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I love seeing so many people on the trails, but… (suggestions?)

This topic contains 98 replies, has 31 voices, and was last updated by  RustyRed 9 mos, 1 week.

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Marko82

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Jul 1 2013 at 9:05am #

The only speed limit that’s strictly enforced


LizziMac

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Jul 1 2013 at 9:09am #

I have very few personal cycling rules, but for the past 8 years Rule #1 has been: Don’t ride the trails on the weekend. Rule #2 is: Take the street as often as possible on the weekend. These rules exclude days that include precipitation or temperatures below 60°. These rules won’t work for everyone, but I can only imagine what the trails are like nowadays… and I think I’d rather leave it to my imagination.

My two cents though: Simple signage dictating the “rules of the trail” are generally effective and I think having a dividing line would help remind trail navigators to keep to the right and/or be aware of others passing.


byogman

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Jul 1 2013 at 9:18am #

Marko82 wrote:The only speed limit that’s strictly enforced

Boy I wish I had more than the abstract on this paper showing (kinda sorta) faster than light travel.

Mikhail, know anything about this one beyond what’s in the abstract?


cdavey

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Jul 1 2013 at 9:18am #

@byogman — If you got a speeding ticket, you would be my hero — at least a minor one. For some reason I have always had a pervese desire to get a speeding ticket on a bike. I think it would be hysterically funny and ironic, in a perverse way. It would be worth it just for bragging rights, even it cost me bunch of money.

@edmonds59 — HORRORS!! And here I thought it was simply becuase common experience had proven that the world just works better for us individually when we are polite, help each other, and can trust one another’s word, instead of all of us being sociopaths. What am I to do??!! It sounds like I am a candidate to be taken a re-education camp where such dangerous ideas can be brainwashed out of me.

@lizziemac — like I said earlier, this is all common sense experience. Your post is a pretty good example of that. In short, if you find you don’t want to ride the trails with a lot of traffic on them, then simply don’t and try something else to solve the problem.


Mikhail

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Jul 1 2013 at 9:46am #

Marko82 wrote:The only speed limit that’s strictly enforced

Ha-ha, +1. But it’s in vacuum only. It could be different in different environments.


Mikhail

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Jul 1 2013 at 9:55am #

byogman wrote:Mikhail, know anything about this one beyond what’s in the abstract?

Well, it’s about group velocity. And “light speed limit” is about “energy expanding”.

If you take guillotine and make angle between two blades small enough then point of blade crossing can move much faster than speed of light. But in this case energy is directed to the point at every point during point movement “locally”. And it’s not a material point.


Mikhail

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Jul 1 2013 at 9:57am #

cdavey wrote:I have always had a pervese desire to get a speeding ticket on a bike

Friend of mine living in Germany got one. :) He was extremely pissed of and even quit biking for a month.


steevo

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Jul 1 2013 at 10:38am #

edmonds59 wrote:train

Who are you to say what people should and should not be doing on
the trails?

I train on the jail trail. Generally mornings or mid afternoons. I routinely go 30+ mph. The jail trail is literally the only semi flat, semi straight 3+ minute car free area in the entire city.

This all comes down to common sense and decency. I have never had an accident with anybody. If people are there, you slow down.
Dont go fast on the weekends. Plan your efforts around trail
traffic. Its not that hard. Everybody here is over thinking and trying
to take on some authoritative role. If somebody going 16 on a
bike is bothersome to you, you should probably figure out why.


Mick

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Jul 1 2013 at 10:42am #

salty wrote:In my kingdom, I’d only have one rule – don’t be an asshole. Punishable by death, of course.

(shrug)

We’re all assholes and we’re all gonna die.

Just fact.

Sorry.

When I first started riding the gap, it seemed like every mile there would be some guy riding next to his preschooler. He was in the left lane and HE WASN’T GONNA MOVE away from his kid.

Too bad if you have to stop to let him pass.

I haven’t seen that as much recently.


byogman

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Jul 1 2013 at 11:50am #

Mikhail wrote:

cdavey wrote:I have always had a pervese desire to get a speeding ticket on a bike

Friend of mine living in Germany got one. :) He was extremely pissed of and even quit biking for a month.

I relate to cdavey’s perverse sense of humor. But it’s only cool if you get a ticket going FAST. Breaking a 30kph or (shudder) 25kph limit somewhere in Europe? Not so cool.

cdavey, if you want to go for it, here’s absolutely adorable 25 limit. After the stop just ahead it gets pretty steep, and it’s very smooth with good lines of sight for a goodly drop. On road bike drops pushing a big ring (at the start, I think you’d ultimately spin out anything here) I don’t even want to speculate how fast you’d go.

