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Old 04-08-07, 02:09 PM   #1
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Bike-Force Trauma [Wash. Post]

2 letters to the editor expressing safety concerns between pedestrians and cyclists on a busy MUP.

Quote:
Bike-Force Trauma
A Cyclist and a Walker: Two Distinct Perspectives On One Bloody Collision on the Capital Crescent Trail
Sunday, April 8, 2007; Page B08

...
I had been jockeying for position with a fellow cyclist when I approached a score of cyclists and pedestrians in a semicircle, all looking down. My eyes followed their horror. A petite woman was face down on the pavement, with a pool of blood just inches from her head. She apparently had been hit by a cyclist.
...

Bike-Force Trauma
I commute on this trail every day to/from work. Naturally in the mornings and all Winter there is never an issue with over crowding competing users. But Spring through Fall in the early evenings I sometimes find it tough to make my way through all the people out for evening strolls. I've learned to be patient and pass only when it is safe and at a slow speed.

But it seems a shame that because of a lack of comparable facilities we all are crowed into this one thin 8 foot lane.
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Old 04-08-07, 02:16 PM   #2
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Are you compelled to use this path or do you have a choice to ride in the street instead? If the path is that crowded I would choose an alternative route on the street.
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Old 04-08-07, 02:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
Are you compelled to use this path or do you have a choice to ride in the street instead? If the path is that crowded I would choose an alternative route on the street.
Just compelled by the beauty of 6 miles of car-free travel through pleasant woodlands. My commute is 10 miles. 4 miles through downtown DC followed by 6 miles of this trail. I could travel, as the crow flies, straight to work and while it would shave a few miles it would probably take just as long and not be nearly as pleasant.

Fortunately for me the section of the trail I ride is not so heavily used so it's not much of a bother for me to go around the few walkers. Other sections of the trail, particularly on week-ends, can look like the beach on the 4th of July!
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Old 04-08-07, 02:52 PM   #4
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- i've done more than 7,000 miles in the last year cycling on MUPs... the 'regulars' and 'locals' know what to do and how to act...

- it's the obnoxious, clueless, and tourist that causes mayhem...

- i have seen parents w/small children riding bikes w/no helmets, idiots from out of town going down the MUP on the left-hand side, yelling "Get out of the way!", dog-walkers with multiple dogs straddling the MUPs with retractable leashes, dog-walkers with no dogs on leashes, spawners w/tiny tots wandering the breadth of the MUPs, etc.

- you get the idea...

- many people are IDIOTS!

(i'm not saying that's what happened in this case; there are PLENTY of obnoxious roadie wannabes who ride w/no responsibility - the same f**kers who are cagers and drive the same way, no doubt)
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Old 04-08-07, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
The walker - She thinks that any rule forbidding headphones would be unfair, asserting that walkers and runners have an equal right to enjoy the trail. A headphone ban, she says, would be misdirected, because it should be bikers' responsibility to yield to those on foot until a bike lane is specifically designated.
Unwilling to share the responibility for safety and apparently thinks cyclist should be banned from the bike path until they get their own separate facility. I have had too many walkers just do a U-turn on the bike path, right in front of me, with headphones on and not bothering to look before they move out of their lane. Same rules, same rights, same responsibilities.
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Old 04-08-07, 03:05 PM   #6
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Not a good place to ride when it's going to be crowded so why bother?
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Old 04-08-07, 03:06 PM   #7
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A similar case in Hawaii:
Honolulu City Council Chairman jogging on Pearl Harbor Bike Path hit by cyclist and suffered broken arm and/or dislocated shoulder. Cyclist was never located. (I think the jogger actually turned un-expectantly in front of the cyclist, but we only got to hear one side of the story). I had warned the City Council Chairman about unsafe pedestrian practices on the bike path by him and people campaigning for him a couple of months before he got hurt.
I also reminded him that the law prohibited any activity on this path other than cycling, law enforcement or maintenance. He was the one breaking the law when he got hit.
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Old 04-08-07, 03:31 PM   #8
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I think this path was multi-use. It's funny how cyclists don't like it when cars treat them poorly out on the road but when the same cyclist gets on a MUP they act just like the cars. They ride too fast for the conditions and pass others too close. Unless you have a good sight-line way down the path, anything faster than 10 MPH is too fast.
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Old 04-08-07, 03:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
I think this path was multi-use. It's funny how cyclists don't like it when cars treat them poorly out on the road but when the same cyclist gets on a MUP they act just like the cars. They ride too fast for the conditions and pass others too close. Unless you have a good sight-line way down the path, anything faster than 10 MPH is too fast.
True, but I have no reservation in finding fault with a cyclist in traffic who does a U-turn without looking and causes an accident.
Same rules, same rights, same responsibilities; Road or MUP.

