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Do bicyclists have the right to...?

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Do bicyclists have the right to...?

Old 08-29-18, 10:49 PM
  #1  
zze86
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Do bicyclists have the right to...?

This is in partial response to another recent thread but instead of hijacking it, figured it may be better off as another post.

Granted, the measure taken by the rider in the first video was a bit extreme (honking at everybody who crossed him with a air horn) but a second video showed a gentleman casually singing "Bike lane! You're in the bike lane!" and ringing his bell while weaving through the New Year's crowd. While it was rather tastefully well done on his part I wonder if maybe he would have been just better walking (maybe not, just sayin; I know it can be rather difficult to walk a bike through heavy traffic).

Which got me thinking, is it always the case that cyclists have the right to the bike lane? When driving a car, you are supposed to yield to pedestrians regardless of whether a cross signal is in effect or not, whether the pedestrian is jay walking or whatever. Obviously the police would not look kindly upon the pedestrian if the pedestrian was casually strolling through a highway or busy road and apt to cause harm to themself or cause traffic incidents but for the most part the pedestrian has the right of way.

I used to race cars once upon a time, time trial events where there were multiple classes/cars on the course at the same time. One of the simple rules was if there was an accident, it was always the faster guys fault regardless of what the slower guy was doing and the driver doing the overtaking was ejected from the course for the day.

I read posts on here all the time about "idiot pedestrians" whether in the bike lane or on the MUP. I get it. I commute on an almost daily basis and have to deal with pedestrians all the time, some of who ARE idiots but that doesn't defeat the fact that I should be yielding to them at all times. It can be annoying, aggravating and, admittedly, overwhelming so that it is ignored at times.

How do you feel about the issue? Is the pedstrian or cyclists that should be yielding in the bike lane? MUPs? Is it the responsibility of the faster to yield to the slower or vice versa?
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Old 08-29-18, 11:00 PM
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I think that 100% bikes should have control of the bike lane. It's got bikes painted on it every 200 feet, and signs all over the place that say BIKE LANE. Pedestrians are also supposed to walk opposing traffic. But once they see a bike lane to walk in, they're walking with traffic 95% of the time, so I have to go out into the traffic flow to get around them. Like the morons that leisurely walk up the dead-center middle of the aisle in the parking lot. It's not a walking lot. It's for cars. Get the hell out of the way. Same for the bike lane. It's not the walking lane. Luckily, I live in the depths of SoCal urban sprawl, and not a big city. If I were to face the conditions present in the two aforementioned videos, I'd probably give up trying to ride the bike.
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Old 08-30-18, 12:05 AM
  #3  
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Yield is one thing, evasive action is another.
I’d be ”happy” to yield to a pedestrian crossing in an orderly fashion, or temporarily using the bike lane to pass an obstacle. But I have a limited patience for mindless weaving and simply standing in the way. It IS the BIKE LANE after all.
I don’t do Strava, haven’t chased a personal best on my commute in years.
But I do have a fair distance to cover, and I prefer to do it with some efficiency.
Repeatedly having to brake due to the actions of those totally oblivious to the existence of the bike lane will eventually start to annoy me.
To draw a parallel to that racing comparison, I bet there’s some clause along the lines of ”as long as the car being overtaken is acting predictably.”
If the guy ahead suddenly decides to see if he’s tracking straight under hard braking, or tries to recreate that knocking he thought he heard from the steering linkage last weekend w/o checking if the rear is clear, he might very well be the one asked to leave the track.
Rules at sea also place the bulk of responsibility on the manouvering vessel, but there’s a sub-clause about the vessel being overtaken is expected to ”maintain course and speed” i.e. behaving predictably.
Several years ago there was an article about a Dutch town that had revised the inner city traffic rules. Basically made the capacity for injury proportional to responsibility. Trucks gave way to cars and everything smaller, cars to bicycles and everything smaller, bicycles to pedestrians.
The journalist thought he’d spotted something and said:”but that leaves people free to do as they please when they face a (bigger) vehicle. Doesn’t that simply lead to chaos?”
And the Mayor ( or whichever town official it was) replied:”oh, no. All road users are still required to behave sensibly”.
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Old 08-30-18, 12:09 AM
  #4  
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Read the statutes in your city and state. They vary. What we say here will not hold up in court. Hopefully, what is written into law does.

