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Is there a consensus on how to deal with pedestrians on shared paths?

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Is there a consensus on how to deal with pedestrians on shared paths?

Old 10-10-12, 04:58 PM
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Violet
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Is there a consensus on how to deal with pedestrians on shared paths?

Not sure what they're called in other peoples locale - talking about paved paths off the main road that are for pedestrians and cyclists.

If pedestrians are blocking you, or if the only way you can pass them is to pass very close in a way that may scare them, what should you do?

My best guess is to yell "coming through" from quite a distance away and be ready to slow down.
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Old 10-10-12, 05:04 PM
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Avoid using those paths if possible. Use the road instead.

Failing that, the best thing is use a bell, slow down, give them plenty of room, and be prepared for them to do something stupid.
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Old 10-10-12, 05:10 PM
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Yes, that is what I do. I may need to repeat "coming through" several times as I approach before the person notices. If I am going to be close I slow down. If they are far to the right or left I will say "on you left" or "on your right" instead. People with children or dogs are a more difficult problem. Then I announce myself and slow down while they work it out.

Pedestrians outnumber bikes on my commute through the local park by probably 10 to 1. I go out of my way to be polite. I don't want the park ranger to limit my access because of complaints.
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Old 10-10-12, 05:13 PM
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I figured there must be a better way of dealing with pedestrians than what I usually do - launch off to the grass on either side of the path for some impromptu off-roading. Nearly gave a young lady with earphones a heart attack last time I did that. I'd rather not leave a trail of cardiac arrests on my morning commute.
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Old 10-10-12, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Violet View Post
I figured there must be a better way of dealing with pedestrians than what I usually do - launch off to the grass on either side of the path for some impromptu off-roading. Nearly gave a young lady with earphones a heart attack last time I did that. I'd rather not leave a trail of cardiac arrests on my morning commute.
that's what I do.
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Old 10-10-12, 06:22 PM
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Slow down.

Your time isn't worth injuring someone. Always defer to the smaller guy. I normally yell "Bike" loudly and clearly. If nothing happens, I'll slow down to their speed behind them until I can get their attention or can pass safely.
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Old 10-10-12, 06:29 PM
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i try to avoid paths - too many donkeys doing unexpected things, both on foot and wheels. a bell is nice, but for most it just another noise and it does not signal your intent. imho - more effective to announce what you are going to do, eg. passing on the left.
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Old 10-10-12, 06:41 PM
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I ride a trail alot and the folks on it are use to bikes and when I say "on your left" they just step to the side. The only think I worry about is when they are walking little dogs. they love to dart under my wheels...
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Old 10-10-12, 07:04 PM
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Stay to your right works, but many people may act as if you are challenging them. On your left (or right) is hard for some to contemplate - requires thought and is not automatic.

Try it and let me know what you think.

I use a bell and it works fine. Frustrating on our MUP because it often has a separate path for walkers and they hardly ever use it (or the separate striped area).
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Old 10-10-12, 07:14 PM
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Yea , reduce speed, and a few courtesy rings of the bell is usually sufficient.

occasionally.. say .. Hello?

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-10-12 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 10-10-12, 07:15 PM
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"on your left" or "passing on the left" from about 30 feet away. be prepared for them to stop walking, turn around, and stand right in your way. Slowing your pace is a great idea. watch out for dogs on leashes. I avoid multi-use paths when I can. remember to say "thanks" as your passing.
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Old 10-10-12, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Shellyrides View Post
I ride a trail alot and the folks on it are use to bikes and when I say "on your left" they just step to the side. The only think I worry about is when they are walking little dogs. they love to dart under my wheels...
"On your left" or "passing on your left" works well on our trails. We also have a bell on our tandem, but people don't always hear that. I never try to squeeze by without them being aware of my presence. Dogs are a bit worrisome.
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Old 10-10-12, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Violet View Post
Not sure what they're called in other peoples locale - talking about paved paths off the main road that are for pedestrians and cyclists.

If pedestrians are blocking you, or if the only way you can pass them is to pass very close in a way that may scare them, what should you do?

My best guess is to yell "coming through" from quite a distance away and be ready to slow down.

The few times that I am on a path/pavement, that is exactly what I do. I holler "coming through on your left or right".. However, the people with earphones are a trip. I have to scream my lungs out. I am really glad it is just seldom I have to be on a path.
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Old 10-10-12, 08:03 PM
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i use "coming up on your left/right", and give as much room as possible.

some move, some flip me off, some don't respond at all. when i used a bell it just confused people (not a cyclist kinda town).
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Old 10-10-12, 08:45 PM
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Ring bell, call out "on your left", and slow way down - on crowded paths, I'm riding 10 mph at best. If I'm passing little children, dogs, people who look like they might be deaf or distracted, I slow down much further, to near walking speed. On a crowded MUP, you simply can't cruise along at 20 mph, sorry but it is true. In that situation, I go out onto the road instead.
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Old 10-10-12, 09:18 PM
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I hate riding anywhere there are pedestrians/joggers. I'd rather get buzzed and splashed by dump trucks.
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Old 10-11-12, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Violet View Post
Not sure what they're called in other peoples locale - talking about paved paths off the main road that are for pedestrians and cyclists.

