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Crashed - who screwed up?

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Crashed - who screwed up?

Old 09-07-21, 10:44 PM
  #51  
canklecat
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The rider making a U-turn without looking or signally was primarily at fault. But I always assume everyone on the MUP is smoking weed, drunk on high ABV essential oil IPAs, and choking down MDMA while listening to Joe Rogan podcasts and black metal yoga music through ear buds covered with noise muffling earphones, while simultaneously practicing their Brazilian jiu-jitsu feints and ground game moves.

IOW, I assume everyone else on the MUP is a moron capable of doing anything at any moment. Because often they are and do.

Example...

I've avoided most fast roadie group rides throughout the pandemic, but do occasionally join friends for casual group rides. The easiest way to reach our meetup spots is through the MUP for about 4-8 miles as part of my commute to and from the meetups.

Our MUP is mostly a typical suburban sidewalk, 90% of the paved trail being 4'x4' concrete slabs. Besides the uneven ripples every four feet, the ledges on either side can be treacherous. And there are cyclists blasting by in either direction, weaving around slower pedestrians and joggers with unleashed dogs, dogs on 50-yard retractable non-leashes, kids, etc.

You would think -- per the conventional wisdom for infrastructure design -- that such a path would naturally cause users to slow down and be cautious. You would think wrongly.

On Monday afternoon's MUP commute, I encountered the following:
  • Two riders, side-by-side, on fixies with those ridiculously wide longhorn handlebars that literally take up the entire space across the narrow path. The guy's bars looked to be about 3' wide; hers were slightly less preposterous, and she moved slightly to her right just as we passed. I prepared for handlebar hooking but we missed by inches.
  • A tri-guy on aero bars, hands nowhere near the brakes, sailing at least 25 mph down the middle of the 4' wide path. It's easy to do 20 mph on that section with no wind, and he had a hefty tailwind, so 25 mph is no exaggeration. Again, I slowed, moved as far right as I could without nicking the ledge, and prepared for collision. Again, we missed by mere inches.
  • Recumbent trikes, which can't help taking up 2/3 of the path width.
  • A jogger suddenly U-turning in front of me, then apologizing, flapping her hands and giggling.
  • A walker with ears completely muffled by thick earphones, in the center of the path. I slowed to walking speed behind him, saying "Bicycle behind you. Bicycle. Behind. You. BICYCLE BEHIND YOU!!!" until he finally heard something, lifted one earphone and mumbled something while moving to the right.
  • A couple of skateboarders lingering alongside the trail, but left their skateboards in the middle of the trail. As I passed slowly I asked them to move the boards off the path. Calm voice, not yelling or being sarcastic or snippy. I think the guy said something like "You're not my dad!"
  • Skaters on electric mono-wheel thingies, who are actually the last bad users I've seen recently, despite being all over the path. At least you can see the monowheel lights from a long way off.

That's just a typical day on the MUP. And Monday was an unusually slow, low traffic day, for Labor Day. Some days are much worse.

I've seen multi-use paths since the 1970s in Southern California, and they always devolve the same way. No exceptions.

If you use the MUP, expect it to deteriorate into a game of full contact tackle bicycling.
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Old 09-08-21, 12:32 AM
  #52  
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In case you don't have enough to worry about, this recent video shows a gang of three people setting up a deliberate collision in an attempt to steal an electronic skateboard. Watch the entire video including the multiple vantage points in slow motion. Fortunately the intended victim was using a very good 360 video camera, which enables selecting any POV.

At first the victim himself thought it was a simple accident. But after reviewing the incident on video he realized he'd been set up. The entire theft crew is almost as sophisticated as some of the notorious camera, phone and personal electronics theft rings in some major cities. The mistake they made was using a woman who was too aggressive as the setup person. Instead of apologizing or acting like she was hurt as a distraction, she immediately gets in the would-be victim's face, yelling "What's up!?!" and then looking toward her partners for help or a signal about what to do next.

I grew up a dangerous area near NYC so my eyes are always on stalks and head on a swivel, even now when I'm in a fairly OK town in Texas. I'm always alert to people loitering around the sides of the MUP or cycling areas, or stopped in the middle of the path with others lingering nearby, with no immediate escape routes.

