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Hit a pedestrian...

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Old 07-10-07, 08:25 AM
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40 Cent
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Hit a pedestrian...

I have to remember the rule that, of pedestrians and cars, pedestrians are the less predictible. Of pedestrians, cars and bikers, well...

I was going through Chinatown (Manhattan) and a young woman stepped out against the walk sign and stood about 4 to 5 feet from the curb until she noticed traffic was going against her. Meanwhile I rode behind her (between her and the curb) at about 10mph. Rather than waiting, or moving back slowly when she discovered she didn't have the light, she seemed to freak and leap back.

I hit her shoulder and went down. She went down too. We both got up and I apologized several times but I had a bloody knee and palm. She had an invisible scrape on her elbow. The small crowd at the curb was obviously concerned only for her. OK. No big deal. But the contempt for the biker guy was obvious.
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Old 07-10-07, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 40 Cent
She had an invisible scrape on her elbow. The small crowd at the curb was obviously concerned only for her. OK. No big deal. But the contempt for the biker guy was obvious.
Invisible scrape eh, who told you it was there? Where are the lolcats when you need them?
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Old 07-10-07, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 40 Cent
I have to remember the rule that, of pedestrians and cars, pedestrians are the less predictible. Of pedestrians, cars and bikers, well...

I was going through Chinatown (Manhattan) and a young woman stepped out against the walk sign and stood about 4 to 5 feet from the curb until she noticed traffic was going against her. Meanwhile I rode behind her (between her and the curb) at about 10mph. Rather than waiting, or moving back slowly when she discovered she didn't have the light, she seemed to freak and leap back.

I hit her shoulder and went down. She went down too. We both got up and I apologized several times but I had a bloody knee and palm. She had an invisible scrape on her elbow. The small crowd at the curb was obviously concerned only for her. OK. No big deal. But the contempt for the biker guy was obvious.
Gotta stay out of the pedestrian freak-out zone. Particularly for those pedestrians who are clearly stupid. I wouldn't want to ride behind anyone in that situation. Probably would have been good to announce early, reduces the freak-out potential.

Reading pedestrians is a necessary skill and I'd say an art. Glad everyone's OK.
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Old 07-10-07, 08:54 AM
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Old 07-10-07, 09:01 AM
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Pedestrians are often completely unpredictable, but I have to say that the situation you describe WAS predictable. As soon as that woman realized the traffic situation, she was going to jump back, not step back slowly - that's just human nature. You were gambling on her being slower on the uptake than she actually turned out to be. Sorry, I think you have to take the hit on this one.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:04 AM
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Yes, what Buglady said.
You should have zigged instead of zagging. The proper course would have been to go around the front.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:06 AM
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Yeah, I don't get myself in those tight spots often.. riding behind a ped. snooping on traffic is asking for trouble. Glad you're both OK.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:49 AM
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I almost hit a jogger yesterday on a neighborhood street. He was running on the road in my lane (against the traffic). As I approached, instead of veering toward the sidewalk, as I expected, he veered out into the lane. I checked my rearview mirror quickly, and since no cars were coming behind me, I veered out even farther into the lane. I didn't want to squeeze between him and curb.

As others mentions, pedestrians and runners can be very unpredictable. What's even worse is encountering them on a multi-use trail. I usually ride very carefully on MUTs with my hands on the brakes. Can't tell you how many times a walker or jogger on a MUT has suddenly veered out or turned around without looking, and they're often wearing headphones and can't hear anything.
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Old 07-10-07, 10:06 AM
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Yeah, I realized the moment before it happened that I made the wrong move. Her move was wrong too but hey, pedestrians aren't going to start being predictible all of a sudden. And I know I'm not always the best-behaved pedestrian. Navigating Manhattan and Brooklyn for the past 5 years, that was my first accident so I've been lucky. You can never get careless. Would a bell have prevented this?
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Old 07-10-07, 10:08 AM
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Yup, hate to say it but you did wrong when you rode into the pedestrian's escape path. You also failed to make sure she saw you coming, and thus in her eyes, were unpredictable.