If you want to walk on a MUP while wearing headphones, at least us an eyeglass mounted mirror to make up for your reduced hearing.
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Old 04-08-07, 03:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI
True, but I have no reservation in finding fault with a cyclist in traffic who does a U-turn without looking and causes an accident.
Same rules, same rights, same responsibilities; Road or MUP.
A MUP is not a road. On road you have all vehicles (excepting at intersections in crosswalks). On a MUP you have a mixture of vehicles that can easily cruise at 25 MPH mixed it with pedestrians. Not only that, a road is for transportation and a MUP is for recreations. It may very from MUP to MUP but but most have posted regulations stating that cyclists have to yield to all other trail users. This is also the standard NORBA rule of the trail. Some MUPs have posted speed limits. That's a blanket yield unlike on the road where all users are equal. If the cyclist in question had slowed to a reasonable overtaking speed then even if there were a collision, it would not have knocked the woman unconscious.

As always it is up to the overtaking vehicle to exercise all due caution when overtaking and only overtake when safe to do so.
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Old 04-08-07, 04:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
Are you compelled to use this path or do you have a choice to ride in the street instead? If the path is that crowded I would choose an alternative route on the street.
By the same token, I would wonder why pedestrians don't use the fine sidewalks typically supplied all over a city that many motorists believe cyclists should be using.
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Old 04-08-07, 04:32 PM   #12
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I know why they don't use them on the beach in Santa Barbara and walk on the bike path instead. It's because the bike path is on the beach and away from the cars. Who would prefer to walk next to a busy noisy road when you could walk on the beach where it's quieter and there's less pollution?

I'm sure John Forester would just say it's all about their inferiority phobia or whatever.
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Old 04-08-07, 04:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
II'm sure John Forester would just say it's all about their inferiority phobia or whatever.
Actually, I think if JF read some of the postings here and at the Washington Post he might conclude that MUP riding cyclists had a superiority issue...
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Old 04-08-07, 05:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
... Not only that, a road is for transportation and a MUP is for recreations...
Then why did ISTEA, TEA21 and follow ons all require a transportational use certification, before these federal funds could be used for the construction of such MUPs?
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Old 04-08-07, 06:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I know why they don't use them on the beach in Santa Barbara and walk on the bike path instead. It's because the bike path is on the beach and away from the cars. Who would prefer to walk next to a busy noisy road when you could walk on the beach where it's quieter and there's less pollution?

I'm sure John Forester would just say it's all about their inferiority phobia or whatever.
Silly, Diane. I have no problem with people carrying on their activities in the ways that serve them best, provided there is no undue harm done to others. The assumption behind Diane's statement is that the prime aim of the activity is walking. If the prime aim of the activity is transportation, then one needs to consider origin, destination, time available, time to travel by the different possible routes, and such matters before coming to an evaluation of the different routes.
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Old 04-08-07, 06:31 PM   #16
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galen_52657

"Actually, I think if JF read some of the postings here and at the Washington Post he might conclude that MUP riding cyclists had a superiority issue..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI
Then why did ISTEA, TEA21 and follow ons all require a transportational use certification, before these federal funds could be used for the construction of such MUPs?
Not quite. I do say that the high-speed cyclists are using the transportational bike paths in the intended way. When we established the safety design standards for bike paths, one of those standards was design for a safe speed of 25 mph, largely at my insistence. We looked on bike paths as miniature roadways, to be used as such. What we failed to anticipate was the lawless behavior of bike path users; we rather thought that the users would be cyclists who operated in the vehicular manner. Some paths that do provide useful transportation routes attract only vehicular cyclists in early week-day mornings, and these can be used as intended. However, the same paths in the afternoon attract chaotic traffic that prevents such use.

Of course, it is difficult to separate transportational from recreational use, for both roadways and bike paths. A considerable part of the traffic on roadways is recreational; however, very few highways have been built as purely recreational facilities. And, the recreational use has to be according to the traffic laws. For bike paths, the situation is different. Because the funding laws require that the facilities to be built have a largely transportational purpose, bicycle advocates have overstated the transportational aspect of a great many bike paths and have understated the recreational problems. It would be better if many bike paths had been built with park and recreational funds and accepted as recreational facilities, rather than trying to produce transportational facilities that are not very good at providing that function.
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Old 04-08-07, 07:08 PM   #17
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Notice that the ped's solutions were all restrictions on cyclists while the cyclist suggested that all path users (including cyclists) act more predicatably and responsibly. The ped thinks that banning headphone use would be "unfair." How could that possibly be unfair? She needs to start paying attention to what's going on around her and taking responsiblity for herself and her baby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
A MUP is not a road. . . .
An MUP is much more like a road than a sidewalk. I agree that cyclists must pass safely, but like cyclists on the road, pedestrians on an MUP must stay aware of their surroundings. If pedestrians want a nice leisurely stroll, or if they want to walk/run side-by-side, they should use a sidewalk or a nature path. If they want to be on an MUP, they have to take the personal responsibility to be aware of their surroundings, and that means (among other things) not wearing headphones.

Forester is right about the lawlessness of MUP's, especially when the weather is good. In Columbus, there are posted "rules," but there's no law to back up the "rules." They are really just suggestions. Like some others who have posted in this thread, I avoid MUP's on nice days. There are too many idiots--too many cyclists who don't know how to ride safely around others and too many stupid, oblivious, irresponsible pedestrians like Ms. Ratner.

