didn't think it was appropriate doing it right in front of some lady pushing a stroller.

anyway, kind of got a laugh out of the guy (probably) busting up his finger because he wouldn't slow down for a couple seconds. if ricky racer is reading this, ha ha.

i ride the road mostly when actually going around the lake (except the stretch of mup next to the botanical garden and past the dam).

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Old 08-01-08, 09:43 PM   #22
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Hey GW,

Maybe that ricky racer was really apacherider from New Mexico that only slows down for animals and children. Maybe he has a sore finger?
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Old 08-06-08, 11:21 AM   #23
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This is a hot topic with the wife and I. We are very new to riding so we are a bit reluctant/unsure of how to react. What we find is that people will come whizzing by us as we amble along at WRL and never announce they are coming around. I know it is our responsibility to hold our line but if we are our on a semi-casual ride I am usually not focused on maintaining a perfectly straight course. I can't begin to count the number of times I am passed, a little closer than I am comfortable, by some racer type. Is it that they are expending so much energy holding their pace that they can't spare enough breath to say "On your left?" Maybe after we have done this for years we will get some kind of spidey sense that will alert us that there is someone coming up--with the wind my ears I can't hear them. There have been times when I see a stone or pile of dog leavings on the road and start easing over to miss it and have someone come by only inches away. A simple alert and I would have held my line or moved the other way.
As an attempt toward positivie reinforcement, I always say thanks to those--in the vast minority--that do announce they are coming around.
The thing that is really bringing this to a head for us is the latest, most egregious example from this past weekend. We were crossing the long bridge on the north side of the lake and two racer types came around while we were on the bridge. Not too bad if we knew they were coming, but the bridge isn't the widest and it was pretty busy with walkers/families and such.
Is it so hard to be courteous. Maybe if you are so fast that you pass EVERYONE else on the trail it gets old having to say "On your left" hundreds of times....
I know this is an old post that I'm responding too, but maybe you'll read it.

First off, yes I'm a GASP "roadie" and have ridden WR a few times when my then girlfriend (now wife) lived in the Dallas area. Now, granted, I understand that you don't race on a MUP and that it is slower speeds, give room for others, etc. I try to avoid MUPs for that exact reason, but CSOM Gal isn't that fast so it works occasionally.

Of the problems I've seen is that often times you get people that don't know how to react to "on your left" (see posts in this thread) and you get too many people with iPods, cell phones, etc. many won't hear it (or a bell for that matter) anyway. So yes, it gets old when either you aren't heard or it doesn't work. Often times, yes, the best course of action, from a roadie perspective is hope that the individual (ped, bike, skateboard, whatever) holds some sort of line, and then just ride by them with enough safe clearance for all. Admittadly, it does create problems if someone doesn't hold their line/speed, which is why I slow down and don't go by at 20+ mph, likely 12-14mph.

If you are still having the problems you're describing, a few pointers which work for us is to 1) make sure you're riding as far right as pracitcal (not hugging the line) and 2) call-out your moves. I don't care if it's not a road. If you are slowing down, turning, changing your lane position, etc. please call those out and let others around you know what you are doing, rather than just swerving without making sure the space you want to occupy is clear. You wouldn't do it in a car, so please don't do it on a bike (I'm also one of those people who hate going to malls because walkers do it too... let's just stop or turn for no apparent reason).

I hope this doesn't come across as snarky, but really just trying to help.
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Old 08-06-08, 07:20 PM   #24
jim10040
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Y'know, when my wife first got her bike, we'd be riding at WRL. I would insist on her leading, cuz I don't want to lose her behind me. For a long time, I'd ride her back tire, and she'd see some flowers or maybe pretty birds or ducks or sometimes just a nice view and screech to a stop (almost) and I'd about run into her. I ride about 5-10 feet behind her now.
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Old 08-06-08, 08:50 PM   #25
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I had to teach my son the stop signal for just the same reason. However I modified it a bit. If he was going to stop, he had to raise a fist in the air so I would see it. Now that he is riding better and faster, we are working on correct hand signals for stops and turns.
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