Ben
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Old 08-30-18, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by zze86 View Post
Which got me thinking, is it always the case that cyclists have the right to the bike lane? When driving a car, you are supposed to yield to pedestrians regardless of whether a cross signal is in effect or not ...
In a word: no.

As you point out, the laws basically (generally) clearly state that slower-moving, more at-risk occupants of a lane must be yielded to. No matter whether some other law or ordinance stipulates that such people should find another means of getting from point A to B. (As with signage on highways stating 'mopeds, skateboards, pedestrians, etc' are not allowed on the highway.) Same on the "high seas" as well. Slower-moving boats are not expected to magically jet aside in order to make way for faster, overtaking craft.

IMO, it's simply bad form to forcibly eject people out of a path for their daring to be an occupant of that path. Ask, sure, via bells or horns or vocals. But nowhere near to the degree Mr. Horn (from the other thread) did. In short, just as there's no absolute right to a lane, there's also no right to effectively assault others along the way ... no matter what one things of their occupancy of the lane.
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Old 08-30-18, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by zze86 View Post
When driving a car, you are supposed to yield to pedestrians regardless of whether a cross signal is in effect or not, whether the pedestrian is jay walking or whatever.
A pedestrian can be ticketed for jaywalking, etc, for walking in an unsafe manner.

A driver/rider is supposed to yield in that it is Not permissible to ram a pedestrians. The pedestrian does not have a Legal 'right of way" as other safety laws apply---pedestrians cannot walk wherever they want and say "Car's have to stop of go around." Legally a driver cannot hit a pedestrian, Even if the pedestrian is breaking the law.

I am sure you could get pedestrians ticketed Eventually, after hours of footage of bad behavior ... but I am not sure most police forces would want to issue a ticket in most cases ---but as with cars and walkers, the fact that you cannot ram them does not equate to them having a Right to be there.
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Old 08-30-18, 03:38 AM
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Thread moved from General Cycling to A+S.
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Old 08-30-18, 04:04 AM
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I appreciated the comment that the legal requirements may vary. But what is the safe and courteous thing to do? 1. Always put safety first, regardless of who is "right" or "wrong." 2. Always act with courtesy even with others do not. 3. Always be an ambassador for a friendly and safe bike environment and culture - treat everyone as a potential ally.
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Old 08-30-18, 04:39 AM
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I'd say there are no absolutes here. It obviously isn't acceptable to plough into a bunch of pedestrians no matter what the right of way is. If someone steps into the path of a speeding cyclist without looking then I'd say the pedestrian is at fault.
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Old 08-30-18, 05:46 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by zze86 View Post
This is in partial response to another recent thread but instead of hijacking it, figured it may be better off as another post.

Granted, the measure taken by the rider in the first video was a bit extreme (honking at everybody who crossed him with a air horn) but a second video showed a gentleman casually singing "Bike lane! You're in the bike lane!" and ringing his bell while weaving through the New Year's crowd. While it was rather tastefully well done on his part I wonder if maybe he would have been just better walking (maybe not, just sayin; I know it can be rather difficult to walk a bike through heavy traffic).

Which got me thinking, is it always the case that cyclists have the right to the bike lane...

I read posts on here all the time about "idiot pedestrians" whether in the bike lane or on the MUP. I get it. I commute on an almost daily basis and have to deal with pedestrians all the time, some of who ARE idiots but that doesn't defeat the fact that I should be yielding to them at all times. It can be annoying, aggravating and, admittedly, overwhelming so that it is ignored at times.

How do you feel about the issue? Is the pedstrian or cyclists that should be yielding in the bike lane? MUPs? Is it the responsibility of the faster to yield to the slower or vice versa?
Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
In a word: no.