That includes a popular winding tree-covered path through a nice suburban area. While the immediately adjacent neighborhood is fine, it's also only a couple of blocks away from some bad areas. That's a big problem anywhere gentrification attempts to put a friendly veneer over an area that still suffers from generational poverty and related crime. Don't let your guard down just because there are a few hipster businesses along a bike path. Those are prime targets for experienced thieves.

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Old 09-08-21, 02:05 AM
  #53  
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oh bike paths/mups with other cyclists, rollerbladers, e-bikers, peds, runners, dog walkers, etc...

gotta assume fido will lunge out at you as you approach because bob couldn't be bothered
to keep a tight leash since fido is "a good boy." gotta assume pedro will drift over into your bike lane
since he's on his phone while riding a cruiser. gotta assume jazmine will finish her windsprints and
immediately turn around while waving her arms to cool down/stretch. gotta assume judy will be on her phone
while walking and starting/stopping/moving erratically. gotta assume little joey is racing his sister and in your lane on the
curve. jean-paul sartre had the great take on bike paths/mups. when empty, they're fab. otherwise, hell is (indeed) other people.
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Old 09-08-21, 04:23 AM
  #54  
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2 defensive drivers + situation = 0

1 defensive driver + 1 driver + situation = 0

2 drivers + situation = 0.05 x crash
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Old 09-08-21, 07:09 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
3 guesses, hmm, assuming riding outdoors:
-Your own private reserve?
-your local velodrome?
-Sonoma Raceway?

Here in Wisconsin, they open Road America, in Elkhart Lake, to cyclists on Mon and Wed evenings, quite entertaining, 4.1 miles, none of it flat, but quite smooth, and really wide to compensate for any bonehead moves.
Tim
That kills me. There is a famous raceway within driving distance (well, I would rive it) but it doesn't let cyclists use it .... unless you sign up for an expensive promoted event, and Then you cannot ride on the track until you have done 85 or so miles on the regional roads---the event finishes on the track. Road America? I have a friend up there, but he travels for a living otherwise I might drop in.
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Old 09-08-21, 07:12 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
The rider making a U-turn without looking or signally was primarily at fault. But I always assume everyone on the MUP is smoking weed, drunk on high ABV essential oil IPAs, and choking down MDMA while listening to Joe Rogan podcasts and black metal yoga music through ear buds covered with noise muffling earphones, while simultaneously practicing their Brazilian jiu-jitsu feints and ground game moves.
I never knew you were such a gifted writer. That description is almost too perfect. All you left out was the three tiny dogs each on a 20-foot leash.
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Old 09-08-21, 07:34 AM
  #57  
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This is the reason I avoid MUP's and bike paths unless it is the only way to my destination(rare). I do , however use a bell when overtaking another cyclist or jogger in the lane. I quit doing "on yer left" because most folks think I'm yelling at them. A bell seems to be more widely accepted. I very rarely have anyone let me know when they pass me and that can be troubling especially if they are passing too close to me . As far as this incident , by what I read of the OP , I think the fault is primarily do to someone making a U-turn in front of another rider without looking to be sure coast is clear. It could have been avoided if the other rider had been aware of an approaching rider. Just another day on the MUP, don't get me started! I have seen some pretty bonehead moves. I am glad someone wasn't badly injured.
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Old 09-08-21, 07:42 AM
  #58  
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I use my bell often on the MUP, too, but the trick is to do it far enough back that people ahead have time to be startled, surprised there is another(!!!) trail user, then veers halfway across the path while turning to look back to confirm that hey didn't imagine the bell, then dart to one side, decide that is not the best side, then wander back to the side they were on originally, then try to recall Muffin and Princess and Lulu while trying to reel in the 20 foot leashes.. This is what they do when not wearing headphones, anyway.
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Old 09-08-21, 07:47 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The rider behind can see what is ahead while the rider ahead can’t always see what is behind. The overtaking bicycle has a responsibility to control his bike and anticipate movements ahead.
And, like with driving, you shouldn't follow so closely that you can't stop quickly without running into the cyclist in front. Likewise, since we don't have brake lights on our bikes, the cyclist in front should signal his intention to slow down and stop, if possible. I still say that the OP should have signaled either with a bell or his voice that he was coming up behind (which is why it's always a good idea to have a bell) but I still think most the blame lays on the guy making the quick U-turn without signalling or checking to see that the way was clear.

