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Fewer Riders Announce?

Old 04-28-19, 05:24 PM
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gringomojado
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Fewer Riders Announce?

My favorite MUP is an asphalt winding trail with yellow center line. My wife and grand kids walk with me when I can't ride. We always stay on "our side" of the trail (USA) but I notice fewer riders announcing or using a bell. Some are "road riders" going quite fast. Is this discourtesy becoming common in most areas? It is almost as bad as the auto drivers.
gm
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Old 04-28-19, 06:00 PM
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On the weekends our Greenway/MUP is very crowded and lots of people use the whole path walking with dogs, strollers, or whatever. I have stopped announcing my pass if it looks safe(I go slow). If I do announce it seems to cause panic with the group and they all scatter in different directions. Yesterday a group of four people, walking a dog and a stroller had the whole path blocked. I decided to slowly go to the right of them on the grass and one guy in the group yelled at me as I passed: "Would be nice if you announced on your right!" So, not sure if you can always win by announcing or not.
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Old 04-28-19, 06:04 PM
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My spouse is a distance runner, and she always announces when on a bike. She says the runners really do appreciate the courtesy.
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Old 04-28-19, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by themp View Post
On the weekends our Greenway/MUP is very crowded and lots of people use the whole path walking with dogs, strollers, or whatever. I have stopped announcing my pass if it looks safe(I go slow). If I do announce it seems to cause panic with the group and they all scatter in different directions. Yesterday a group of four people, walking a dog and a stroller had the whole path blocked. I decided to slowly go to the right of them on the grass and one guy in the group yelled at me as I passed: "Would be nice if you announced on your right!" So, not sure if you can always win by announcing or not.
Very much THIS. Walkers on MUP's do not seem to follow any rules. They walk to the right, or they walk to the left so that they can see oncoming cyclists, yet assume that they have the right of way. I don't announce myself so that I can get by before they do something more stupid than they are already doing. If they are not able to consistently follow rules, they should not expect the same from cyclists. I would much rather pass a walker on a MUP and hear them complain than to announce myself and have them step in front of me
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Old 04-28-19, 06:22 PM
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Exactly.. it's complete pot luck what result you'll get from a group of pedestrians (in NY, half the time they're foreign tourists, so language and potential differences of experience in what side of the road one drives on) when you sound a bell or yell out. Sneak approach seems safest, you're passing them at the same time they know you're there.
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Old 04-28-19, 06:26 PM
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My difficulty with announcing my presence vocally is that I have a voice that either sounds too soft to hear from a distance, or that sounds angry. I'm not announcing my presence in anger, but to make my voice heard, the people who hear it will hear anger in my voice despite my good intentions. So I have a choice; sound like a jerk, or do my best to give a wide berth as I go around people on the path. If I can't do the latter, then I must do the former. When that gaggle of strollers fills the path, or a small group of walkers leave very little room, or even a single walker is not keeping a straight line, such that I cannot tell where he or she will be when I approach, then people get the angry voice (with a non-angry person emitting it).

I guess I should get a bell for each of my bikes, but my handlebar space is getting a little cramped. The road bike (Cannondale Synapse) came with CX inline brake levers on the tops. I ride at night a lot so there's usually a light or a light mount on the handlebars of both my road bike and hybrid. I have a Garmin, so there's an out-front mount on my road bike and a standard mount on my hybrid. And I have a Garmin remote (believe it or not, it's a nice addition) within thumb's reach on each bike. A bell may be possible if it's one of those circular ring types. Perhaps I'll get one for my hybrid and see how it goes. If it better serves to alert people without giving them an angry-tone voice it's probably worthwhile.

In principle people should stick to their side of the path, and overtakers should move over to the left side to overtake when it is safe to do so. But my experience riding the MUP in Salt Lake County, MUPs in Los Angeles, and MUPs in Portland, Oregon is that it is human nature to not pay much attention to what side of the path you are on when you are:
  • Walking
  • Walking in a group
  • Walking in a group with strollers
  • Jogging in a small group
  • Cycling with leisure in a small group
  • Cycling with kids.
  • Walking with pets on leashes.
  • Walking with pets on extendable leashes.
This is even worse on places like the Strand MUP along the beach in Los Angeles; the pavement is just something to be crossed as you hang around at the beach, and crossing is not something to be done with any haste. People will drag a cooler along, stop in the middle and turn around to call out to their kids, carry on a conversation, and so on, not even realizing they're blocking a path of moving joggers, skaters, cyclists, walkers, and kooks.

We can't change reality, we can only mitigate by being careful.
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Old 04-28-19, 06:39 PM
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I announce my presence by voice, loud enough but with calm. I say which side I am passing on and when I go by I always say thank you.
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Old 04-28-19, 06:45 PM
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I bike on many central Iowa bike trails and used to announce the typical "on your left" for years. I noticed some of the startle or annoyed reactions previous posters have mentioned. A couple years ago I switched to using a bell to announce and get almost 100% good response...seems like people instinctively know the deal when I give a ding ding. I use the Oi bell and it has a pleasant ring to it and works for me. Also notice more people are using bells instead of the voice warning.