Mick wrote:

salty wrote:In my kingdom, I’d only have one rule – don’t be an asshole. Punishable by death, of course.

(shrug)

We’re all assholes and we’re all gonna die.

And here’s a fun way to prove it! In all seriousness, best to stop the all out speed fest and drop it back pretty significantly just before the bottom Perrysville Avenue intersection. Not that you couldn’t carry it and it wouldn’t be fun, but the idea of that kind of speed transitioning back over to old iffy concrete, a little more steep downhill, and a bit of turning… not my comfort zone anyway.


byogman

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Jul 1 2013 at 11:53am #

Oh sorry, here.


edmonds59

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Jul 1 2013 at 12:11pm #

Steevo – I’m not advocating anything authoritative, in fact, I am against any such thing. You seem to have the common sense and decency to be able to do what you do without negatively impacting anyone else’s day, but you are probably the exception rather than the rule.
Buuuut – weren’t you just commenting on someone going (in a car, I presume) 70 or 80 mph up through the golf course? 20 years ago I used to regularly take motorcycles through Schenley at 60+ mph. I could use every word of your statement above to justify what I was doing then; it was the only road around without driveways, I was in complete control at all times, I never hurt myself or anybody, it was awesome for my bike handling skills. Doesn’t mean it was right, or smart.
Just try and appreciate the experience of someone who is just out for a toodle on the trail, or maybe has kids, and gets blown by by some lycra rocket going 30 mph. That shit is terrifying. Common sense and decency are great, empathy is another good thing.


edmonds59

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Jul 1 2013 at 12:17pm #

Also, byogman, that Perrysville/Federal St downhill is awesome! I just did that yesterday and was hooting and loving it all the way. If I rode it often enough to know the road I would be ripping that thing.


gg

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Jul 1 2013 at 12:20pm #

steevo wrote:I train on the jail trail. Generally mornings or mid afternoons. I routinely go 30+ mph.

I think I have seen you. I yelled, “on your left” as I passed you by. :)


WillB

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Jul 1 2013 at 12:53pm #

I support the center line idea – regardless of speed or mode of transport, the most annoying thing is when people are taking up the whole width of the path and you can’t pass them because they aren’t paying attention. But I think that for most people, they’re not doing it because they’re assholes, but because they just aren’t thinking about it at all. Having lanes would be a simple reminder to everyone that the trails are multi-use and multi-directional.


byogman

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Jul 1 2013 at 1:25pm #

The argument structure is parallel between the high speed motorcycle riding on schenley drive and high speed bike riding on the jail tail, but the weighting factors are pretty grossly different, so I’m much more inclined to go with the… “I’m responsible, yeesh, lay off buddy” approach for non motorized travel.

I unfortunately was here probably 4 or 5 minutes after the fact http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/04/30/motorcyclist-crashes-into-tree-at-schenley-park/. You’re in control until you’re not. It’s best if and when that happens if it’s not curtains.

The only thing I’ll say to the non-motorized speedster is that there can be a big difference between what feels safe through the eyes of the passer vs. what feels safe through the eyes of the person being passed. Essentially, the person being passed needs more space as relative velocity increases to feel safe whereas the person doing the passing is typically not nearly as sensitive to it. So, pass respectfully at low relative velocity, try to pass really wide if you do so at higher relative velocity. Even if it’s not really necessary, it just makes for a calmer atmosphere.


scott

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Jul 1 2013 at 1:27pm #

Some good suggestions here e.g. A line that demarcates where one should be positioned on the trail. Has anyone sent these suggestions to Friends of the Riverfront?


Steven

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Jul 1 2013 at 1:36pm #

By Station Square there are often folks wandering around who seem surprised to find they’re standing on a trail when a bike comes through. Painted lanes could help make them less surprised, and perhaps pick a different place to stand and talk.


stefb

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Jul 1 2013 at 1:52pm #

I don’t think i have ever hit 30mph on the jail trail. I may have held 24mph once on my big block briefly. I don’t even think I have hit 30 on my road bike. I think if someone can go 30 on the flats, there should be no arguing, because that person is a freak (I mean that in a good way).


edmonds59

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Jul 1 2013 at 2:01pm #

I tried to break the speed limit on the flat on Neville Island yesterday (25 mph) but could only briefly get to like 24.5. So depressing. I suck.


WillB

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Jul 1 2013 at 2:11pm #

scott wrote:Has anyone sent these suggestions to Friends of the Riverfront?

Are they the ones responsible for such things? I would have thought it was the city. Anyway, given the apparent success of the StageAE email campaign, maybe we could have some impact on this issue.


sarah_q

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Jul 1 2013 at 2:17pm #

@Scott, Do you know the best person to contact @ FotRF?

