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Disrespectful Cyclist TRHT/Kayak Pittsburgh August 20, 2013

This topic contains 21 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  smarchit 1 yr, 3 mos.

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snakeguy

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Aug 20 2013 at 8:23pm #

I am starting this out by indicating that I know the rules of the trail as well as anyone and follow them to a T.

There’s a certain point when one should slow down and review their surroundings before moving forward. Case in point was today as we had just completed a cycling and kayaking program for 80 Pitt freshmen below the Robert Clemente bridge. The students had just started to head towards the Andy Warhol bridge along the North Shore trail. The concept of staying to the right for all 80 students wasn’t happening. We did our best to teach best practices to the students that cycled but I don’t think the kayaking group got the memo.

So one cyclist comes around the bend by Kayak Pittsburgh and I mention “be careful”. Couple of seconds later another cyclist and again I mention “be careful”.

This rant is for the second cyclist. Although you were yelling “on your left” (thanks for the verbal warning) you rode into the crowd towards the left (not all the way to the left) and pushed a girl into a row of bicycles causing a number of the bicycles to fall to the ground. I ran to the girl to ensure she was alright. Her and some other students around her had no idea of what had just occurred and I explained trail etiquette and that they should always stay to the right.

My hope is that this second cyclist reads this and somehow realizes he could have hurt someone by his actions. Please consider changing your aggressive cycling behavior.


jonawebb

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Aug 21 2013 at 8:12am #

Totally agree. Cyclists can be assholes just like anyone else. And we should be encouraging people to use the trails, not running them down.


mattre

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Aug 21 2013 at 9:09am #

Riding a bike into a group of people is wrong.

Yes, crowds of pedestrians should mostly not obstruct the trail like that. It’s inconsiderate to other trail users.

At the same time, it is a *shared* trail, and pedestrians have as much right to it as bikes. There are lots of them (especially at certain times), so sometimes it’s just going to happen. Go ahead and get annoyed if you want, but there’s no reason to escalate.

I see snakeguy’s experience as basically the same as the car that angrily forces through an unruly group ride with no concern for the riders’ safety. There’s less death and destruction, but it’s still an angry guy with a size/weight/speed advantage putting other people at risk for no good reason.


Mikhail

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Aug 21 2013 at 12:22pm #

I also follow trail rules. But

snakeguy wrote:we had just completed a cycling and kayaking program for 80 Pitt freshmen below the Robert Clemente bridge

snakeguy wrote:The concept of staying to the right for all 80 students wasn’t happening.

I did not get it. IMHO this is complete failure of event organizers. they created uncontrolled crowd and violated trail rules.

snakeguy wrote:This rant is for the second cyclist. Although you were yelling “on your left” (thanks for the verbal warning) you rode into the crowd towards the left (not all the way to the left)

You cannot often go completely to the left on a trail. Other people could use this side.

snakeguy wrote:pushed a girl into a row of bicycles causing a number of the bicycles to fall to the ground.

Did he physically pushed her?


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Aug 21 2013 at 9:10pm #

I dunno, Mikhail. I don’t see how there is any “but” here.

The fewer wheels you have on the ground, the more vulnerable you are, and when you share the road or path, it is incumbent upon the cyclist in this case to show some patience.

It is no different than if forty bikes on a Team DeCaf ride were waiting at the light at Negley and Center. A car coming up from behind doesn’t have any right to just lay on the horn and demand all of the cyclists get out of it’s way.


Mikhail

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Aug 21 2013 at 10:50pm #

It is no different than if forty bikes on a Team DeCaf ride were waiting at the light at Negley and Center. A car coming up from behind doesn’t have any right to just lay on the horn and demand all of the cyclists get out of it’s way.

40-70 people on Team Decaf ride never use left lane on the road. Only right lane. And I don’t remember to use both lanes in one direction. And car passing 40-70 people shifting partially to on-coming lane do not cause any problem.


mattre

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Aug 22 2013 at 8:31am #

How about one of the dozen or so beginner-level group rides during bike fest? I’m sure at least a few people behaved badly, even if they didn’t mean to. I know I saw some red light running that was a little more…brazen…than I’m comfortable with on a ride with mostly experienced cyclists. Would it be OK for a car to intentionally blow past any of those cyclists in a way that risks harm?

Accidents happen, and sometimes people do stupid things (on all sides) and get people hurt or killed. It sucks, but it’s a fact of life on our roads right now. I don’t think anything that increases those risks is OK.

The students in the OP weren’t causing the cyclist any risk (he was warned, and they were on a portion that requires caution and low speed). At most, they were an inconvenience and cost him a little time. His response was to push on, forcing the pedestrians to take evasive maneuvers and possibly get hurt. How is that possibly a reasonable response to a simple inconvenience?


Mikhail

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Aug 22 2013 at 9:11am #

Matt, in my book this is a two way road. both sides should behave according to the rules. I am against that one side is always right and should be treated differently.

I am OK car intentionally blow past me if there are 4 feet. It happens every time I ride on the road with 45-55 mph speed limit (the same 51 designated as bike route A).

I don’t support mentioned above bicyclist action but I am trying to take a look from the point of view of someone who sometimes helps to organize rides. If something “bad” is happening during “my” ride then it’s my fault too.


jonawebb

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Aug 22 2013 at 10:41am #

I always come down on the side of the least-powerful person in any confrontation over road or trail use. A pedestrian is at the bottom of the food chain and should automatically get priority over bicycles, even when they do something stupid (not saying that’s what happened here, but even if it did). A cyclist should not assume pedestrians will behave themselves properly on a trail and there is no justification whatever for running someone down, even inadvertently, after you’ve been warned. Slow down, give pedestrians space, and be cautious. Your bike is light enough that your lost momentum won’t cost you much.