The unpredictability of leashed dogs and small kids still scare me more than anything still.
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Old 04-28-19, 06:51 PM
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I never announce because when I do they move over in front of me. Not because they intend to, but because people are stupid. So I just keep my mouth shut and pass by them quietly.

If I want to see things go from somewhat organized to helter skelter all I have to do is say "on your left!" That pretty much does it.
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Old 04-28-19, 08:35 PM
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No I don't announce myself. I've found the 'sneak attack' method works best. If I'm riding on the local MUP at dawn the few folks that are out there are usually working out (jogging, power walking, rollerblading, bicycling) and seem to be quite aware of their surrounds, so no need to say anything. If later in the day I find most folks either are in packs (walking, jogging, bicycling, etc) and are either engulfed in conversation with their mates, or they are wearing earphones that prevent them from hearing anything.

FWIW: I'm not the fastest rider by far (my bicycles are best described as 'touring' rigs), so I only occasionally pass another bicycle rider.
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Old 04-28-19, 09:17 PM
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I ride pretty fast and I almost always announce. I find the number of people I stop from taking a random step into the lane ahead of me farrrrrr outweighs the few who get startled or confused. I get thanked for announcing a lot.

Sorry, but I find the rationalizations of neither announcing or making a a sound totally flimsy.
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Old 04-28-19, 09:32 PM
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I don't announce my presence, because frankly I don't want the slow-moving randos in front of me to know I'm coming. Because 9 times out of 10, they will look over their left shoulder, and in doing so unconsciously drift to the left, which is the location I will be occupying momentarily. I'm usually doing 6-7mph faster than the typical rider on the trail, so 9-10fps. I'm past the slow traffic in less than a second. I see absolutely no need to turn it into a whole "thing."

Disclaimer: My trail riding is about 80% on the northern SART (Santa Ana River Trail) which is basically a freeway for bicycles. Bikes only, and no posted speed limit. Top Strava segment speeds ~30mph.
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Old 04-28-19, 10:14 PM
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I think of it like a ski slope. Everything in front of you is your responsibility to overtake kindly because they can't be expected to notice you coming. Give them a wide berth if you can, you don't need to keep going full tilt, don't buzz them with malice. You should not be on a mup on a weekend with the impression you have a right to go 20 for an hour without interruption. They're not in your way because it's their way too. But there's not a lot of point to signaling when most of them won't notice and some of them will turn toward you looking over their shoulders. If you need them to notice, slow down and signal until they do.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Exactly.. it's complete pot luck what result you'll get from a group of pedestrians (in NY, half the time they're foreign tourists, so language and potential differences of experience in what side of the road one drives on) when you sound a bell or yell out. Sneak approach seems safest, you're passing them at the same time they know you're there.
Sneak approach is the answer for me. Pass when it's safe, and with a wide margin. If the pedestrian is spooked then by the time they react and jump into your path you've already passed them.

I used to announce but too much of the time the pedestrians would jump into my way rather than out of it. By announcing yourself you give them the chance to jump into your path in front of you, rather than after you've already passed.

And half the time the pedestrians / runners have ear buds in and wouldn't hear you if you had an air horn on the bike. (Mental note...get an air horn for the bike)

The MUP's I ride are not in populated areas. You mostly need a car to drive to the MUP. So you have pedestrians en masse withing a mile either direction of a parking lot, then maybe an occasional distance runner further down the trail. I find the best option is to just ride slow through that 2 mile section near each of the 2 popular parking lots, both within the first 5 miles of the the trail head. (So 4 of the first 5 miles) then let it rip after that and see maybe 1 or 2 runners who are experiences enough that far from the car that they don't do anything dumb.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:28 AM
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It doesn’t matter. They’re usually too clueless to deal with. Bells, yelling, whatever, most are just too stupid.

They scatter, weave, have headphones, dogs on long leashes, are chasing a toddler, and looking at a phone. ***** em. I’m a guy with a dog and toddler when not riding, I can handle my creatures, they should be able to handle theirs.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by themp View Post
On the weekends our Greenway/MUP is very crowded and lots of people use the whole path walking with dogs, strollers, or whatever. I have stopped announcing my pass if it looks safe(I go slow). If I do announce it seems to cause panic with the group and they all scatter in different directions. Yesterday a group of four people, walking a dog and a stroller had the whole path blocked. I decided to slowly go to the right of them on the grass and one guy in the group yelled at me as I passed: "Would be nice if you announced on your right!" So, not sure if you can always win by announcing or not.
Yup, quite a few times it's been a damned if you do/damned if you don't for me. I've seen the "scatter" situation quite a few times. It's mostly the walkers/talkers that always seem lost and quite a few think that conversing while straddling both lanes is ok. Then you have the really lost people on their phones. Announce or not, nothing fazes them. Lost in their own little world. SIGH
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Old 04-29-19, 07:37 AM
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I do slow down to nothing for tiny kids on a bike. Usually to tell them they’re doing great and to smile. I’ll run over their parents and high 5 the kids.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I think of it like a ski slope. Everything in front of you is your responsibility to overtake kindly because they can't be expected to notice you coming. Give them a wide berth if you can, you don't need to keep going full tilt, don't buzz them with malice. You should not be on a mup on a weekend with the impression you have a right to go 20 for an hour without interruption. They're not in your way because it's their way too. But there's not a lot of point to signaling when most of them won't notice and some of them will turn toward you looking over their shoulders. If you need them to notice, slow down and signal until they do.
On the plus side when you're on a MUP you don't need to account for snowboarders who think the right of way for the person in front includes sitting down in the middle of the trail....for an hour.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:43 AM
  #19  
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In my experience it is best to slow down, be prepared to stop, but not announce I'm passing. The only time I will say something is when there is not enough room to pass. Usually "excuse me" or "good morning" works.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:44 AM
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Hard to tell, whether a smaller or greater percentage of people alert to their passing intentions, on MUPs.

