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I ran into three year old boy on the path today. :(

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

I ran into three year old boy on the path today. :(

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Old 07-18-08, 03:27 PM
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I ran into three year old boy on the path today. :(

It's been one of my worst fears, and it happened. I was passing two other cyclists towards a woman on the left, standing off the path. On the far side of her was her child who darted out in front of me to cross the path where his father was, and where the lake was. I was going a realistic speed but I knocked him about eight feet onto the path and some concrete that people sit on. I tried to stop so hard, that my fingers hurt and I stretched my cables on my brakes enough to have to re-adjust them.

I stopped right away and called for an ambulance; which isn't easy on the path since there are no official addresses, and in a panic situation it's even more difficult to explain where one is. The 911 operator asked if I was near any landmarks, to which I replied "well.. I'm right next to Lake Michigan."

The boy was pretty beat up and had a cut on his head that needed stitches. At some point the parents said I didn't have to stick around since it was clear the boy ran in front of me. The lifeguard also said I didn't need to stay. I felt bad about just riding off, but it seemed like the mother didn't really want me there anymore.

Of course I feel terrible, but the way he ran onto the path, one of the three of us would have him him without question. I just happened to be there first. He was so focused on running toward his father, that he didn't once turn and see me coming.

So I rode away before the ambulance for there, but after another two miles of riding, I stopped and called my father to confirm that I didn't just "leave the scene" of an accident. Plus, sometimes in life it's just a good time to call dad.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:29 PM
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That sucks, I probably would have stuck around for the ambulance to come just to cover myself, even if the parents had told me I could go.

Why were you riding on the path anyway? Wasn't there a road/cycle path about?
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Old 07-18-08, 03:30 PM
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When riding on a path filled with kids, dogs, and old ladies, when I get within twenty yards of the kid, the dog, or the old lady, I ride THEIR speed. Say "Hello, nice day isn't it"....they figure out which way they want to go...I ride by at about 2 mph.

When I see guys riding 25 mph (often in a paceline of ten bikes) down a MUP, it makes me want to bring some thumbtacks on my next ride.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:32 PM
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SUCK!

Hard to take - no doubt. Never easy to think clearly when those kind of things happen, but in the future I would recommend staying no matter what. Not sure of the legal ramifications, but more for your peace of mind being that you have always seemd to be a decent human being and actually care.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
When I see guys riding 25 mph (often in a paceline of ten bikes) down a MUP, it makes me want to bring some thumbtacks on my next ride.
I second this.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:33 PM
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I'm with you, I can't stand to see guys riding 20mph on one of these trails.
I nevere ride on MUP's, too many chances of someone getting hurt.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:40 PM
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damn, that sux!

i ran into a christian once, knocked him down.

but i'm pretty sure he forgave me, so it's all good. (true story)
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Old 07-18-08, 03:44 PM
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It sounds like the kid is going to live, and hopefully learn a good lesson in the process. I probably would have stuck around in case anybody needed a statement (I'm not sure what constitutes "leaving the scene" since the other party gave their approval), but it sounds like the parents were level headed and recognized that the fault was the kid's (theirs by default) and such is life.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:47 PM
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actually, I started crying and thought that wouldn't be much help so that's why I left.

I also didn't think the crying would impress the VERY attractive lifeguard.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:50 PM
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This is just about my greatest fear, both as a rider and as the dad of little kids. You did the right thing by sticking around.

Chin up, little kids are remarkably resillient.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:51 PM
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Thank God that little boy is ok. Accidents happen. Hopefully he won't be scared for life from those stitches.
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Old 07-18-08, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
When riding on a path filled with kids, dogs, and old ladies, when I get within twenty yards of the kid, the dog, or the old lady, I ride THEIR speed. Say "Hello, nice day isn't it"....they figure out which way they want to go...I ride by at about 2 mph.

When I see guys riding 25 mph (often in a paceline of ten bikes) down a MUP, it makes me want to bring some thumbtacks on my next ride.
ABH, I didn't even know you were still alive!

But like I said, the kid was not visible until he darted out from behind his mother and he would have gotten hit by one of the other cyclists next to me, regardless of speed.

And also, I rarely care what you think - but thanks anyway!
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Old 07-18-08, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
When riding on a path filled with kids, dogs, and old ladies, when I get within twenty yards of the kid, the dog, or the old lady, I ride THEIR speed. Say "Hello, nice day isn't it"....they figure out which way they want to go...I ride by at about 2 mph.

When I see guys riding 25 mph (often in a paceline of ten bikes) down a MUP, it makes me want to bring some thumbtacks on my next ride.
I disagree, it's our path too and people shouldn't wander randomly zigzagging and not paying any attention to what's going on around them. I've had old people walk straight at me, staring at their feet, shuffling around left and right in no predictable manner. They have to know there are bikes around them right? They're like zombies or something. Kids and dogs on the other hand are just dumb, and it's hard to get mad at them for what they do but it doesn't mean their caretakers shouldn't be paying a little bit of attention... Maybe I'm an ass but if I slowed down to 2mph every time I went near these people it would pretty much make it pointless to ride the path near my house. YMMV
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Old 07-18-08, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
This is just about my greatest fear, both as a rider and as the dad of little kids. You did the right thing by sticking around.

Chin up, little kids are remarkably resillient.
Mine bounces....then gets up and punches the ground for hitting him.


...real tough guy this one... The boots...his idea.


