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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/31/AR2008053102022.html

Lance Armstrong wannabes be forewarned: Starting this week, the speed limit on the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda will be 15 mph.
There are a couple things I find disturbing about this. Bolding mine:

For the most part, joggers, cyclists and walkers who use trails in the region coexist peacefully, but increasingly crowded trails can lead to conflict. Although no agency keeps a tally of the number of incidents, there are anecdotes. In January, for example, park police were called to mediate a dispute between a dog walker and a cyclist. Last month, they responded to a report of a jogger struck by a cyclist.

The decision to establish the Bethesda limit rose out of discussions that began last year between commission officials and members of the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, a citizens advisory and advocacy group. Both groups had been getting informal reports of growing numbers of collisions on the trail.

Peter Gray, chairman of the Coalition, said his group would love to see the trail widened to accommodate the increasing number of users, but park officials and the coalition had to find other strategies because of cost and other factors. He said that although no study was done to examine the effectiveness of speed limits, coalition members hope the change will make a difference.
In other words, they have not established that the trail is any more dangerous than it used to be, either in total accidents or accident rate. They have not compared CCT safety to other trails to judge overall safety relative to what is expected and reasonable. In fact, they have no baseline so they won't be able to accurately say whether the speed limits increase safety or not.

They didn't do any kind of fact-finding whatsoever, in terms of current accident rates, past accident rates, acceptable accident rates, or most effective speed limits. From the sound of this I am guessing a very small number of people complained about cyclists and the result is going to be haphazard at best.

The article also points out that many cyclists don't have speedometers.

Finally, even if a speed limit is proven necessary, having a speed limit 24/7 doesn't make much sense to me. Someone commuting at 05:00 or 22:00 will see very few other trail users in the area they are posting the limits.

I realize I may be coming off as bitter here, and that's because I am. :) I am for trail safety, don't go blazing through this area, and don't do group rides on the trail. I do think there are probably quite a few better ways to keep the trail safe rather instead of a speed limit.
 

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Lots of talk on Potamac Pedalers email list. (i got bored of reading).

Some serious posts on mabra-uscf..but they decided to end the discussion for now - but had a good post with information not seen else where.
 

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What are you worried about? Do you think park rangers will be sitting there with radar guns to catch commuters at 8:00 AM Monday morning? The average speed most people ride is 18 mph anyway.

I agree that creating regulations in the absence of a verified issue is naive at best but that is what happens when a vocal few get organized and there is no one to refute their claims.
 

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RHRoop said:
What are you worried about? Do you think park rangers will be sitting there with radar guns to catch commuters at 8:00 AM Monday morning? The average speed most people ride is 18 mph anyway.

I agree that creating regulations in the absence of a verified issue is naive at best but that is what happens when a vocal few get organized and there is no one to refute their claims.
Yes it will happen.
 

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I remember what happened to the Orange County (CA) beach bike trails. First no speed limit, than a 15mph limit, then more limits all the way down to 4mph until finally cyclists were no longer allowed near the piers on weekends. Enforced by police.

Cyclists and politicans organized to get the MUTs in the first place but then the locals found out how nice they were to run/jog/stroll on and forced the cyclists off.

For some time now I have expected the same thing to happen to all the local DC MUTs.
 

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They did it for a while on the Mt. Vernon trail...

bas said:
Yes it will happen.
They did it a bunch of years ago (15+) on the Mt. Vernon trail. The local TV news did a piece on how the cops were going to start ticketing - they interviewed my sister. Don't know of anyone who actually got a ticket, however.

For a whole bunch of reasons, it just doesn't pay to go fast on the MUT's around here. Going fast would just contribute to the general idiocy that usually prevails on the trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
RHRoop said:
What are you worried about? Do you think park rangers will be sitting there with radar guns to catch commuters at 8:00 AM Monday morning? The average speed most people ride is 18 mph anyway.
Yes, since the article said this was the exact plan. They're going to give warnings first then start with tickets.

The trail is at a slight incline, going down from Bethesda, MD, to the Georgetown waterfront in DC. Going south, it doesn't take much effort to average 18-20mph from Bethesda to the DC line, particularly when I commute since there is almost no other traffic. I doubt they will ticket at 05:30, but you never know since ticketing is in their stated plans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gregory Taylor said:
For a whole bunch of reasons, it just doesn't pay to go fast on the MUT's around here. Going fast would just contribute to the general idiocy that usually prevails on the trail.
I pretty much agree, but I think something like a reckless riding offense makes more sense than just plain speeding. I can tell you that if I get a ticket commuting at 05:30 when there are almost no other trail users, I won't be happy about it. On the other hand, it would be a bad idea for me to cruise through the typical afternoon traffic at the speeds I do in the early morning.

After the initial push, enforcement will probably fall by the wayside, but the whole process still bothers me.
 

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from mabra email list

Here is an important development regarding the CCT 15 mph speed limits:
Mary Bradford of the Maryland National Parks and Planning Commission is scheduled to attend a meeting on Monday, July 14 from 7 to 9 pm at the Bethesda Library with the Coalition for the CCT. According to the C-CCT's announcement, the meeting is to discuss the "safety improvements" on the CCT, including the ill-considered 15 mph speed limit.
This is an important opportunity for the cycling community to represent our concern and desire for change in the M-NCPPC's poor decision regarding speed limits, and we need your help. Here's what you can do:
(1) Plan on attending the meeting on Monday, July 14, from 7-9 pm. Bring a team kit to show that you represent your teammates and other cyclists that might not be able personally to be present. Encourage cyclists and their supporters--parents and families of Artemis, NCVC, and other juniors who use the trail for training, for example--to attend as well.
(2) Be respectful but firm. It's in all of our interests for there to be resources like the CCT for all cyclists to use and enjoy safely and efficiently. As a community, we need to express our willingness to support initiatives that actually improve the safety of the trail for all users. Although a broad-brush, unmodified 15 mph speed limit doesn't accomplish that goal, as cyclists, we should encourage M-NCPPC to take steps that actually will improve the safety and usability of the trail for all users, at the same time that we urge them to modify the ineffective speed limits.

(3) Spread the word by telling friends and fellow cyclists, and by passing along this message to others. Encourage people to attend the meeting to show the cycling community's level of concern. A strong showing is vital to our message.
Please let me know by reply email to the address below who will plan to attend--we will want to let the organizers of this meeting know what size group to expect!
Thanks for your support,
Steve
 
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