All that said, on crowded MUP's we cyclists must go slow enough to stop if the idiot in front of us takes two steps in the wrong direction at the wrong time. It appears that the cyclist violated that basic safety rule. Ratner was still stupid, oblivious and irresponsible, but the cyclist could have and should have prevented the accident.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 04-15-07 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 04-09-07, 06:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI
Then why did ISTEA, TEA21 and follow ons all require a transportational use certification, before these federal funds could be used for the construction of such MUPs?
Not sure who funded MUPs here in Maryland but I doubt any federal funds where used and if they where used, they were Open Space funds. The MUPs in Maryland are staffed and maintained by the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, not the State Highway Administration. MD DNR maintains all state-owned parks.

MUPs are considered linear parks.
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Old 04-09-07, 08:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
A MUP is not a road. On road you have all vehicles (excepting at intersections in crosswalks). On a MUP you have a mixture of vehicles that can easily cruise at 25 MPH mixed it with pedestrians. Not only that, a road is for transportation and a MUP is for recreations. It may very from MUP to MUP but but most have posted regulations stating that cyclists have to yield to all other trail users. This is also the standard NORBA rule of the trail. Some MUPs have posted speed limits. That's a blanket yield unlike on the road where all users are equal. If the cyclist in question had slowed to a reasonable overtaking speed then even if there were a collision, it would not have knocked the woman unconscious.

As always it is up to the overtaking vehicle to exercise all due caution when overtaking and only overtake when safe to do so.
Everyone is correct that the Capital Crescent Trail is a MUP. But there are rules for all users.

http://www.cctrail.org/CCT_Safety.htm

In a practical sense, there is a reasonable level of caution for all users of the trail. I don't interpret the language to mean that the faster moving person must slow down to the point that if a collision were to occur, that the slower moving person would be uninjured to any serious degree. My interpretation is more along the lines that the faster moving person take actions such that the risk of an accident and or injury is at a reasonable level.

Of course the language is fuzzy and open to interpretation, but that is the problem with such rules. This is the reason I prefer rules like

http://www.arlingtonva.us/Department...icesBike3.aspx

Although it fails to mention portable music players, cell phones, and so on.
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Old 04-09-07, 08:52 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
MUPs are considered linear parks.
In Northern Virginia, the MUPs/trails are under the control of environmental services or state park authorities.

http://www.nvrpa.org/trailrules.html

I am not as familiar with Maryland's trails and associated rules, but I believe that you are correct Galen. Although Maryland, Virginia, and DC all publish maps and guides that refer to the regions trails--such at the WOD and CCT--as bike commuter routes.
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Old 04-14-07, 12:42 PM   #21
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ISTEA - Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991

It is possible that MUPs in the Maryland, Virginia, and DC areas built before 1991 did not use federal funds. At that time, as well, the (then known as) Bike Paths were under the respective Parks departments.

The 1990 Earth Day - Bike to Work day organized an event with congressmen and senators pushing the passing of ISTEA (which I attended). Each of the Maryland, Virginia, and DC bicycle advocacy groups pushed for the funding for bike paths to increase bicycle transportation. ISTEA passed, and the groups began to push state legislators to get the federal funding by providing the states share of the funding.

I believe any new paths/MUPs built after 1991 did use federal funding, even if the real intent was for the paths to be recreational. This is common throughout the country - states simply lied about the intent of the paths. The operational authority simply remained with the departments (parks) that had the responsibility prior to ISTEA.
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Old 04-14-07, 05:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Ratner
She thinks that any rule forbidding headphones would be unfair, asserting that walkers and runners have an equal right to enjoy the trail.
How is using headphones in anyway related to enjoying the trail? This goes for cyclists and pedestrians alike. If you want to listen to music, do it at home and not out on the trail. Limiting your ability to hear on a multimodal trail where your safety may depend on your hearing is foolish, not to mention the fact that you are blocking out the sounds of nature, which is part of the enjoyment of the trail.
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Old 04-18-07, 08:46 AM   #23
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What that article shows me is that lady takes no responsibility for her role in the accident. She was wearing headphones and couldn't hear. A cyclist warned her and she got hit- because she was wearing headphones. There were witnesses to the accident. It probably doses not even occur to her that maybe no one tried to get the cyclists info because they thought it was her fault.

Then she plays the "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN" card and I lose any sympathy for her whatsoever. I Accidents happen- get over it.
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Old 04-18-07, 08:52 AM   #24
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Operator of vehicle is always required to control vehicle. This includes slowing to appropriate speed. Peds always have right-of-way on trail (unless area is demarcated cycling only). Woman may or may not have been a ditz but that does not relieve cyclist of the responsibility for slowing down and passing when safe to do so. Expecting people to hear/understand/get out of your way are all useless arguments.
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Old 04-18-07, 09:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
Expecting people to hear/understand/get out of your way are all useless arguments.
Hmmm, I disagree that it is useless. There are probably legal precedents where the passer took reasonable action to avoid a collision and subsequently avoided liability for the accident.

Note that the operative word here is reasonable. Precisely what that means is subjective.
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