As you point out, the laws basically (generally) clearly state that slower-moving, more at-risk occupants of a lane must be yielded to. No matter whether some other law or ordinance stipulates that such people should find another means of getting from point A to B. (As with signage on highways stating 'mopeds, skateboards, pedestrians, etc' are not allowed on the highway.)

Same on the "high seas" as well. Slower-moving boats are not expected to magically jet aside in order to make way for faster, overtaking craft.

IMO, it's simply bad form to forcibly eject people out of a path for their daring to be an occupant of that path. Ask, sure, via bells or horns or vocals. But nowhere near to the degree Mr. Horn (from the other thread) did. In short, just as there's no absolute right to a lane, there's also no right to effectively assault others along the way ... no matter what one [thinks] of their occupancy of the lane.
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
…A driver/rider is supposed to yield in that it is Not permissible to ram a pedestrians…Even if the pedestrian is breaking the law….

but as with cars and walkers, the fact that you cannot ram them does not equate to them having a Right to be there.
Originally Posted by practical View Post
I appreciated the comment that the legal requirements may vary. But what is the safe and courteous thing to do?

1. Always put safety first, regardless of who is "right" or "wrong."

2. Always act with courtesy even with others do not.

3. Always be an ambassador for a friendly and safe bike environment and culture - treat everyone as a potential ally.
Without responding to video itself my policy on MUPs, even if called Bikepaths is
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My own thought is that a MUP [even if called a bikepath] is not so much a commuter route, or training venue, but a pastoral park, where people can enjoy themselves without too many worries, and needn’t be always vigilant, as is a cyclist on the Road

My own Golden Rule of Cycling is Do unto the Pedestrians, as you would have the Cagers do unto you.
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Old 08-30-18, 05:47 AM
  #11  
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I think the question requires context and clarification. As so ek e pointed out, the law changes from country to country try and from state to state. For example, to my surprise, Ontario has very car centric laws. For instance, it is pedestrians that have to yield to cars at an intersection if there is no crosswalk painted on the floor. Canadian geese get more respect from Ontario drivers than pedestrians and cyclists.

My view in general is that:
- Safety should be prioritized over speed
- Cars should yield to cyclists, and cyclists should yield to pedestrians on most normal situations
- If another road user is doing something wrong, you should still be courteous and avoid intimidation, rudeness, trying to teach them a lesson, or other forms of road rage
- Most people will break some rules sometimes and inconvenience others, and we should accept this fact and share the urban spaces

I think the guy in the video is an *******. He is not different than drivers that do punishment passes or yell at cyclists to “getuff the road” or “pay road tax”. The only thing his stupid video accomplished is for the anti-cycling lobby in the UK to show that cyclists are
********.
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Old 08-30-18, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
... Like the morons that leisurely walk up the dead-center middle of the aisle in the parking lot. It's not a walking lot. It's for cars. Get the hell out of the way....
A lot of the times, these moron pedestrians are or were motorists who just got out of their cars or getting to them.

These situations are created because parking lots and shopping centers are designed for the car, not for pedestrians. In many cases, there just isn't any clear path in them designed for pedestrians to get a safe direct route from the bus stop to the doors and entrances.
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Old 08-30-18, 07:58 AM
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I come across pedestrians in bike lanes from time to time--I am sure we all do (Let it be clear "BIKE LANE" and not "MUP.") Basically, they do not belong there. The last time I came across a couple, there was a sidewalk on the other side of the street--it is one thing if it is a "share the road" situation, but .....whatever.

That's why I carry a machete.
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Old 08-30-18, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by zze86 View Post

How do you feel about the issue? Is the pedstrian or cyclists that should be yielding in the bike lane? MUPs? Is it the responsibility of the faster to yield to the slower or vice versa?
Our paths have signs that direct cyclists to yield to pedestrians. That is not an issue for me at all. As Dr. Isotope noted above the vast majority of the time they are on the right hand side as opposed to left where they could see oncoming cyclists. I back off the throttle, announce my presence then pass with minimal speed disparity.

