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You are NOT allowed to ride at NIGHT?

Old 06-26-10, 02:22 PM
  #1  
CB HI
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You are NOT allowed to ride at NIGHT?

This is the second picture in the forums in as many days, that signs a bike path (now called a MUP) as closed at night.


Are the bike paths in your area open or closed at night?

What are the reasons for closing them at night?

Did cyclist not object when the night closures of such paths were first proposed?

When Hawaii State (in cooperation with the City and County of Honolulu) was holding public meetings on their proposed bike plan update, the engineering consultants writing the plan, recommended closing a proposed path, as well as current open bike paths at night. The stated reason, of course, was safety concerns since the path(s) were not lighted. Stated another way, “we want to avoid law suits”.

I argued that:
1. The paths were/are mostly being funded with federal transportation money, with certification from the state/city that a primary purpose of the bike path was for transportation.
2. The alternate transportation routes, highways, had sections that were also not lighted, but were not closed at night.
3. That transportation cyclist needed to ride at night, just like any other commuter often traveled at night, especially during winter months.
4. That cyclist were required to use a headlight at night both on the highway and bike path, so no lighting on the bike path was irrelevant.
5. That a stated reason for building the paths was increased safety for cyclist.
6. That, if they banned me from using the stated safer bike path route at night; I would be forced to use the stated less safe, unlighted highway route for my commute. And if I ever got hit on that highway, I would file a law suit against both the state and the consultant for forcing me to use the stated less safe highway while commuting at night.

The consultant was unwilling to get drawn into such a law suit and pulled the recommendation. Without the recommendation, both the state and city were unwilling to change the statuesque. So there are NO night time restrictions on the bike paths on Oahu.
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Old 06-26-10, 02:38 PM
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There is a sign on the Washington DC Crescent Capital Trail where I get on it in the morning that also says "closed at dusk." I do not know anywhere else there is such a sign. It is senseless, would totally rule out commuting in the colder months, and is universally ignored! I often ask myself who comes up with such brilliant ideas and rules - there is a plethora of them pouring out of the bureaucrats - but to keep my sanity I convince myself that they are simply a mistake, a typo perhaps, they forgot the word "never" in front of the sentence...
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Old 06-26-10, 03:03 PM
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As far as I know, none of the trails in the Denver area are closed at night. Or, if they are, its not enforced.
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Old 06-26-10, 03:15 PM
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Denver's is supposedly closed from 11-5am. Many of the suburbs are closed from dusk till dawn and enforced as such.
I ignored the rules for the most part.
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Old 06-26-10, 03:18 PM
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In the part of Illinois where I live the bike trails are considered part of the county park system. All county parks close at sunset, bike trails included. I could not tell you if this rule is enforced on bike trails but it is at other park facilities. I am sure that the motivation is, in part, to prevent people from partying all night long in the parks. I suppose it does not make sense on a bike trail and it would be safer to provide cyclists the use of these facilities at night. If enough cyclists complained I suppose the policy could be changed. I know that a nearby county now allows the use of their off leash dog park until 6pm or sunset, whichever is later, because people complained that during the winter there was too little time between sunset and the end of the work day to get to the park with your dog. Most of us work until 4:30 and during the dead of winter that is when the sun sets here too.

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Old 06-26-10, 04:14 PM
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Haven't seen hat, but there's a MUP here that is signed for no bicycles allowed.

Last edited by steve0257; 06-26-10 at 04:14 PM. Reason: spelliing
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Old 06-26-10, 04:52 PM
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The MUPs here are open at night unless they are part of parks which close. There was a rash of muggings a couple of years ago. Emergency call boxes have been installed and volunteer bike patrols have been formed. People were encouraged to ride with a buddy. If the muggings are still occurring they aren't with as much frequency.

It's understandable why they'd close them. I'd venture to say that in some cases well traveled streets are safer. It depends are the particular location though and the prevalence of crime.

Last edited by tjspiel; 06-26-10 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 06-26-10, 04:57 PM
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If they closed any of the trails from dusk to daybreak here, during the winter there would be about 8 usable hours for them. hahahaha

I've never seen any such closure notifications on the paved MUPs. On some hiking trails (foot traffic only, no bikes) I've seen these restrictions, though.
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Old 06-26-10, 04:58 PM
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What is the logic in closing the paths at night? Muggers?
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Old 06-26-10, 05:15 PM
  #10  
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CB hits the problem on the nose - these facilities are viewed as recreational facilities not transportation facilities. In Hawaii many, many of our recreational facilities that used to be open at night are now closed (Pali Lookout, Haunama Bay, and many, many beach parks, including some with bike paths). The excuse was to deter crime. The Pali Lookout closure is particularly problematic because that closure cuts off the Old Pali Highway which is an alternative route for those who don't want to ride a bicycle through two tunnels with a 45 mph speed limit, no shoulder, a 12ft lane width, and heavy traffic. Further, it is one of only four stretches of road designated as unsafe for bicycles on the state's official bicycle route map (BTW, I ride on all those roads fairly frequently).

BTW, if the public is denied access to facilities because of crime doesn't that just push the crime elsewhere while punishing the public for the criminal's behavior and the inability of the police to do their jobs.