BTW - check the guads. Hello can someone say sprinter?
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Old 07-18-08, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
I disagree, it's our path too and people shouldn't wander randomly zigzagging and not paying any attention to what's going on around them. I've had old people walk straight at me, staring at their feet, shuffling around left and right in no predictable manner. They have to know there are bikes around them right? They're like zombies or something. Kids and dogs on the other hand are just dumb, and it's hard to get mad at them for what they do but it doesn't mean their caretakers shouldn't be paying a little bit of attention... Maybe I'm an ass
Uhhh....maybe you just pinpointed that one....I'm not saying...just saying....

Originally Posted by mazdaspeed
but if I slowed down to 2mph every time I went near these people it would pretty much make it pointless to ride the path near my house. YMMV
Again....that's kind of the point. It's a MUP. Can't sign away your liability. If you hit a kid that darted into the road with your car is the kid at fault? We know this. We accept it. You need to as well.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:05 PM
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Man, that must have been really tough on you. The kid too, but it just sucks to be the cause, even though you're clearly not the cause, of this pain.

Parents' fault, 100%.

FWIW: this is one of the reasons I really never ride on a MUP. I need to know that everyone is going the same direction of me, and at least 1/3 of my speed.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
SUCK!

Hard to take - no doubt. Never easy to think clearly when those kind of things happen, but in the future I would recommend staying no matter what. Not sure of the legal ramifications, but more for your peace of mind being that you have always seemd to be a decent human being and actually care.
I agree with Psimet, but I really recommend just staying off MUPs where you can, or ride with great caution. I realize the Lakefront is one of the great paths in the country, however!
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Old 07-18-08, 04:08 PM
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wow...that is terrible. glad everyone walked away ok all things considered.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
When riding on a path filled with kids, dogs, and old ladies, when I get within twenty yards of the kid, the dog, or the old lady, I ride THEIR speed. Say "Hello, nice day isn't it"....they figure out which way they want to go...I ride by at about 2 mph.

When I see guys riding 25 mph (often in a paceline of ten bikes) down a MUP, it makes me want to bring some thumbtacks on my next ride.
I like to do this when I'm driving too, because you never can tell when a parent is going to let a toddler run in to traffic.

If the cyclist is at fault then that's bad. When they're not, they're not. A MUP isn't a sidewalk… a paceline is inappropriate but then so is having to walk your bike.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post

Again....that's kind of the point. It's a MUP.
Then you're kindof defeating your own point. I have just as much of a right to go 20mph as they do to stand in the middle of the path with binoculars and look at birds. That doesn't give them the right to NOT pay attention and be oblivious to everything around them. In an ideal world everyone would be respectful and attentive and this wouldn't be a problem. And that being said, I agree with waterrockets and Road Fan, that you should probably stay off of MUP's, but some of us don't have the time and leisure to put our bikes in our cars and drive to a real trail whenever we want to ride.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:13 PM
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Sorry to hear this story. You must be a decent person to post this.

On the other hand, I would sell my bike if all I had was MUP's. How can one be a serious cyclists riding within feet of 3 year olds. There may not be any other options in Chicago but I would spend considerable energy trying to find a better place to ride or I would probably switch to running.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
Then you're kindof defeating your own point. I have just as much of a right to go 20mph as they do to stand in the middle of the path with binoculars and look at birds.
"Rights" do not apply to a MUP. In any case, you are risking serious civil liability (tort) by traveling at 20 mph near pedestrians. You may want to argue your point, but a jury looking at a hurt kid won't buy it.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
I disagree, it's our path too and people shouldn't wander randomly zigzagging and not paying any attention to what's going on around them. I've had old people walk straight at me, staring at their feet, shuffling around left and right in no predictable manner. They have to know there are bikes around them right? They're like zombies or something. Kids and dogs on the other hand are just dumb, and it's hard to get mad at them for what they do but it doesn't mean their caretakers shouldn't be paying a little bit of attention... Maybe I'm an ass but if I slowed down to 2mph every time I went near these people it would pretty much make it pointless to ride the path near my house. YMMV
I know the Lakefront and love it and grew up riding it from Bryn Mawr to the Main Library and back every day, but if it's too crowded it's too crowded. Even 30 years ago there were times when it was too crowded. I don't recall if lately there are speed signs on it, but here in Ann Arbor and elsewhere in Michigan a lot of MUPs have 10 mph signs! The reason is to make it safer. It's one of the real-world problems with calling multiple-use-paths bicycle routes. As we know, we can't reasonably train or even have a good ride at 10 mph. But, the City can't have families with kids unable to use the paths. It's not solvable if we need to use the path at those speeds. It isn't reasonable to ban old folks and families from such a great park, either, and politically they'll carry more clout than any group of cyclists.

Think of all the pressure training and fartlek training you can do with your buds by slowing down and then sprinting back up to speed when you're clear of the moving obstacles! Good training for criterium dynamics, I'd bet!

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Old 07-18-08, 04:20 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention the bike IS ok. It's steel... just in case.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlieWoo View Post
"Rights" do not apply to a MUP. In any case, you are risking serious civil liability (tort) by traveling at 20 mph near pedestrians. You may want to argue your point, but a jury looking at a hurt kid won't buy it.
Is there any case law on this matter? Most paths like that have designated bike lanes (which peds invariably ignore). I have a hard time believing that you could be prosecuted for hitting a kid that walked into the bike lane.

To be clear, I don't go whizzing by children and dogs every time I ride, but I will generally swerve before I would consider slowing down.
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