Mick

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Aug 22 2013 at 11:36am #

Mikhail
Are you saying no organizer should ever plan an event that has 80 undergrauates on the trail? Because limiting 80 undergraduates to the right side of the trail isn’t going to happen here. Maybe in some more regimented culture (doubtful), but not here.

Even to make a reasonable (but unsuccessful) attempt to keep them on the right would take a 20 minute talk about the trail.


jonawebb

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Aug 22 2013 at 12:10pm #

If all Mikhail is saying is that this is partly the event organizer’s fault, I can deal with that. The OP acknowledged responsibility, in my opinion. But given that the cyclist was warned they have to be held responsible for the majority of what happened, regardless of where the pedestrians were, and the cyclist should’ve taken responsibility at the time, apologized, helped to ensure everyone was OK before taking off — or, better, slowed down and exercised caution so the accident didn’t happen in the first place.


Mikhail

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Aug 22 2013 at 2:33pm #

jonawebb wrote:If all Mikhail is saying is that this is partly the event organizer’s fault,

This is correct.


Mikhail

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Aug 22 2013 at 2:36pm #

Mick wrote:Because limiting 80 undergraduates to the right side of the trail isn’t going to happen here

Hm, why then we should ask drivers to behave better? There are many more drivers than 80. We know it’s not going to happen in this country.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Aug 22 2013 at 8:15pm #

It was the Riverwalk. Only a**hats expect to have free passage through there. Between pedestrians, beach cruisers and the geese, it’s a frickin’ minefield.

Does the organizer bear “some” responsibility, I guess so. But unfortunately the bulk of blame goes to the impatient cyclist.


Pierce

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Aug 22 2013 at 8:42pm #

Agreed with ALMKLM

My initial response to Jon’s “And we should be encouraging people to use the trails, not running them down” comment was that I would dis-encourage people from using that part of the trail

It’s like trying to commute through a beach, with people walking in and out of the water, or a bowling alley going perpendicular to the lanes, or a boardwalk, basically anything that’s crowded and confused, it is like that


salty

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Aug 22 2013 at 10:25pm #

It’s not the organizer’s fault. I don’t know about “trail rules” but there’s certainly a law that makes what the cyclist did illegal:

§ 3508. Pedalcycles on sidewalks and pedalcycle paths.
(a) Right-of-way to pedestrians.–A person riding a pedalcycle upon a sidewalk or pedalcycle path used by pedestrians shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.

It’s a busy trail, there are often tons of people there whether involved in some organized activity or not. The right of way belongs to the pedestrian, not the cyclist. Just the same as “oops, I was just trying to squeeze past when I hit you” is no excuse for a driver hitting a cyclist.


Steven

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Aug 23 2013 at 1:33am #

Mikhail wrote:Matt, in my book this is a two way road.

I think one important way the Riverwalk is different from a road, or even a multi-use path like the jail trail, is that there’s nothing wrong with standing still there.

On a road or a trail, if you’re not going to be moving for a while, it’s expected that you’ll move off the travel lanes. But on the Riverwalk, it’s perfectly legitimate to stand around anywhere on it, and watch the boats or the geese. You’re not required or expected to leave some designated “travel lane” portion of the Riverwalk if you decide to stop moving. (Likewise where the trail goes through Station Square.)

I’m not sure there’s even much of an expectation that people should keep right, in those two specific portions of the trail system. It seems more like a sidewalk in that way, with pedestrians passing each other on the left or right almost arbitrarily, and walking any which way.

Sure, it’s nice when pedestrians courteously clear a path for cyclists to get through, but it’s not required of them. Cyclists by law have to yield to pedestrians, and wait or walk if pedestrians won’t or can’t clear a path.


edmonds59

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Aug 23 2013 at 6:14am #

Per the boardwalk example, I’ve been on boardwalks where pedestrians are completely oblivious to a motorized trolley that’s been going up and down all day, that they themselves have been on. When it appears 3 feet behind them, it’s a complete surprise! People are just fucking stupid.
However, I am in total agreement that in this case, the rider was completely the offender. ^What Salty said.
Also per the boardwalk example, most boardwalks don’t even allow bikes after 11:00 am or so. So if bike riders are unable to safely coexist with pedestrians, I could easily see ending up with a time limitation like that on the North Shore.


Mikhail

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Aug 23 2013 at 7:32am #

Steven wrote:I think one important way the Riverwalk is different from a road

I did not mean that the Riverwalk is two way road. I meant that courtesy is a two way road.


Marko82

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Aug 23 2013 at 7:50am #

@edmonds, There’s a game for that!


edmonds59

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Aug 23 2013 at 8:27am #

Ha!


smarchit

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Aug 23 2013 at 3:45pm #

I’m sure that most regular to even occasional users of that section of trail recognize the danger that the element of surprise often presents along those blind turns. Unfortunately, a lot of unfamiliar users also venture down there from the sporting events, concerts, and restaurants above. It seems like that would be a prime location to paint some lane dividing lines along the walkway, from say the straightaway behind PNC Park until just past Kayak Pittsburgh on the other side of the bridge. While not a catch all solution, I think it would bring more awareness to the situation.

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