Myself, over the years I've been a walker, runner, cyclist. One thing I have always done is: approach from behind with a fairly low speed differential while passing. No matter what else might be the case around others, it's almost always the safest option.

I've never been able to determine what someone's likely to do, if announcing my approach, when a single walker or multiple walkers are in a MUP lane. As frequently as not, it seems they're likely to jet left into the "passing" lane, completely unannounced, as though they've lost their minds, gotten scared, and/or utterly forgotten the traffic rules/guidelines. And so, I pass relatively slowly. I might well not announce, if the walker or jogger is solo and in the right-most portion of the right-hand lane. If it's a cyclist I'm passing, I almost always announce.

One thing I wish folks would do: if you're going to be sharing multiple lanes on a MUP or any other roadway, whether it be in a truck or car or bike or walking/jogging, always adhere to the basic traffic rules and never make rapid unannounced maneuvers blindly. Which is about as likely to happen as my finding $1B in gold buried in my back yard.
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Old 04-29-19, 09:54 AM
  #21  
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I use a bell, but many pedestrians do not hear me because they have ear buds in. When they do hear me, they generally move to the right. When they don't, I pass as widely as possibly. I always say thank you as I go by. Before I had the bell I used my voice, and even from far away most people jumped right out of their skins. The bell works better.
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Old 04-29-19, 10:23 AM
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Y
Originally Posted by jackb View Post
I use a bell, but many pedestrians do not hear me because they have ear buds in. When they do hear me, they generally move to the right. When they don't, I pass as widely as possibly. I always say thank you as I go by. Before I had the bell I used my voice, and even from far away most people jumped right out of their skins. The bell works better.
I installed a bell on my fastest bike for exactly that reason......

I came around a 90 degree wooded corner the other day and encountered a woman walking a dog. She was on the left side of the road. Her dog had her taunt Flexi leash stretched across most of the road. Her dog was moving toward my bike maintaining the tension in the line. I ended up with about one foot of paved road to pass on. I suspect I would have ended up in an “accident” if the woman’s husband did not take the leash from her and stop the dog before it reached me. I believe the woman panicked & froze, moved the wrong way.... like others have mentioned.

I stoped to try to talk to the couple about the incident. They said they did not hear my bell over their shuffling feet, conversation.....I got a good “blessing out”. I was told I needed a louder bell or horn.....I think they were just frightened that they almost caused an”accident’.

It can be dangerous to try to ring a bell on bumpy, twisty roads or paths. I have tried whistling but sometimes it is hard to do, with a dry mouth.

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Old 04-29-19, 10:39 AM
  #23  
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I only announce if I see someone drifting or riding erratically. As others have said, IME, announcing only produces the desired result 50% of the time, and produces exactly the wrong result 30-40% of the time.

Like driving my car in traffic, if everyone behaves according to the rules, stays in their lane, holds their line, doesn't stop unexpectedly, and signals if they are going to deviate, then faster traffic can pass slower traffic with no problem.

FWIW, this is also why I prefer the street to the MUP, and generally avoid the park on pretty days.

I suspect the real underlying problem here is that there are an awful lot of people out there with the attitude that they own the path and may behave however they like without regard for others. These people are not limited to teh people who don't ride like you.
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Old 04-29-19, 11:28 AM
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My voice doesn't carry so I do use a bell. That being said, on the one MUP that is very congested I don't typically announce or all you would hear for that mile is a bunch of random bells and shouts of "On your Left". Most people in that section just pass when safe and go about their way, especially since it is a wider MUP. If I am on the more empty parts of that MUP then I ring depending on the situation but normally I can swing out wide and not come near the person I'm passing. There are some other not highly used trails that aren't quite as wide and on those I always announce since the passing zones aren't that wide so I'm closer to the walker/runner when I am passing.
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Old 04-29-19, 11:40 AM
  #25  
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I announce my presence by backpedaling briefly so my really noisy hub is even noisier than usual. Most of the time people will indicate that they know I'm there by side stepping or moving their head.

If they don't acknowledge then I'll either pass extra wide with caution (earbud zombies) or give them a "hello."

I don't see much of the drama that has been discussed by some folks.
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