I have never had an issue doing that, and I don't suffer undue delays. On more crowded paths, I do see how it could be an issue. I have had some people do some really dumb stuff right in front of me. Fortunately because I had slowed considerably and had an escape route planned, it worked out fine. I have seen cyclists slam into pedestrians when the pedestrians did something totally idiotic. sure, we have a duty to yield, but they have a duty to give us a chance to yield.
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Old 08-30-18, 08:55 AM
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Further, there's the fact that-- at least around here-- where there's a bike lane, there will be a sidewalk, and why would people want to walk down next to the traffic flow when they can stay up on the sidewalk? Runners will occasionally be in the bike lane, running against traffic like they're supposed to, but will move out of the way when they see a bike coming.

We have virtually no separated bike lanes in the Inland Empire. I mean, if there are any non-MUP/MUT bike lanes with traffic separators, I don't know where they are.
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Old 08-30-18, 10:07 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
I appreciated the comment that the legal requirements may vary. But what is the safe and courteous thing to do? 1. Always put safety first, regardless of who is "right" or "wrong." 2. Always act with courtesy even with others do not. 3. Always be an ambassador for a friendly and safe bike environment and culture - treat everyone as a potential ally.
I think this is the best policy. The guy in the video violates all three of these, and comes off as a spoiled brat besides.
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Old 08-30-18, 11:11 AM
  #17  
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I posted earlier on this thread:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My own thought is that a MUP [even if called a bikepath] is not so much a commuter route, or training venue, but a pastoral park, where people can enjoy themselves without too many worries, and needn’t be always vigilant, as is a cyclist on the Road

My own Golden Rule of Cycling is Do unto the Pedestrians, as you would have the Cagers do unto you.
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I come across pedestrians in bike lanes from time to time--I am sure we all do (Let it be clear "BIKE LANE" and not "MUP.") Basically, they do not belong there. The last time I came across a couple, there was a sidewalk on the other side of the street--it is one thing if it is a "share the road" situation, but .....whatever.

That's why I carry a machete.
IMO the vast majority of pedestrians on a MUP / Bikepath are more likely motorists rather than cyclists, and do not share the opinion that they do not belong on the Path. @irwin7638 posted this seemingly valid viewpoint of the ”average” American toward cyclists:
Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
I've found that most Americans think of bikes in three ways: children's toys, exotic toys for fitness fanatics and transportation of last resort for the impoverished and disadvantaged.

It's socially acceptable for an adult to dress up like a circus acrobat with friends once a week, run around in circles as quickly as possible with no other purpose or destination, but to ride a bike somewhere for a purpose implies some sort of need and is looked upon as an act of desperation.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
It took me a couple of readings to figure out that the adults who dress up like circus acrobats and run around in circles are joggers.
So I don’t expect pedestrians to show the same respect to cyclists, as we have to show toward cars i.e. “share the road.” Especially since those users likely paid more to construct the Path as their refuge from driving.
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
…Thing is ... this is Not a representative population. I know I always get crap for saying it, but most people simply don't want to ride bikes.

I am sure people on golf sites cannot comprehend why people do not want to golf.
Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Sounds great. However, we have this little problem that started in California back in '78 with prop. 13.

As a result of the four decades long tax revolt it spawned, we're dealing with the ultimate priority issue: there's only so much money in the budget and it's not enough
So why should cyclists, likely the minority of users, take over these public spaces?

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-30-18 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 08-30-18, 11:20 AM
  #18  
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In certain high congestion area's I don't see why pedestrians shouldn't get jay walking tickets on bike paths.
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Old 08-30-18, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cbrstar View Post
In certain high congestion area's I don't see why pedestrians shouldn't get jay walking tickets on bike paths.
This is why I specified "BIKE LANES" (the lanes on the road which are marked with silly bike stencils, and which in some states a cyclist is Required by Law to Use if they are present) versus MUPs, which are (by definition) designed for any and all comers except (in most cases) anything motorized and non-medical.

