Flutterby™! : Fear of Cycling

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Fear of Cycling

2009-10-06 15:20:51.671602+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Fear of Cycling: An essay in 5 parts (Via MeFi, whose comment thread descends into silliness. First thing: Bike paths are very rare, and they're only bike paths if pedestrians are prohibited, otherwise they're multi-use paths. And even then pedestrians are often found on them and will holler about unsafe cycling.)

[ related topics: Sociology Bicycling ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 17:46:02.512679+00 by: TC

Yeah it seems to come down to infrastructure as the primary cause of friction between these cultures. Peds,Bikes & Car really do not play well together. The speed differentials are too great for them to play nice(I know we are supposed to do that but the very nature of each mode of travel precludes this). The frustration Bikers(hmm cyclist) have with peds is the same motorist have with bikes.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 21:23:24.26985+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

I fancy myself a cyclist, although I get out maybe a couple of times a year these days. I've got both a road and mountain bike and used to work in a bike shop. I almost exclusively ride on multi-purpose trails (we're lucky to have a number of them in the Puget Sound area, with more being built/extended), but then I've never lived directly in a high-density urban environment.

I don't think I've ever found myself annoyed by pedestrians as a group. Nor have I seen a ped yell at a cyclist, although I have heard grumbled complaints. On the other hand, I've certainly seen a number of cyclists pass - both peds and other cyclists - without giving any kind of warning. And my own irrational pet peeve these days are those who use that silly little bell instead of (much more helpfully) calling out "on your left".

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 23:08:22.064927+00 by: Dan Lyke

When I do ride on MUPs, I dial the speed way down. So, yeah, I'm not generally annoyed with pedestrians either, but I ride fairly slowly (10MPH or so), and I don't signal my approach unless they're not leaving any room to pass. From my skating years, if I said "passing on your X" that was almost always taken as instruction to jump X and spread arms... ate a lot of pavement trying to dodge them, learned it was better to be grumbled at than to be picking gravel out of my scabs.

But the main thing is that 20+MPH bicycle traffic, or even 10+MPH skate traffic, doesn't really mix with pedestrian traffic, and though "toodle along a wide sidewalk sort of MUPs" have their place and time, having urban planners, law enforcement, or traffic engineers confuse MUPs with bike paths is a bad thing.

And sharing the roads with automobiles is fine as long as everyone is participating in a share the road ethic. My big bitch is that we've allowed the indiscriminate use of a device in a manner which kills several times more people every year than guns to become normal, and we refer to times when people fail to use these devices safely as "accidents".

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-07 14:19:32.385178+00 by: Dan Lyke

Further on the theme of "we should stop the fearmongering with cycling": Which Cycling Politics, Doom or Possibility.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-08 00:40:27.096504+00 by: ebradway

The MUPs in Boulder are usually pretty crowded. I ring my bell frequently. It doesn't always help, though. Many of the peds are listening to cranked-up iPods and can't hear my bell. But I have had a ped yell at me. She was jogging on a MUP on Bike to Work Day. I figured, since there was plenty of room, I'd just sidle over to the side as I passed. I guess she had been blown by so many times that day that her panties were in a wad. Of course, I'm the exception in Boulder. I've seen many people cranking down the MUP on fixies with no bell at 20+ mph weaving around the peds. If I'm following such an ass, I usually just wail on my bell as much as possible. (More cowbell!)