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Frustrating Experience on the MUP Today

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Frustrating Experience on the MUP Today

Old 04-26-14, 11:43 AM
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tpelle
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Frustrating Experience on the MUP Today

Lately, if I want to get in a quick ride, I've been using a walking/jogging/biking trail at a local sports park near my house. It's well maintained, and if you hit it at the right time, not very crowded. It encircles a park that is set up with several soccer fields on the north half, and a like number of baseball/softball fields on the south half. The MUP is only 1.25 miles per one lap, but is curvy, crosses over several bridges, winds through and area of picnic shelters, and about 1/2 mile of it is along the bank of the Ohio river.

Anyway, I normally go fairly early on Sunday morning after attending early services. Today, though, it was such nice weather that I decided to go Saturday morning, not getting there until about 10:30. Soccer and Little League was in full swing, so the road and parking lots were busy. I got my bike off the rack and took a minute to try to check out which direction the majority of the walkers/joggers were going - for some reason most seem to go counterclockwise. I always go the opposite direction, if I can, so that they see me coming even if they don't hear me over their ear buds.

As I started my ride, and go past the soccer fields, for some reason some of the parents who were watching their kids play decided to stand on the MUP instead of on the grass next to the soccer field! As I was passing one guy - and out of caution I slowed down to about a walking pace - he decided to take a step back just as I got alongside of him. He did see me in time. (I thought about reminding him that it was a walking/jogging/cycling path and not a bus stop, but I figured my sarcasm would go unappreciated.)

A little later I came up behind one young lady who was walking along while talking on a cell phone. As I approached I slowed way down again, and gave her a ding or two from my bell. She moved over to the left, which inferred that she heard me and knew I was coming, but she didn't turn her head to glance back so I remained suspicious. I was only moving just slightly faster than she was walking, but just as my front wheel was about even with her she took a weave to the right, nearly blundering right into me. I swerved to not hit her, but the trail takes a 90-degree right turn immediately past that point so I was off my line and ended up running off into the soft ground next to the trail. I tried to get stopped gracefully, but grace is not my strong point, and ended up going down at very slow speed on to my right elbow. She apologized, as she realized that her gormless bumbling was what caused me to crash.

At that pint I figured that I had enough for today, loaded my bike up, drove home, and rode on the country road with it's automobile traffic, figuring I would take my chances with the cars and pickup trucks.
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Old 04-26-14, 01:05 PM
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Sorry to hear about your less-than-great story. A lot of MUPs in my area are similar. I don't want to stereotype them, but walkers and joggers seem oblivious to the fact that they are sharing the trail with cyclists. One MUP around a local lake here (called "Green Lake") has two lanes - one for the wheels (such as bikes, rollerblades, etc) and the other for the feet. Yet a LOT of people walk or run on the wheel lane. The situation is so bad, I don't ride there anymore.
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Old 04-26-14, 01:24 PM
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Yep, sounds about right. Sorry to hear it but MUPs are all but useless for cycling when there are a bunch of foot-traffic people wandering about since they tend to be, as a rule, oblivious to their surroundings. This is a universal, immutable fact of nature. Trying to change this behavior is like bailing out the ocean with a teaspoooooon...

You were right to find a better location to ride.
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Old 04-26-14, 01:41 PM
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What I usually experience on the MUP is what I call the "she-wolf packs". Usually 5-15 women jogging together, chatting, completely oblivious to their surroundings, using the entire width of the MUP. As I approach head on, they are completely unaware until I am about 30 feet away and even once they do see me, there's usually this confusing shuffle as they try to figure out how not to block the entire path. I usually have to come almost to a complete stop to let them sort out their keystone cops routine so I can continue.
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Old 04-26-14, 03:15 PM
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Yeah I have similar experiences on my local MUP (which was created by an organization called BIKE to the sea and is clearly labeled as a community bike path). Yet people are oblivious that cyclists use the path and use it as an off leash dog trail, slow walking and taking up the whole width, etc. the thing is this path is parallel to sidewalk paths and has the same traffic crossings, so I don't get why so many people use the path to just get around. I know the common logic is to yield to pedestrians, but I think a lot of walkers need to learn better etiquette
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Old 04-26-14, 11:34 PM
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I don't like MUPs much, I have one I ride on regularly however. I use a bell, but even so occasionally someone will make un kind remarks as I pass. Often a pedestrian is lost in chat with another walker, or has ear buds, have a dog on a lease that wanders left or right along the trail.
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Old 04-27-14, 07:59 AM
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Just remember it takes no intelligence to walk anyone can do it. Expecting the walkers to be smart is like expecting your dog to wash your car.
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Old 04-27-14, 08:09 AM
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My dog does. I just smear on a little bacon grease.
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Old 04-27-14, 12:58 PM
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Actually there was this one woman walking a dog on a long leash. As I approched them head on I saw that the woman was not paying attention at all, as she was watching the little league game, and her dog was in the grass on the other side of the MUP from where she was walking.

I figured this was going to be a problem, what with the leash stretched across the path, but the dog saw me coming and swung across the path so that he and his leash were on the same side as his human.

