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Should young children be riding on busy MUPs?

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Should young children be riding on busy MUPs?

Old 05-26-17, 07:33 AM
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Should young children be riding on busy MUPs?

We had a recent tragic case in which a 5-year-old was riding on an MUP beside a busy road, protected by a curb, when he veered off the path into the street and was killed.


Here's a link: Stretch of Lake Shore Road where boy was killed 'a tragedy waiting to happen,' says safety advocate - CBC.ca | Metro Morning


There are often families out on these paths teaching very young kids to ride and it seems to me that it's a bad idea. Obviously one slows down and tries to avoid them as they wobble around with no idea of where the right side is but it seems like a bad idea to be there in the first place. Better barriers might be a good idea but I don't think it the issue in this case.
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Old 05-26-17, 07:47 AM
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The problem isn't the M.U.P. or the age of the users. The M.U.P. should never have been put next to a busy road without a fence or some other sort of barrier.
On M.U.P.'s that are protected from motor traffic, the users, young and old alike, only have to be concerned with the (fortunately rare) bike riders, runners, rollerbladers, etc. who do not have the self-control to travel slowly enough to keep everyone safe. If you see a child up ahead (on a bike or on foot), slow to a crawl or get off your bike and walk it. These paths are supposed to be safe for everyone.
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Old 05-26-17, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
If you see a child up ahead (on a bike or on foot), slow to a crawl or get off your bike and walk it. These paths are supposed to be safe for everyone.
Physical safety is pretty close to the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If a driver sees a child up ahead, even if it's on a MUP that is "protected" by a curb, they have a responsibility to slow down. Every person deserves safety regardless of their age, where they are, or what activity they're doing.
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Old 05-26-17, 08:09 AM
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I grew up riding on suburban streets in southern California and am not sure if my parents were failing to be responsible then or if today we're unrealistically focused on 100% safety. Or perhaps some of today's MUPs are more dangerous for child bicyclists than my neighborhood's streets were.

You do have me considering that I would not recommend young children riding on the most popular local MUP near me because of the high-speed bike traffic on it. There are other paths around here that would be safer for children.
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Old 05-26-17, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
If a driver sees a child up ahead, even if it's on a MUP that is "protected" by a curb, they have a responsibility to slow down.

Agreed but there it is also the responsibility of parents to supervise their young children and not put them in harm's way. MUPs are not just recreational. People actually use them to get somewhere. The idea of getting off and walking every time you see a kid is a bit much.
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Old 05-26-17, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by asmac View Post
Agreed but there it is also the responsibility of parents to supervise their young children and not put them in harm's way. MUPs are not just recreational. People actually use them to get somewhere. The idea of getting off and walking every time you see a kid is a bit much.
In this particular instance, the child was struck by a motor vehicle, not a bicyclist. It was because he fell into traffic that was on the other side of a curb separating vehicles from the MUP. No child deserves to get smashed on the grill of a car. And no one's parents deserve that, either. No amount of blaming the victims is OK in this situation.

Regarding MUPs, since I personally don't use any MUP on a regular basis I have no comment about how an adult user of such should accommodate a child user. However, I would hazard a guess "with all respect due". Just because the presence of a child poses an inconvenience for an adult using a MUP doesn't mean the child or their parents are doing something wrong.

Discretion on a case by case basis. Again, safety is a fairly basic need; everyone deserve safety.

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Old 05-26-17, 09:51 AM
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Tragedy
but 5 yo kids can't safely control a bike
many parents don't have any feel for what is safe
"I did it when I was a kid-I didn't die-so my kid won't"
It is the parent's fault-
a kid-barely more than a toddler- didn't belong anywhere NEAR car traffic

The MUP-tiny curb- the curb MIGHT make it more dangerous-bump it sideswipe it-and you will lose control-kind or adult
better off without the curb-
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Old 05-26-17, 09:59 AM
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It's not a matter of blaming victims (a go-to conversation stopper in A&S) but a matter of looking at the cause of a tragedy and thinking about how another similar incident might be avoided. I'm sure the parents are doing enough self-blaming and I expect they wish they had never gone for that ride.


In my opinion, anyone using a busy path should have the ability and judgment to use it safely and we should act reasonably to accommodate others. I wouldn't send a young kid down a busy ski hill on their first day out on the assumption everyone else would avoid them and I would apply the same to an MUP. Anyhow, I'm very fortunate I was never caught out when making an error in judgment with my kids. There but for the grace of god...
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Old 05-26-17, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by asmac View Post
We had a recent tragic case in which a 5-year-old was riding on an MUP beside a busy road, protected by a curb, when he veered off the path into the street and was killed.