I've learned this the hard way from riding in Manhattan for years--people will retreat towards the curb out of instinct, even if there's no traffic in the street (besides a lone bicyclist) at all.
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Old 07-10-07, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 40 Cent
Would a bell have prevented this?
I don't think so - she still would have jumped back. Riding between her and the curb was an unpredictable move on your part. Bell and going around her on the lane side, yes.
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Old 07-10-07, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 40 Cent
Would a bell have prevented this?
No way to know for sure, since it depends on exactly how tuned out the lady was. Ipods are great for that But I would've been ringing my bell and shouting YO! as soon as I saw that situation developing. If there are peds in the way, I always try to let them know I'm coming as far in advance as possible.
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Old 07-10-07, 10:19 AM
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BTW I'm pretty sure NY law requires you have a bell on your bike anyway.
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Old 07-10-07, 10:24 AM
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Just this morning on the MUP (straight section and about 12 ' wide), I was coming up behind a woman with her dog. (me on the left side preparing to pass, she on the right) I rang my bell and I said "Good morning". She turned around and said "Good morning" then stepped right in front of me while looking right at me....you never can tell what they will do!!!!
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Old 07-10-07, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by markhr

Those are great. I also didn't realize you could distort the space/time continuum with them!
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Old 07-10-07, 10:31 AM
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I usually slow down when pedestrians are in the way. I shouldn't be throwing stones, though. I've come close to hitting pedestrians. In my case, however, It was me not paying attention that was the cause. You get out on a seldom used country road and just sort of put your head down and pedal. Only happens when I'm on a road bike. I think it's the low handlebars that makes me lazy like that.
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Old 07-10-07, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by KLW2
.... She turned around and said "Good morning" then stepped right in front of me while looking right at me....!!!!
Is there a smiley for "brain dead"!
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Old 07-10-07, 10:48 AM
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Well, 40, I hope this tut-tutting helps you heal. In your defense, I'll step in and say that unless you've ridden in Chinatown, you don't know what it's like. The woman (who was clearly violating the law) behaved as all pedestrians in Chinatown do. The peds jump out from between parked cars, leap from fire escapes, lurch out of sewer grates — it's madness. They're in the wrong until they're hit. It's funny how bicycles are toys until somebody gets hurt; then we're vehicles.
(A bell might have helped, but I don't know how you're supposed to throw with any accuracy while negotiating traffic.)
Most important: How's the Raleigh Professional, for God's sake?
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Old 07-10-07, 10:50 AM
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Postscript: I have a friend who commutes to work. She rides an old English bike, very ladylike. (I imagine she'd ride side-saddle if it were possible.) She arrived one day recently and announced: "I hit a pedestrian. It felt right."
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Old 07-10-07, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
Most important: How's the Raleigh Professional, for God's sake?
Didn't want to sway the jury with that (either way perhaps). Bars very slightly off I think, but I have to inspect it closer. It's a bit more delicate than a flying kiwi!
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Old 07-10-07, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Underbridge
Gotta stay out of the pedestrian freak-out zone. . .
"Pedestrian freak-out zone." Fantastic term. Useful in many contexts. Will "PFOZ" be the next "JAM"?

Edit: Started a "Pedestrian freak-out zone" thread here.

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Old 07-10-07, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 40 Cent
It's a bit more delicate than a flying kiwi!
What are you talking about, man? I thought you hit your knee, not your brainpan.





(Full disclosure; I'm acquainted with 40, who helped me rattle-can my son's "new" bike this weekend. He chose the oddest lime green, hence the bike's new moniker, the Flying Kiwi.)

Seriously, are you OK? And will you tell your wife?
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Old 07-10-07, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
He chose the oddest lime green, hence the bike's new moniker, the Flying Kiwi.)
The "he" refers to his son, not me. Knee and hand are a little bloody, no big whoop. And I did tell the wife.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:15 AM
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What about using the brakes?
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Old 07-10-07, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt
What about using the brakes?
Then the terrorists will have won.
And I'm all for classifying all of lower Manhattan and Times Square as a PFOZ. Show me the petition; I'll sign it.
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