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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread over on MTBR.com and my recent ride on a local bike path this past weekend got me thinking about bike path etiquette and interactions between different path users:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=189656

Anyway, I use two local paths on a regular basis, one for commuting, and one for recreation. This past weekend, I set out at around 7am for a long ride, the first (and last) 11 miles of which are on a bike path, and early mornings on it are usually empty; mostly, cyclists from the city, like me, use it to access better, uncongested road rides out in the suburbs and country. The return trip home in the afternoon is noticibly different: walkers, rollerbladers, dog-walkers, families and kids on bikes, skateboards, etc. On a sunny spring Saturday or Sunday, it's packed.

Nonetheless, I've seen cyclists rocket by me at 30+ mph during crowded afternoons! A while back, a guy dressed like Captain America on a Triathlon bike (on aero bars, in a crouch, no helmet...) riding super fast on the bike path cut a corner wide and missed hitting me head-on by millimeters. I've witnessed speeding cyclists take out rollerbladers, and then curse them out for "getting in the way." Good Grief.

Now, I generally take the approach that if I choose to ride on a bike path on a sunny weekend day, I'm not going to be the only one there. It's a public path, even though it's called a "bike" path, and I adjust my speed and patience level accordingly. I tone down my pace and don't just expect to have the right of way, or have people to move for me, etc. I figure it's better to defer to slower moving "traffic," and ere on the side of caution and safety. I'm not going to risk running over somebody's kid because I have to keep my heart-rate in a particular zone; if I want to ride fast, I do it on an open road. On the bike path, I make prodigious use of my bike bell, and I take my time.

It occurs to me, however, that not all cyclists view public bike paths the same way, either to the credit or disservice of all of us. I'm curious to hear other commuters/tourers/path-users reflections on their local bike path experiences. What's your take on bike path etiquette?
 

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The things are not "Bike Paths" they are "MUTs"

As in Multi Use Trails.

As the fastest users on the Multi Use Trails it is incumbent on cyclists to take caution, control their speed and yield as needed. (Yes, I know, "Dream on MB1).

We pretty much avoid them when the weather is good-"No one goes there any more, they are too popular."

I'm thinking that the folks that use MUTs to go fast are @#X%&!!!. Don't get me started about folks with their ears blocked up and/or Roller Bladers (Roller Bladders???). The places are flat out dangerous IMHO.
 

· Call me a Fred
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I have to admit that I wonder about the common sense of those who ride fast on congested MUTs. If you want to go fast, use a road. Of course, then you will have some idiot motorist tell you to get on a bike path and off the streets.
 

· Big is relative
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I use a MUT to commute. There is a long section that is usually empty that I usually roll around 20+ mph and then there is the section that is usually full of joggers in the morning. I plan my commute around going slow through there. Most of the morning joggers move right and wave when they hear my bell. By law here in Hawaii, the cyclist is responsible to alert the pedestrian of his presence. In the morning, everyone responds like they are supposed to, the afternoon usually has the iPod joggers running on the centerline and the parents jogging while their kids weave back and forth across the MUT on their bikes. Bottom line, there is a two mile section that I just have to keep it slow and keep two fingers on the brakes all of the time. Still better than riding on the Kamehameha Highway during rush hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's the thing. Everyone should (in an ideal world of bike paths and MUT's) be responsible for their own actions, but this is rarely the case. For example, wandering children on a bike path...when the parent is 30 ft. away, talking on a cell phone, and ignoring the kid (just one of the recent gems I witnessed this weekend). I feel a little justified anger (at the irresponsible parent, not the kid). I suppose they let their kids play in traffic too...but, I'm sorry, I don't mean to turn this into a b#%ching session. My apologies.
 

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I use a MUT extensively-usually around a 6 mile sectioin at the start and end of my rides. Usually, the only crowded sections are in the middle or after school (two schools are within a mile of each other on the trail-avoid 3pm at all costs!) I just have to plan on going slower on those sections. I always give people a heads up "on your left" and hope they acknowledge. If they don't, I'm very cautious as I pass. What drives me crazy is the people walking their dogs-off leash! Talk about dangerous. I have had more than one run-in with such folks, and they tell me that I need to slow down. The paths around here have a speed limit of 15 MPH, and I tell them this, but they don't seem to pay attention. Anyway, I try to limit my MUT us, but it beats riding the streets in rush hour traffic
 

· What'd I do?
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I'm relatively fortunate when it comes to MUT's. I rarely have to take a crowded one. The problem I see is that where I use them, there are no signs (or extremely infrequent--I haven't seen them) that inform users of trail etiquette. If there were, I don't know how many of the users would understand them, unless they were posted in English and Spanish. Since there aren't many people, and they almost always walk/ride in the middle of the path, I give a warning skid about 15-20 feet away (at an appropriate speed). The skid makes them jump a little, but I'm far enough away and going slow enough to avoid it.
 

· "It's alive!"
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I've seen a convincing article which said that bike paths are the most dangerous places to ride, that one is far more likely to suffer a severe injury on a bike path than on a road. Given what I've personally experienced, and given supporting anecdotes in posts like this, I believe that article.

Remember, people need to be responisble enough to get a driver's license to drive a car on a road, generally speaking. Any crazed yahoo can go out and wreak pandemonium on a bike path.

Note that I'm talking about seperate bike paths, not bike lanes. I understand that bike lanes are relatively safe.

- FBB
 

· Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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MUTs are for $hit

When I first got my wife into cycling, she wondered why we always took the roads instead of the bike path on the beach (it does say "Bikes Only" ... uh-huh). Even though I tried to explain that even Pacific Coast Highway was safer than the bike path, she found it hard to believe. So one time I took her on the bike path from the Marina back to the Palisades, about a 9 mile clip. Through Venice we saw two accidents and god-knows how many close calls. She was positively awe-struck by the idiocy that surrounded us. The most common hazard is the pedestrian crossing without looking, though you get used to the fact that if someone's walking toward the path they will cross it without looking. Unpredictable kids; novice cyclists on rented beaters (real beaters, MB1); goofballs on those low-rider three-wheelers; rollerbladers, arms flailing, swinging from one side of the path to the other; pets; u-turners; the list goes on ...

We are lucky to have a quieter stretch of strand for 5 miles between the Marina and Manhattan Beach. Though now that summer is approaching it may not stay so quiet.
 

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DrRoebuck said:
When I first got my wife into cycling, she wondered why we always took the roads instead of the bike path on the beach (it does say "Bikes Only" ... uh-huh). Even though I tried to explain that even Pacific Coast Highway was safer than the bike path, she found it hard to believe. So one time I took her on the bike path from the Marina back to the Palisades, about a 9 mile clip. Through Venice we saw two accidents and god-knows how many close calls. She was positively awe-struck by the idiocy that surrounded us. The most common hazard is the pedestrian crossing without looking, though you get used to the fact that if someone's walking toward the path they will cross it without looking. Unpredictable kids; novice cyclists on rented beaters (real beaters, MB1); goofballs on those low-rider three-wheelers; rollerbladers, arms flailing, swinging from one side of the path to the other; pets; u-turners; the list goes on ...

We are lucky to have a quieter stretch of strand for 5 miles between the Marina and Manhattan Beach. Though now that summer is approaching it may not stay so quiet.
You forgot to mention tourist having their picture taken in the middle of a busy path:mad:
I use the bike path(huh) as part of my commute when I head back. Nothing really beats commuting by the beach. I'm just very aware of my surroundings and make sure I don't clip anyone. Ohhh, I can't wait for summer.....
 
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