Here's a link: Stretch of Lake Shore Road where boy was killed 'a tragedy waiting to happen,' says safety advocate - CBC.ca | Metro Morning


There are often families out on these paths teaching very young kids to ride and it seems to me that it's a bad idea. Obviously one slows down and tries to avoid them as they wobble around with no idea of where the right side is but it seems like a bad idea to be there in the first place. Better barriers might be a good idea but I don't think it the issue in this case.

You should have titled this thread differently, because it doesn't seem like the article is about a "busy MUP" at all.... it's about a child who fell into high-speed traffic within more-or-less 6 inches of a MUP, which had no protective barrier in between.
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Old 05-26-17, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by asmac View Post
It's not a matter of blaming victims (a go-to conversation stopper in A&S) but a matter of looking at the cause of a tragedy and thinking about how another similar incident might be avoided. I'm sure the parents are doing enough self-blaming and I expect they wish they had never gone for that ride.


In my opinion, anyone using a busy path should have the ability and judgment to use it safely and we should act reasonably to accommodate others. I wouldn't send a young kid down a busy ski hill on their first day out on the assumption everyone else would avoid them and I would apply the same to an MUP. Anyhow, I'm very fortunate I was never caught out when making an error in judgment with my kids. There but for the grace of god...

The article is not about a busy MUP. It's about a traffic-related death. They even state in the article that it's an infrastructure problem, and no one was at fault.
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Old 05-26-17, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
The article is not about a busy MUP. It's about a traffic-related death. They even state in the article that it's an infrastructure problem, and no one was at fault.


As it happens it is a busy MUP that I use regularly and I have never felt unsafe. Some people are trying to turn it into an infrastructure issue and ignoring the fact that no one should be riding there if they can't control where they are going. I see it all the time and think it's worth discussing.
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Old 05-26-17, 10:39 AM
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Early on, cyclist lobbied and worked for the construction of Bike Paths for commuting away from motorized traffic. Cyclist especially wanted cut throughs for more direct routes in the suburbs.

Cyclist lobbied and got 1% of Federal Transportation funds for use in building Bike Paths for commuting. Cyclist were happy with the new Bike Paths and politicians were happy to have those cyclist off car roads.

Cyclist used the Bike Paths for safe fast transportation as well as safe recreation and safely teaching our kids how to ride a bicycle. All was fine in cycling world.

Hikers and dog walkers got jealous with the Bike Paths. Their sidewalks were no longer good enough. So they started hiking and walking their dogs on the Bike Paths. These walkers demanded to be allowed legally on the Bike Paths. Not wanting to loose votes, Politicians had a solution, let us just rename these transportation Bike Paths into Multi-Use Paths (MUPs).

The walkers then wanted Bike Paths now called MUPs to be more like sidewalks but not sidewalks, and complained about the fast commuting cyclist that the Bike Paths now called MUPs were designed for. So Politicians put up 10 mph speed limit signs.

Then slow recreational cyclist began to whine unendingly about fellow cyclist who cycled too fast for the slow cyclist liking (you know, the fast commuting cyclist that got the Bike Paths now called MUPs build in the first place). So they began calling the fellow cyclist kitted or racer wannabe boys as terms of derision and demanded those kinds of cyclist use the car roads for their fast cycling.

Now these Bike Paths now called MUPs are no longer useful for transportation. That does not stop Politicians from demanding that the 1% of Federal Transportation funds be used for these new MUPs, all that is required is that they lie, claiming the new MUP is primarily for transportation use.

Now slow cyclist want to even kick the kids off the Bike Paths now called MUPs.



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Old 05-26-17, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by asmac View Post
There are often families out on these paths teaching very young kids to ride and it seems to me that it's a bad idea.
MUPS (busy ones) are not really appropriate places for "teaching very young kids".
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Old 05-26-17, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
It was because he fell into traffic that was on the other side of a curb separating vehicles from the MUP.
The path appears to be at curb level. The curb really isn't a barrier. Riders can just roll off the path into the roadway.