If pedestrians are blocking you, or if the only way you can pass them is to pass very close in a way that may scare them, what should you do?

My best guess is to yell "coming through" from quite a distance away and be ready to slow down.
I assume the peds have the right of way because they actually do have the right of way. If traffic is light, I say "On your left" or something to that effect. I usually slow down just to be polite. If a group of peds is straddling the whole MUP, making safe passage impossible, I slow down behind them, ostentatiously clear my throat, excuse myself a bit and ask to get by. (It's Seattle; they understand the passive-aggressive reproach.)

If I'm actually just riding for transportation rather than for fun, I often avoid the MUP during weekend peak hours on nice days. I never use the MUP when I'm trying to get to work at 6:30 AM, because it doesn't go where I go, but I imagine that this would be a very good time to treat it like a bike freeway.
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Old 10-11-12, 01:21 AM
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Airzound...
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Just kidding...
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Old 10-11-12, 04:04 AM
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I call out "Passing on your left" from about 20 feet back, and pass with as much distance as possible. If they have small children or dogs with them, I slow right down as both are very unpredictable.
I only use the bell if they are wearing headsets and can't hear my voice. My personal experience as a pedestrian (I occasionally walk home) is that bells are incredibly irritating.
Above all don't wait until you are almost on top of someone to use a bell. It will startle them, and after that passes, they'll be p*ssed off.
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Old 10-11-12, 05:26 AM
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If it is truly a shared path I usually slow down to begin with and give a shout as I approach. I try not to use "on your left/right" as it only confuses people. What irks me, and has injured me, are pedestrians on the bike only lanes when there is a separated pedestrian lane. These people are usually totally oblivious. If they weren't they wouldn't be in the bike lane to begin with.
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Old 10-11-12, 05:41 AM
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I pass them as quickly and quietly as possible. I know this sounds very rude, but I've found too often that announcing myself causes pedestrians to suddenly jump to the opposite side of the path. If you yell, "On your left" they jump left, and vice versa for right. I just get around them as quickly as possible and let them be angry at me after I pass, without hurting anyone. I'd rather have an angry pedestrian than injure one. Slowing down can be hazardous, too. If you give them time to hear your chain rattle or any other noise, they again jump to the opposite side of the path (that's assuming they can even hear you, usually they have earbuds jammed in their ears and can't hear anything).
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Old 10-11-12, 05:47 AM
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I simply avoid those types of paths altogether. I'm traveling, not "recreating" (usually) and the paths are slower anyway.
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Old 10-11-12, 07:10 AM
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There are no universal rules of interraction/engagement that work. There are, however, levels of engagement or escalation of interraction.

1. Ride on the road.
2. Ride on the MUP
2.a. silently ride past giving the ped or slower cyclist at least 3' of clearance.
2.b. clack the brake levers a few times if the ped or slower cyclist is blocking the pathway.
2.c. ring the bell
2.d. say "passing" or some other phrase
2.e. speak louder if you can't pass safely
2.f. yell
2.g. air horn
2.h. (something else that may or may not be legal or acceptable to do in your location)
3. Ride the roads during hours where peds and pets are on the MUP.
3.a. read an automotive forum or motorcycle forum to see how they deal with cyclists and runners on roadways.
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Old 10-11-12, 07:27 AM
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The MUP in town has signs clearly stating "Bikes yeild to Peds". However, the 10ft wide path has a yellow centerline with clearly defined passing lanes. If people are walking on the correct side of the line I'll pass without alerting them if they are walking in a steady line. If someone is on the line I'll give them a few pings of my bell or flick my brake handle a few times. The rules of the MUP are clear though. As a bike I have to yield.

It's the groups of people who take up the entire path and seem to be blissfully unaware that anyone else in the world might be using the same path that get under my skin. Then there are the same people who like to play a game of chicken. I don't understand what's going through someones head when they are on the wrong side of the line, with a bike approaching, and just keep walking like nothing is wrong. For these people I just make steady eye contact and the game of chicken is on.

The dog walkers with the retractable leashes are a whole other breed who just piss me off.
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Old 10-11-12, 08:38 AM
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The town I just moved to has a great network of bike/ped paths, and bicycles outnumber peds probably 15:1. I don't have a bell, just an Airzound, but so far almost all peds have heard me coming (I've really gotta replace my brake pads) and moved aside. I slow down, pass with a wide berth and say, "Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening" as appropriate.
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