NYC has rules for the greenway that don’t specify a speed limit, simply stating “Excessive speeds are dangerous. Slow down!”

http://www.nycgovparks.org/facility/bicycling-and-greenways/rules

Kind of surprising for a city that tried to put a limit on soda. :)


Mikhail

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Jul 1 2013 at 2:18pm #

byogman wrote:I relate to cdavey’s perverse sense of humor. But it’s only cool if you get a ticket going FAST. Breaking a 30kph or (shudder) 25kph limit somewhere in Europe? Not so cool.

He was going above speed limit on a dedicated bike lane. And bicyclists are not allowed on the road if there is a dedicated bike lane. Speed limit was less than 15 mph.


scott

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Jul 1 2013 at 3:15pm #

The best people to email would be

Tom Baxter (executive director)

thomas@friendsoftheriverfront.org

cc: jeff@friendsoftheriverfront.org and stephen.patchan@pittsburghpa.gov


furchtbar

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Jul 1 2013 at 5:23pm #

Helmets: rare
water bottles: no place to refill, many folks cycle without hydrating
kids under control: classic: helmet on back of head from two years ago, flip flops and enjoying the right to weave all over the place
dogs?? leashes? only a $300 fine (if they catch you)
headphones: everybody wears them, nobody can hear my bell
doggie dumpsters: don’t tread on poop! don’t get poop on tread!
I dream about interval stops for clean water and interval distribution and pick-up your dog’s poop oases (not in the same place)


Ahlir

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Jul 1 2013 at 6:46pm #

@furchbar: it’s not all that bad.

The EFT has water fountains at either end, though the SST doesn’t seem to have any. There’s water at the Pump House just beyond the Waterfront. And there’s one (1) fountain on the Point… Actually that kind of sucks. But we live in a culture that mindlessly privatizes everything, so what did you expect? It appears that the market, in it’s omniscient wisdom, has chosen not to dot the trails with vendors of water; surely you should conclude that it’s your responsibility to get water and that you don’t have the right to complain. But do complain, something might happen (also, vote wisely).

The SST (and the Waterfront stretch of the SVT) is adjacent to residential areas; you should expect dog walkers, families, “old” people and whatnot. If you don’t care to deal with that mess of humanity you do have choices. EFT is ok at the right times of day (6am Sundays is pretty good). The ORT is comparatively empty once you get past the casino (think of the gate posts as part of training). I can’t quite recall encounters with dog poop on trails at this moment, but maybe that’s because I generally make a point to steer around random lumps of matter.

If you want to do intervals and stuff I would suggest that you consider the SVT between the Rankin Bridge ramp and McKeesport. That’s over 6 miles of low traffic trail with only a few complications (a blind curve, a couple of bridges).
By comparison, the EFT has only 2.6mi between the bike rental and the far parking lot; New Beaver between Alcosan and the lights just before the casino is 1.8 mi; River (including the 31STB) gets you 2.2 mi. I will readily concede that I’m a duffer who is ignorant of proper training routine, but surely the are enough options around that everyone doesn’t have to pile into the same spaces.


furchtbar

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Jul 1 2013 at 7:18pm #

Ahlir wrote:@furchbar: it’s not all that bad.
COULD BE BETTER, BUT YES, NOT THAT BAD
The EFT has water fountains at either end, though the SST doesn’t seem to have any. There’s water at the Pump House just beyond the Waterfront. And there’s one (1) fountain on the Point… Actually that kind of sucks. But we live in a culture that mindlessly privatizes everything, so what did you expect? It appears that the market, in it’s omniscient wisdom, has chosen not to dot the trails with vendors of water; surely you should conclude that it’s your responsibility to get water and that you don’t have the right to complain. But do complain, something might happen (also, vote wisely).

The SST (and the Waterfront stretch of the SVT) is adjacent to residential areas; you should expect dog walkers, families, “old” people and whatnot. If you don’t care to deal with that mess of humanity you do have choices. EFT is ok at the right times of day (6am Sundays is pretty good). The ORT is comparatively empty once you get past the casino (think of the gate posts as part of training). I can’t quite recall encounters with dog poop on trails at this moment, but maybe that’s because I generally make a point to steer around random lumps of matter.