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.6346...=en&authuser=0
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Old 05-26-17, 11:10 AM
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When I was ridding when my kids were that age, he would ride between me and the side of the road. I prefer if he would run into me than hit by a car.
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Old 05-26-17, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
You should have titled this thread differently, because it doesn't seem like the article is about a "busy MUP" at all.... it's about a child who fell into high-speed traffic within more-or-less 6 inches of a MUP, which had no protective barrier in between.
A road safety advocate is calling on the city to install more barriers between roadways and bike lanes after a 5-year-old boy was killed on Wednesday while cycling on Lake Shore Boulevard.
The terminology of the above quote is a bit misleading... at least to an American reader. This is an actual path not a "bike lane." It does parallel the Lake Shore Blvd as can be seen here in this google map link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ma....4288342?hl=en

Technically it might be considered a "sidepath," except it does not just parallel the road, but leaves that proximity and goes through some parks.

The argument given in the OP and other comments is regarding children on paths being in danger. The danger here is actually the proximity to the road and that someone young and unguided might go out on the road or fall into the road. This is a completely different issue from that of speed differential on a bike path or MUP.

Now, having said all that, about a path I have never been on, and merely researched on the web... let me say this about bike paths for transportation and MUPs: Any users of any transportation facilities, be they sidewalks, MUPs, paths, horse trails, or just plain old streets is responsible for not hitting or colliding with those in front of them. It really is that simple. You must take caution to avoid hitting those folks in front of you... regardless of your mode. If you are driving, you do not hit the cars, bikes, or pedestrians in front of you. If you are cycling, you do not hit the slower cyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, etc in front of you. If you are running, you do not hit the walking people in front of you.

It really is that simple... anyone closing on anyone else in front of them, has the responsibility to avoid hitting what is in front of them.

Now we can go on to best designs for MUPs and high speed paths and all the discussions that rise from good and bad design. I will throw in my own anecdote about a particular transportation path in San Diego. This is the route 56 path that runs from Poway area to Sorrento Valley. This path was in part designed by Cal Trans to allow transportation cyclists to commute from the east county to the area of Sorrento Valley when a farm highway was converted to a limited access freeway.

Most of the path is well designed, with two wide well marked lanes, access to traffic light signal buttons and high quality bridges that span the gorges in the area.

https://www.google.com/maps/@32.9665...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

https://www.bikeforums.net/images/attach/jpg.gif
https://www.bikeforums.net/images/attach/jpg.gif
https://www.bikeforums.net/images/attach/jpg.gif

The turns are wide, the visibility generally good and the ramps to and from this path are well laid out... right up to the street... but this is where the fail begins to happen. Where the path meets the various surface streets, there are no signs and no curb cuts. So if you happen to be on the surface street above, you may notice the path, but you have no real notification that it exists, and no easy access to it. I contacted the engineers that designed the path and asked why this situation occurred. I was told it was so "the kiddos using the path would not ride out into the busy streets..." This of course is quite counter to the original design idea, that transportation cyclists would use this path.

The path design is further marred by proximity to a condominium complex, where it does become a mommy path full of small children and wandering mothers who tend to converse in packed groups... again somewhat counter to the needs of transportation cyclists.

https://www.google.com/maps/@32.9480...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

The path is further marred in one location by crossing the top of a water weir, which at times is wet, and grows slippery algae... again, counter to the needs of transportation cyclists... or anyone, for that matter that doesn't want to slip and fall. https://www.google.com/maps/@32.9430...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

The photos below (we used to be able to embed these into the text... ) show the best parts of the path.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
bridge.JPG (43.4 KB, 226 views)
File Type: jpg
underpass_freeway.JPG (50.6 KB, 222 views)
File Type: jpg
offramp.JPG (41.8 KB, 226 views)

Last edited by genec; 05-26-17 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 05-26-17, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Early on, cyclist lobbied and worked for the construction of Bike Paths for commuting away from motorized traffic. Cyclist especially wanted cut throughs for more direct routes in the suburbs.

Cyclist lobbied and got 1% of Federal Transportation funds for use in building Bike Paths for commuting. Cyclist were happy with the new Bike Paths and politicians were happy to have those cyclist off car roads.

Cyclist used the Bike Paths for safe fast transportation as well as safe recreation and safely teaching our kids how to ride a bicycle. All was fine in cycling world.

Hikers and dog walkers got jealous with the Bike Paths. Their sidewalks were no longer good enough. So they started hiking and walking their dogs on the Bike Paths. These walkers demanded to be allowed legally on the Bike Paths. Not wanting to loose votes, Politicians had a solution, let us just rename these transportation Bike Paths into Multi-Use Paths (MUPs).

The walkers then wanted Bike Paths now called MUPs to be more like sidewalks but not sidewalks, and complained about the fast commuting cyclist that the Bike Paths now called MUPs were designed for. So Politicians put up 10 mph speed limit signs.

