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I'm a newbie to cycling. The past couple of times I crossed GWB in either direction, I've had "issues". First, that bloody U-turn towards the start/end of the path on the NY side. What's the best way to navigate? Clipped in/out? Wait until there are no pedestrians? Last time I was heading to NJ, there was a pedestrian half-way up. I waited until she turned the corner. I started up, only to find her stopped a little past the U-turn. Tipped over, but propped myself up on the railing.

The 2nd place where I have "issues" are at those L-R-L 90 degree turns at a couple of points on the bridge. I always look ahead to see if there's oncoming traffic and ride slow, but this one time, a guy coming the opposite direction came out of nowhere. We nearly collided head on (sorry). Had to slam on my brakes, and was fortunate enough to avoid a collision by literally an inch (did a front-wheel wheelie, which was kinda cool).

All joking aside, I just want to be safe while on the road (for my benefit as well as others). Any tips/advice would be appreciated.

Thanks everyone.
 

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This is a wonderful question. And I'm sure people will give you lots of responses that are going to make it more complicated than it needs to be, but in all honestly, you just have to slow down and consider safety above all else. So if that means unclip? Then unclip. If it means to wait for the pedestrian to pass? Then let them pass.

It appears that you did the right thing as you didn't run into anyone or anything. The concern that I feel with most cyclists is that it is inconvenient to unclip, to slow down, and actually stop. But we have to practice theses things for the sake of safety even though it slows down our momentum.

One last thing. I've seen too many cyclists who, even on the straightaway part of the bridge, zip by pedestrians. The more polite ones will yell, "ON YOUR LEFT!" However, all this is unsafe. I know it's going to look silly, but we really need to start using a bell and slow down when we pass pedestrians.
 

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I do clip in at the steep windy start/end by the GW & Riverside Dr

on the bridge? Very carefully. This where you learn how to balance yourself at very slow speeds.
 

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Just take your time and just ignore those other cyclists that will get mad at you for slowing them down .. happened to me on one occasion where I have to unclip on that u-turn on the way back to NY :D

I heard they (PA) are discussing on closing down that side for repairs and might start as early as next year. It's definitely going to be a challenge using those stairs on the other side :mad2:
 

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As a person who commutes 3 to 4 times a week, these are common encounters. As the weather gets warmer, you'll see lot more people or cyclist on the bridge.
Don't assume anything when you are on the bridge, you have to be defensive and be ready to stop.
One occasion when I making my first turn on the towers, a young kid on the skateboard saw me and got excited and let the skateboard go, my speed was so slow I just grab one of the railings. Another encounter was that two young kids were doing pushups under one of the towers, again my speed was so slow, I manage to avoid them, it helps If you have a strong blinking light. But my best tool is a whistle, most of the time pedestrians are Ipod zombies, they wont hear your "On your left"
 

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As a person who commutes 3 to 4 times a week, these are common encounters. As the weather gets warmer, you'll see lot more people or cyclist on the bridge.
Don't assume anything when you are on the bridge, you have to be defensive and be ready to stop.
One occasion when I making my first turn on the towers, a young kid on the skateboard saw me and got excited and let the skateboard go, my speed was so slow I just grab one of the railings. Another encounter was that two young kids were doing pushups under one of the towers, again my speed was so slow, I manage to avoid them, it helps If you have a strong blinking light. But my best tool is a whistle, most of the time pedestrians are Ipod zombies, they wont hear your "On your left"
Great point about the lights. Cyclists really need to be using bells and lights at all times, but especially when they are on the GW Bridge.
 

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I recently rode in NYC across the Brooklyn Bridge and the GWB. I have a bell on all my bicycles. The bell works to great effect on the bridge crossings. Of course the effectiveness doesn't apply to people wearing headphones. As for the U-turn on the GWB and the blind turns around the towers. Slow speed balance comes into play. And there really is no reason to be speeding on the bridge paths anyway.
 
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