The deter crime issue really irritates me. It is a siege mentality to close facilities because of crime, next are they going to put us all under curfew, have id check points all over the island, etc.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:12 PM
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I would expect to see more recreational facilities, including MUPS, open fewer hours simply due to budget shortfalls most states and communities are facing. (Although most cyclists may view MUPS as essential to transportation, many were just not developed or funded as such and will never be treated like roads.) In fact, most public transportation infrastructures, including roads, will probably suffer as states have to drastically cut back spending.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:21 PM
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Isn't the W&OD closed at dark too? I would presume it is because of crime. That certainly is lame.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:53 PM
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what's worse is most of our bike trails aren't plowed in the winter. I don't know what the commuters that use them do when they are snow covered, I use an alternate route now that avoids the issue altogether. I haven't seen anything that says they are closed at night.
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Old 06-26-10, 06:59 PM
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This reminds me of an incident that occurred late last winter. I was on the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail after dark around 7:30pm. As I passed the Marley Station mall (a well-lit area), two detectives stopped me, claiming the trail was closed.

1st cop: "Where are you headed?"
Me: "Severna Park." (6 miles down the trail)
1C: "Trail's closed after dark. You'll need to find a different way."
M: "Ritchie Highway? Seriously? And Jumpers Hole Road? You'll be cleaning me off the pavement in the morning."
2nd cop: "Well, you're going pretty fast, you shouldn't have a problem."
M: "???"
1C: "There's been some muggings in this area after dark. I suppose if you ride fast enough, they'll leave you alone."
M: "Well, given the choice between a crackhead and a motorist texting on a cell phone, I'll take the crackhead, thanks."

We had a good chuckle and they allowed me to continue my trip. I've seen sketchy looking folks on the MUP after dark, but nobody every approaches me. I have my trusty U-lock to hand, just in case.

It does suck that crime forces the municipality to react like a turtle closing it's shell. Completely wrong - a proper deterrent/punishment should be in place to make people think twice before they decide to prey on others.
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Old 06-26-10, 07:07 PM
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they are closed at night due to creeps hiding in bushes and personal attacks
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Old 06-26-10, 07:19 PM
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I've seen some that are closed dusk to dawn because they go through parks. If I wanted to use one for transportation, though, I would just do it. There's probably little to no enforcement anyway.
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Old 06-26-10, 07:28 PM
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Where I live the signs say "closed at sunset, commuters allowed." There are plenty of people that just want to hang out there and drink after dark and cause trouble. They break bottles on the path. The sign posts the fact that they will get kicked out, by the police. And they do it. Yay ! Kids once in a while put things on the path to injure cyclists, but the police respond to a complaint, and drive down the path with a cruiser when needed. The police presence on the unlighted paths after dark works the way it is intended to.

The police see me all the time with good lights and riding by myself, even after midnight. They can tell that I am riding not hanging out. Sometimes the police ask me if I saw someone go by, if they are chasing someone. The people biking only, usually have good lights and just keep moving. As far as I am concerned, if the police stop me to see what I'm doing that would be fine. They keep the trouble makers off the bike path. It is also a bike path not an MUP. I know the state bike path person at the DOT. The DOT views biking as viable transportation.
Bikes have the right of way on our bike paths, and the rules copy the road rules for cars. Apparently I have it better than some other states.
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Old 06-26-10, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
I would expect to see more recreational facilities, including MUPS, open fewer hours simply due to budget shortfalls most states and communities are facing. (Although most cyclists may view MUPS as essential to transportation, many were just not developed or funded as such and will never be treated like roads.) In fact, most public transportation infrastructures, including roads, will probably suffer as states have to drastically cut back spending.
My challenge to you, would be to track down the actual funding for the facilities. You will likely find that much of the funding was provided under ISTEA or one of the follow on Congressional acts through FDOT. If so, the local authority had to declare that one of the primary purposes for the facility was transportation.

Track the money to the end, because many locals will claim the funding came from the city or combination of donations. What they do not tell you, is that they are only talking about the local funding share of 20% to get FDOT to fund the other 80%. I have found that to be true more than once.

Edit: Or are you in Canada?

Last edited by CB HI; 06-26-10 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 06-26-10, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
"closed at sunset, commuters allowed."
Outstanding, a reasonable compromise.

Also, for the Washington DC area, I do not recall ANY night closures back in 1990, though the crime existed even then.
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Old 06-26-10, 07:46 PM
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I've seen similar signs here; and my town is considered quite conservative. I think they went up after a woman was sexually assaulted while walking alone on a path at night, so I understand, but I will still traverse them after hours if necessary. As a previous poster replied - it's probably safer than commuting on busy city streets in the dark, despite my best efforts to be lit up like a Xmas tree. That being said, I would never let my wife or daughters do it without a riding companion.
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Old 06-26-10, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrencehare View Post
There is a sign on the Washington DC Crescent Capital Trail where I get on it in the morning that also says "closed at dusk." I do not know anywhere else there is such a sign..
W&OD is technically closed at nightfall also. Never seen it enforced, but 'm sure it could be used by the LEO's to clear the trail if needed. Seen police at all hours, and never, ever been hassled. W&OD is technically a 45 mi long 100' wide regional park also.

Liability thing maybe?
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Old 06-26-10, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
As far as I know, none of the trails in the Denver area are closed at night. Or, if they are, its not enforced.
In bear country I can understand why they'd close the MUP.
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Old 06-26-10, 09:41 PM
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Open at night, but I wouldn't go near them. That's where the riff-raff hangs out.
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Old 06-26-10, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
In bear country I can understand why they'd close the MUP.
The only bear I've ever seen in Denver was at the zoo...

Just how remote do you think we are?
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Old 06-26-10, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
The only bear I've ever seen in Denver was at the zoo...

Just how remote do you think we are?
LOL..

Ok, it keeps the bears safe from the homeless people?
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