Then slow recreational cyclist began to whine unendingly about fellow cyclist who cycled too fast for the slow cyclist liking (you know, the fast commuting cyclist that got the Bike Paths now called MUPs build in the first place). So they began calling the fellow cyclist kitted or racer wannabe boys as terms of derision and demanded those kinds of cyclist use the car roads for their fast cycling.

Now these Bike Paths now called MUPs are no longer useful for transportation. That does not stop Politicians from demanding that the 1% of Federal Transportation funds be used for these new MUPs, all that is required is that they lie, claiming the new MUP is primarily for transportation use.

Now slow cyclist want to even kick the kids off the Bike Paths now called MUPs.



.
Yeah, it seems like every little group wants their own chunk of "path" of some sort that they can use to "get away" from "busy traffic." That alone is somewhat telling about the intrusion of the automobile into every day life and how we need to escape from that "intrusion." But we keep building cars and faster and faster roads... go figure.
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Old 05-26-17, 12:47 PM
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The answer is yes. Kids should be riding on busy MUPs. They are M UPs. Parents should supervise closely. Other users should exercise a great deal of care in negotiating the young 'uns. SLOW down.
Never pass up an opportunity to tell kids they have a cool bike or a cool helmet.
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Old 05-26-17, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
Physical safety is pretty close to the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If a driver sees a child up ahead, even if it's on a MUP that is "protected" by a curb, they have a responsibility to slow down. Every person deserves safety regardless of their age, where they are, or what activity they're doing.
I agree with you! I believe in the concept of vulnerable users, which is every one not in a metal cage.
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Old 05-26-17, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Never pass up an opportunity to tell kids they have a cool bike or a cool helmet.
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Old 05-26-17, 01:49 PM
  #21  
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Old 05-26-17, 02:36 PM
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reminds me one of the 1st times I rode the Cape Cod Rail Trail start to finish. I had been commuting so I was all decked out with hi-viz shirt & strobes. came upon a cpl w a young boy on a 2 wheeler coming in the opposite direction. he was barely keeping it upright, must have just taken his training wheels off. his parents were on bikes right behind him. they were headed toward a road crossing I had just passed. the little tike looked up at me & lost it, falling down as I passed. the parents gave me a dirty look. I felt bad for distracting the young rider. almost stopped to apologize

when my kids were this novice at riding, we were on recreational areas away from ppl. not until they were proficient & in control, did we take them out in public w other riders
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Old 05-26-17, 02:37 PM
  #23  
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You know, it all depends on the kid, or even the adult. Last week when I went on my MUP, there was a father with his daughter, who looked like she was about 7, and she was ALL over the path (as was her dad, on his fat bike...), then a few minutes later, a dad with his 5-year old were both riding quite well, and pretty fast, too. The 5 year old wasn't using training wheels, and he seemed to have remarkable control and awareness.

But, no, the MUP is NOT the place to introduce a small kid to cycling. First, you need to spend time on a driveway, followed by at least a couple hours in a vacant parking lot.
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Old 05-26-17, 02:44 PM
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The notion that this is dangerous or an "accident waiting to happen" implies that everyone living along a busy road shouldn't allow their children to play in front of their houses.

Yes, there's a risk, but it's not outrageous or even much greater than the everyday risks of living in the city. I'll venture that there are far more children injured riding on sidewalks and/or crossing streets and driveways than on MUPs along busy roads (even after norming for usage numbers).

I find it annoying that folks seize on every tragedy to claim that something or other is inherently dangerous, or that parents are somehow neglectful. Stuff happens, and the only way to ensure a safe world is to keep children (and adults) securely locked in their homes (and even that isn't safe).
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Old 05-26-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
the MUP is NOT the place to introduce a small kid to cycling. First, you need to spend time on a driveway, followed by at least a couple hours in a vacant parking lot.
since my kids had been playing t-ball it dawned on me to teach them on the dirt field they were accustomed to. plus it offered a soft landing (even tho I had them loaded up with safety gear like knee pads, gloves, wrist guards & helmets LOL. I especially remember my son's experience. he had gotten over the fear of playing ball & running the bases etc. amazing what team sports will do for a kid. so we began small. ride from home plate to 1st base. then try two bases. it took a little while. a cpl falls. was so proud of him dusting himself off & getting back on to try again. no tears. & I remember his big smile when he made it all around for a home run! when my daughter made the same accomplishment I got it on tape

Last edited by rumrunn6; 05-26-17 at 02:53 PM.
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