Goes to show that the dog was the smarter one of the pair.
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Old 04-27-14, 02:36 PM
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Well, that's pretty much the reason you shouldn't ride your bike on busy trails near soccer fields, etc. Part of the challenge of cycling is figuring out good places to ride, and that evidently wasn't it or anywhere close.

If you live in a large enough area to have local bike shops or clubs, check around on what routes they use.
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Old 04-27-14, 09:45 PM
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FWIW, my experience is that any paths that are near sports facilities (soccer, baseball, or football fields, pools, etc.) are typically going to be way worse than most other areas. The paths around here are often fairly crowded, but the pedestrians around here are generally pretty observant and don't block the lanes, no off leash dogs, etc (although I do encounter a lot of people using earbuds). If anything, its the local cyclists that tend towards bad behavior (I say this as a frequent user of the same paths on my feet as well as my bike).
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Old 04-28-14, 05:31 AM
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MUPs are always hit and miss, no pun intended.

I've had bigger problems with guys on hybrids blasting through crowded MUPs yelling "on yer left" as they try to move up three places on the Strava boards. More dangerous, too.
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Old 04-28-14, 08:25 AM
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My local park has some of those MUPs, but they're useless for the kind of cycling I'd be doing there. Last fall I used to zip about it to kill time while the SO played with the dogs at the dog park portion of it but there are too many blind spots frustratingly close to kid playzones. I had a semi-close call once and since then I've been thoroughly unwilling to risk it again.

M.
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Old 04-28-14, 11:04 AM
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There is no evidence of intelligent life on Earth or that there ever will be.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
There is no evidence of intelligent life on Earth or that there ever will be.
+1

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Old 04-28-14, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
I don't like MUPs much, I have one I ride on regularly however. I use a bell, but even so occasionally someone will make un kind remarks as I pass. Often a pedestrian is lost in chat with another walker, or has ear buds, have a dog on a lease that wanders left or right along the trail.

Damned ear buds, cell phones, and mobile electronics!
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Old 04-28-14, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
Actually there was this one woman walking a dog on a long leash. As I approched them head on I saw that the woman was not paying attention at all, as she was watching the little league game, and her dog was in the grass on the other side of the MUP from where she was walking.

I figured this was going to be a problem, what with the leash stretched across the path, but the dog saw me coming and swung across the path so that he and his leash were on the same side as his human.

Goes to show that the dog was the smarter one of the pair.
I figure that the dogs are leading them around anyway, giving non-verbal commands that are mostly obeyed, that it's the dog that you've got to communicate with. When I see that dog's head turn to the left, and he moves over (could be towards me while looking back), that's when I feel like the situation is sorted out. His human might still be completely oblivious.

Well, some dogs are so well trained, with or without leash, that it doesn't matter how you approach it. But their humans tend to be a different breed also, completely different scenario. I just don't want to paint all of them with one brush.
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Old 04-28-14, 02:08 PM
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multi use paths are good for slow rides with kids
because it is an ideal place to teach them the rules of the road
and the consequences for getting it wrong are usually not too bad

and by rules of the road i mean the real rules
which are
obey all local traffic rules
and
assume everybody else on the road is not quite half as smart as a turnip
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Old 04-28-14, 02:15 PM
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I avoid MUPs other than very short sections to avoid bad sections and intersections of roads.
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Old 04-28-14, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
multi use paths are good for slow rides with kids
because it is an ideal place to teach them the rules of the road
and the consequences for getting it wrong are usually not too bad

and by rules of the road i mean the real rules
which are
obey all local traffic rules
and
assume everybody else on the road is not quite half as smart as a turnip
Reminds me of the George Carlin quote:

"Think about how dumb the average person is,
Then remember that half of the people are dumber than that!"
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Old 04-28-14, 05:51 PM
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Ride on the road.
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Old 04-29-14, 04:35 PM
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Don't get me started on this topic! I just came back from my ride - UGH! I wish I could ride on the roads but I live in the city limits AKA "the hole". In order to get out of this town you have to go up some steep hills (for me) so using a combination of the "bike path" & the streets is my only option at this point.
I am very courteous of other people. Whether I'm walking the dog, walking myself or riding my bike I'm always aware of others & I accommodate others. I walk my 9.5 lb dog on a long leash but if someone approaches me I wind that leash around my hand, keep the dog on the grass & keep myself between her & others. On bike I slow down & let people know I'm coming behind them. I don't buzz by them.
Whatever happened to the "Golden Rule"?
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Old 04-29-14, 04:45 PM
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Old 04-29-14, 05:09 PM
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Welcome to spring!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I try to avoid the MUPs and other congested paths and trails because of this kind of thing. Walkers walking four abreast, unleashed dogs, unattended children, distracted people focused on their (not so) smart phones, and speeding bicyclists that come within inches of others are enough to make me head for the roads...
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Old 04-29-14, 05:22 PM
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Typical MUP behavior. Typical parents watching kids behavior. Expect more of the same.
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