Pedestrians can use MUPs freely---though not unwisely---but that is asking Way too much of the current population of this country---but Bike Lanes on the road are Exclusively for bikes. I can get a ticket (in some states) for Not being in the bike lane on my bike.

So, as for pedestrians on the bike lane .... anything goes. I won't as a rule behead someone for a first offense ... but if I see a one-armed pedestrian walking towards me in a marked lane .......
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Old 08-30-18, 02:47 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
This is why I specified "BIKE LANES" (the lanes on the road which are marked with silly bike stencils, and which in some states a cyclist is Required by Law to Use if they are present) versus MUPs, which are (by definition) designed for any and all comers except (in most cases) anything motorized and non-medical.

Pedestrians can use MUPs freely---though not unwisely---but that is asking Way too much of the current population of this country---but Bike Lanes on the road are Exclusively for bikes. I can get a ticket (in some states) for Not being in the bike lane on my bike.

So, as for pedestrians on the bike lane .... anything goes. I won't as a rule behead someone for a first offense ... but if I see a one-armed pedestrian walking towards me in a marked lane .......
The idea of bike lanes/paths is to prevent impedance of traffic and reduce accidents. So if a pedestrians are impeding bicycle traffic and potentially causing accidents then why shouldn't they be fined?
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Old 08-30-18, 04:25 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by cbrstar View Post
The idea of bike lanes/paths is to prevent impedance of traffic and reduce accidents. So if a pedestrians are impeding bicycle traffic and potentially causing accidents then why shouldn't they be fined?
Where did you get the idea that i thought they shouldn't? i would think the phrase "anything goes" and the mention of maiming and beheading would make it clear that fines and tickets would also be fine ... though of course I cannot write a ticket.

In fact, if you had read the thread, you might have noticed that my first post said ........
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
A pedestrian can be ticketed for jaywalking, etc, for walking in an unsafe manner.

A driver/rider is supposed to yield in that it is Not permissible to ram a pedestrians. The pedestrian does not have a Legal 'right of way" as other safety laws apply---pedestrians cannot walk wherever they want and say "Car's have to stop of go around." Legally a driver cannot hit a pedestrian, Even if the pedestrian is breaking the law.

I am sure you could get pedestrians ticketed Eventually, after hours of footage of bad behavior ... but I am not sure most police forces would want to issue a ticket in most cases ---but as with cars and walkers, the fact that you cannot ram them does not equate to them having a Right to be there.
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Old 08-31-18, 06:01 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
I appreciated the comment that the legal requirements may vary. But what is the safe and courteous thing to do? 1. Always put safety first, regardless of who is "right" or "wrong." 2. Always act with courtesy even with others do not. 3. Always be an ambassador for a friendly and safe bike environment and culture - treat everyone as a potential ally.
Also,
1. I think Maelochs correctly pointed out that it is not permissible to ram (and my addition here) or otherwise harm pedestrians or other road users.
2. Even if the bike lane is stated as a way only intended to facilitate bicycle travel, it is not the task of a cyclist to enforce that order. That's for the police.
3. If a cyclist chooses to try to force other users out of the way and in so doing causes harm, he/she has caused harm or injury and could (should?) be held liable for that choice.
4. As above, safety first regardless of who is right or wrong.
5. Courtesy: many acts discussed in these forums can be seen as discourteous, i.e. how we pass peds on MUPs and other shared travel ways. Likewise, we see a lot of motor vehicle behavior as discourteous, and we see a lot of pedestrian behavior similarly. Such as, 5 moms with strollers, toddlers, and dogs on leashes stopped in the middle of a 14 foot major city park path, obliviously having a conversation and not responsive to bicycle bells or requests to be allowed to pass.
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Old 08-31-18, 06:10 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
This is why I specified "BIKE LANES" (the lanes on the road which are marked with silly bike stencils, and which in some states a cyclist is Required by Law to Use if they are present) versus MUPs, which are (by definition) designed for any and all comers except (in most cases) anything motorized and non-medical.