At any rate, I hope both riders learned from this and will be more cautious in the future.
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Old 09-08-21, 07:49 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Airfehr View Post
Always ride like you are invisible...
I said that to a motorcycle friend years ago and he said, "No. Ride like they can see you clearly and are trying to kill you."
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Old 09-08-21, 07:57 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
On Monday afternoon's MUP commute, I encountered the following:
I'm glad I don't have to deal with any of that. Worst I have to put up with are the ladies out walking early in the morning, occasionally walking down the middle of the street (it's a sleepy little town so hardly any traffic at 6 AM). But a few dings of my bell and they'll get to one side or the other. Thankfully, some of them started walking with lighted arm bands or with the light on their phones on. I can easily recognize what that is on a dark street when I'm out riding.

We do have a rail trail about a 45 minute drive from my house, but the near end of it has 7 miles between towns, so you don't often get the urban "just hanging out on the trail" type crowd. Usually it's cyclists and the occasional jogger.
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Old 09-08-21, 08:11 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
The other rider kept saying, 'You didn't say 'On your left'!'
I agree.

This is 90% your fault for not saying "on your left" or "behind you".

10% his fault for not looking.

When approaching people I always yell out "Behind you"
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Old 09-08-21, 08:28 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Regardless of signaling, who moves to the right to turn left or do a u turn . . . ?
Every SUV driver on the road. Drives me nuts.
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Old 09-08-21, 08:41 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
I agree.

This is 90% your fault for not saying "on your left" or "behind you".

10% his fault for not looking.

When approaching people I always yell out "Behind you"
I disagree, I think it was 75%/25% other guy's fault/OP's fault. Every time I plan to make a maneuver to my left and put myself in danger of being hit from behind by someone passing (bike or car), I always look in my mirror to make sure there's nobody behind me before turning. It's in the traffic code, which I know is primarily for motor vehicles and not bicycles, but if you make a traffic maneuver without ensuring you can do so safely, you're at fault. And that's why 25% is upon the OP for not letting the other cyclist know he was there, but the other guy should have looked.
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Old 09-08-21, 08:42 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Every SUV driver on the road. Drives me nuts.
What drives me nuts is when someone ahead of you is going to make a left turn and they pull left into the oncoming lane in order to make the left turn. I see that a lot. I know they're just trying to be polite and let you pass on their right, but I never do and always hold back until they make their turn.
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Old 09-08-21, 08:50 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
What drives me nuts is when someone ahead of you is going to make a left turn and they pull left into the oncoming lane in order to make the left turn. I see that a lot. I know they're just trying to be polite and let you pass on their right, but I never do and always hold back until they make their turn.
I can't say that I see that happen, certainly not with any regularity. Frankly, most drivers around here are oblivious to those behind them and seeing any thoughtful positioning, in an attempt to be courteous to those behind, is rare. Then again, the streets here are fairly wide, to accommodate winter snow, so passing a left-turning car on the right is usually not a problem.
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Old 09-08-21, 08:50 AM
  #67  
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If I was the person you hit. I'd assume it was your fault and you will have to take me to court to see if you have any valid claim for damages.

The person and vehicle in front in most every situation have the right of way no matter what stupid thing they do. The person or vehicle behind has a responsibility to ensure that they are able to avoid any action of the one in front of them.

And that includes slowing down so you can stop safely if they do a stupid thing like a U-turn without looking first.
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Old 09-08-21, 09:04 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If I was the person you hit. I'd assume it was your fault and you will have to take me to court to see if you have any valid claim for damages.

The person and vehicle in front in most every situation have the right of way no matter what stupid thing they do. The person or vehicle behind has a responsibility to ensure that they are able to avoid any action of the one in front of them.