If you want to do intervals and stuff I would suggest that you consider the SVT between the Rankin Bridge ramp and McKeesport. That’s over 6 miles of low traffic trail with only a few complications (a blind curve, a couple of bridges).
By comparison, the EFT has only 2.6mi between the bike rental and the far parking lot; New Beaver between Alcosan and the lights just before the casino is 1.8 mi; River (including the 31STB) gets you 2.2 mi. I will readily concede that I’m a duffer who is ignorant of proper training routine, but surely the are enough options around that everyone doesn’t have to pile into the same spaces.


sarah_q

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Jul 1 2013 at 7:26pm #

there is a new fountain on the lower part of the S S trail below the new hotel (near REI) that has two good water fountains and a little dog-sized fountain too. :)


bear250220

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Jul 1 2013 at 8:56pm #

i switch to riding the montour trail at 630 am for the summer months during the colder months i take my bike to work and ride from beaver avenue i wore out my brakes 2 years ago trying to ride the trail by the casino during warm weather on the weekends i go to my trailer by the ghost town trail its never crowded they dont have the population up that way but im not using my bike for transportation i wish i could but riding 65 at night would not be a good thing


pbeaves

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Jul 1 2013 at 10:35pm #

if anything, we could always be the “victims” of some “random vandals” that painted a yellow line down the middle of the trail in the darkness covering of the night (or pre-dawn wilight).
not that i would ever encourage such drastic behavior, but if a dotted yellow would give cause to those that would otherwise not realize that there is a bit of a right-of-way established and their “5 across” is less than 100% conductive to the traffic flow, then i would not exactly be reporting such acts of vandalism either.
#justsayin.
(i’ll cover atleast one can of paint.)


sarah_q

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Jul 2 2013 at 5:42am #

ha! I always appreciate the good graffiti along the trail.

I emailed the people Scott suggested yesterday. Let’s see if I get a reply.

I know just painting arrows on the road for bike rides takes a surprising amount of paint.


edmonds59

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Jul 2 2013 at 6:04am #

I went to the dentist yesterday and the receptionist, Dottie, said she had seen my picture in the newspaper about the McKees Rocks trail kickoff thing, then she excitedly told me how this spring she had gotten a used bike and started riding the Montour trail regularly (not a cause and effect BTW). Her face was just joyous, like a kid. It was quite lovely.
I have heard the Montour gets ridiculously crowded with a mix of users, don’t know, I never ride it. But on a crushed limestone trail, I guess you just have to settle for the occasional signage, since markings wouldn’t work. And common sense.


bear250220

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Jul 2 2013 at 8:30am #

yes the montour trail is a busy trail on the weekends if possible go early in the am


Mikhail

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Jul 2 2013 at 8:49am #

Montour has been crowded during warm months for at least last 5-6 years. I am talking about miles 0-12 and Peters/Bethel Park townships branches.

One thing I noticed that kids behave better when they are with older siblings (no adults are present) in compare when they are with parents. :) Everything is done by kids unconditionally when older siblings just call: “To the side!” Like a small army.


J.Str.

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Jul 2 2013 at 8:57am #

I am late to the thread, but I think we should all remember what we were like when we first started biking? I was all over the place, and not for lack of courtesy, but lack of skill, balance and ignorance. I was wobbly, lacked confidence and wasn’t all that sure of the rules. I assumed things like staying right… but only because I am an excellent driver. ;)

Making rules may make the trail just as intimidating as being on the road. Which for newbies is much safer for them. *There are adults out there who may just be learning how to ride* Silly, I know.

I have a friend who had a couple bad experiences with experienced cyclists in the city and that turned him off almost completely to riding. He was just learning and got frustrated and a little embarrassed. That is the last thing we want to do. Same goes for walkers and joggers just trying to get some fresh air and exercise. At least they got out of the house that day. I’m happy for them for that.

I think being cautious is not the job of the newbies or weekend warriors- it is on us. The majority of us who are out there every day need to be the ones setting the example. Frustrating as it may be, cycling is supposed to be fun. No matter how fast you’re going/not going.

My experience on the trails have been quite pleasant thus far.

I think.


sarah_q

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Jul 2 2013 at 9:24am #

Well, guess what? There already is a sign at the end of the jail trail. I have passed this approx 1 zillion times but just noticed it today. !!! There are also directional arrows painted in the first 0.25 mi of the trail.

I still think center lane markings are a good idea.


edmonds59

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Jul 2 2013 at 10:34am #

Good post J.Str., thx.


rsprake

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Jul 2 2013 at 10:46am #

A perfect example of how well signs work.


RustyRed

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Jul 2 2013 at 12:21pm #

sarah_q wrote:
I still think center lane markings are a good idea.

Something tells me the fella responsible for the “(A)” graffiti walked/rode on the wrong side.


boostuv

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Jul 2 2013 at 5:17pm #

I’m kind of with Steevo on this. I regularly ride on the Jail Trail and South Side trail at over 15mph. I commute at 8am most days from Oakland and often there are only 2-3 other trail users I come across (excluding those who walk from the parking lot at the jail but I’ve slowed by then) so going 15mph seems a little ridiculous. I even saw Sarah Q. this morning and said “hi” as I passed.

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