Pedestrians can use MUPs freely---though not unwisely---but that is asking Way too much of the current population of this country---but Bike Lanes on the road are Exclusively for bikes. I can get a ticket (in some states) for Not being in the bike lane on my bike.

So, as for pedestrians on the bike lane .... anything goes. I won't as a rule behead someone for a first offense ... but if I see a one-armed pedestrian walking towards me in a marked lane .......
Regarding your last point, many communities, such as Ann Arbor, MI, have laws similar to the British zebra crossing, where a car must stop if a pedestrian has intention to cross, regardless of presence of a stop sign or signal. Being a college town, we now have pedestrians failing even to look down the street before stepping off the curb, and have ears filled with headphones that reduce the ability to hear any signalling or even the approach of a car. And cycles do not enter the consciousness at all. So this law is circumventing the essential personal safety skill to "look both ways before starting to cross a street." I think this personal responsibility is the most effective way of pedestrians protecting themselves.
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Old 09-01-18, 10:04 AM
  #24  
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Ped rights vary

As others have stated, you should check the laws where you live. They vary, so anything I say here isn't necessarily true everywhere...

In general, pedestrians have the right of way at intersections, whether there is a marked crosswalk or not. They generally do NOT have the same rights if not at an intersection. In many places, if crossing away from an intersection, pedestrians must YIELD to ALL TRAFFIC. Bicyclists are traffic, so a pedestrian should yield to oncoming bicyclists. As regards pedestrians walking in bicycle lanes: bicycle lanes are TRAVEL lanes, the same as all the other lanes on the roadway. Again, I can't say this is universally true, but in many places pedestrians do not have the right to use travel lanes unless there is no sidewalk.

Important note: "sidewalk," "bike lane," and "MUP" (multi-use paths) are not the same. They many or may not be defined in your state or town's laws...The rules are different depending on which one of those we're talking about.
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Old 09-01-18, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by orcalci2011 View Post
As others have stated, you should check the laws where you live. They vary, so anything I say here isn't necessarily true everywhere...

In general, pedestrians have the right of way at intersections, whether there is a marked crosswalk or not. They generally do NOT have the same rights if not at an intersection.

In many places, if crossing away from an intersection, pedestrians must YIELD to ALL TRAFFIC. Bicyclists are traffic, so a pedestrian should yield to oncoming bicyclists. As regards pedestrians walking in bicycle lanes: bicycle lanes are TRAVEL lanes, the same as all the other lanes on the roadway.

Again, I can't say this is universally true, but in many places pedestrians do not have the right to use travel lanes unless there is no sidewalk.

Important note: "sidewalk," "bike lane," and "MUP" (multi-use paths) are not the same. They many or may not be defined in your state or town's laws...The rules are different depending on which one of those we're talking about.
IMO, this is a dogmatically legalistic viewpoint by ardent cyclophiles, and is not operative in the real world. Not to refute it, but as I posted earlier on this thread:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…My own thought is that a MUP [even if called a bikepath] is not so much a commuter route, or training venue, but a pastoral park, where people can enjoy themselves without too many worries, and needn’t be always vigilant, as is a cyclist on the Road

My own Golden Rule of Cycling is Do unto the Pedestrians, as you would have the Cagers do unto you..
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
IMO the vast majority of pedestrians on a MUP / Bikepath are more likely motorists rather than cyclists, and do not share the opinion that they do not belong on the Path

So I don’t expect pedestrians to show the same respect to cyclists, as we have to show toward cars i.e. “share the road.” Especially since those users likely paid more to construct the Path as their refuge from driving. So why should cyclists, likely the minority of users, take over these public spaces?
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
A pedestrian can be ticketed for jaywalking, etc, for walking in an unsafe manner…

I am sure you could get pedestrians ticketed Eventually, after hours of footage of bad behavior ... but I am not sure most police forces would want to issue a ticket in most cases---but as with cars and walkers, the fact that you cannot ram them does not equate to them having a Right to be there.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 09-01-18 at 11:37 AM.
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