And that includes slowing down so you can stop safely if they do a stupid thing like a U-turn without looking first.
What you're saying is that a following vehicle would never be able to pass one that is slowing down. We'd have gridlock in a matter of minutes if that was the case.
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Old 09-08-21, 09:23 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I can't say that I see that happen, certainly not with any regularity. Frankly, most drivers around here are oblivious to those behind them and seeing any thoughtful positioning, in an attempt to be courteous to those behind, is rare. Then again, the streets here are fairly wide, to accommodate winter snow, so passing a left-turning car on the right is usually not a problem.
Out here in the rural midwest, you see it a lot. You'll be following someone on the highway, they'll signal a left turn, and then they'll change over into the oncoming lane to make the left turn.
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Old 09-08-21, 09:42 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Regardless of signaling, who moves to the right to turn left or do a u turn . . . ?
On a narrow road? Most people.
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Old 09-08-21, 09:48 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
- I think a case can be made that the other rider overtook me by moving into my path without warning.
No. "Overtaking" is passing a slower vehicle going the same way on the left (on the non-curb side).

The U-turner (probably) did violate your right-of-way. Even if U-turns are legal, it's not legal to turn in front of other traffic.

=====================

There is (almost certainly) some traffic law that requires the U-turner to look and yield to other traffic. There is (almost certainly) some traffic law that required you to announce your pass.

The U-turner was careless and you had an easy option (that you did not take) to enhance your safety.

=====================

Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
- 'When in Rome, do as Romans do...
This makes no sense.

Last edited by njkayaker; 09-08-21 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 09-08-21, 10:00 AM
  #72  
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So I probably do as much or more MUP riding as anyone here and also prodigious road riding, and they just aren't the same thing.

The MUP I ride on the most has long stretches of nearly empty paved miles that I am comfortable tooling down at 24 mph without feeling I'm putting anyone but chipmunks at risk. It also has "in town" stretches with a lot of foot traffic. Not to be too immodest, but I am usually the fastest moving human on the path at any given moment. What I've noticed is that people tend to get lulled by the nature of the MUP into forgetting that it is actually more of a mixed-speed route than a sidewalk, and begin acting as if they were just on a sidewalk. One does not normally check behind you on a sidewalk before changing directions, so that habit is likely to carry over unconsciously when one is on a path either walking, jogging or riding (especially slow two abreast riding). When approaching someone from behind, there is no way of telling whether they're in that "I'm on a sidewalk" reverie until they make a move without looking, at which point it is possibly too late to protect them and yourself.

Announcing my pass is the only measure I've found effective at reducing this risk. It is not perfect, it is easily defeated by headphones, and sometimes (rarely IME) people go the wrong way when I say "passing on your left", but it still drastically cuts down your risk for any given pass. To me, bells are a second-best alternative, but that's arguable (I have a loud voice and can enunciate very clearly, others not so much). But IME, if you pass without making a sound, you are putting yourself at very high risk and this kind of accident is exactly what you'd expect might happen.

I don't get the reluctance of people to announce or ring a bell. It costs you nothing, and I'd rather avoid the collision than win an argument as to who's at fault. If you're hurt, "the other guy was in the wrong" is cold comfort indeed. .

BTW, anyone who'd say MUP riding is more dangerous than road riding--get serious. Look at the stats on numbers of bicyclists killed by motor vehicle crash vs. all other causes and get back to us. Hint' MV crash is the cause of almost 2/3 of the deaths.
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Old 09-08-21, 10:02 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The rider behind can see what is ahead while the rider ahead can’t always see what is behind. The overtaking bicycle has a responsibility to control his bike and anticipate movements ahead. If a bike slows in front of you, you should just blow by them without trying to figure out what is going on. At the very least announce your presence…a rule that is fairly universal on bike paths.
The rider turning into traffic has the responsibility to look. It's not all on the one rider.
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Old 09-08-21, 10:53 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Regardless of signaling, who moves to the right to turn left or do a u turn . . . ?
Everybody. At least those driving cars in these parts do.
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Old 09-08-21, 11:50 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
The other rider kept saying, "you didn't say 'on your left'!"
So. It's not your job to provide comfort to the feeble and delicate that you're simply riding how you're supposed to.

how much of a beef do I have against a rider who apparently assumed it's OK to do a U-turn on a MUP without checking the environment?
10/10
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