Dispatch, problem cyclists, etc.

(originally via yaybikes)

I found myself reading this:
"Have you had problems with speeding bikers coming too close to pedestrians or children on the local bike trails? Contact reporter Bill Bush at bbush@dispatch.com"

Here's the response I posted:

Perhaps instead of looking to target cyclists, you might want to do an article on how slow the city is to add bike lanes on roads, how poorly managed the bike trails are, and what can be done to improve those situations.

Right now for high-speed cyclists who are heading to work and wish to do so in a timely manner only have a limited set of options: bike trails (only north and south except for the 670 path,) extended side-road rides where you have pedestrians who don't even care if you're in the road riding,) and riding in dangerous high speed major roads.

It would be more valuable in the long run to help the city help themselves, part of that being a positive attitude towards improving, rather than focusing on "speeding bikers coming too close" when the bike paths themselves aren't made typically to accommodate more than one person per side, with or without a bicycle.

While there are occasionally clearly marked signs explaining ways of signaling to people walking on the wrong side, saying "on your left" or "coming past you" has no effect on some pedestrians, who simply stare at you or act shocked, even if you come to a complete stop 2 to 10 feet away from them. Even then, everyone involved is apologetic for the misunderstanding in my experience.

The most hazardous bike riding I've seen recently on the trails have been children riding their bikes in the way that children do, experimenting with riding with no hands on the handlebars and refusing to listen to their parents when they are told to ride in the same lane.

The frequency that I see police officers on the trails is also a little alarming, in that it is rare. Especially now that we have many cycling police, it shouldn't be that difficult to have regular patrols on the trails, which would be a great way to help tame anyone who really is acting out on the trails in an inappropriate way.

Perhaps we should be policing how people are raised and trained to ride their bikes, how helpful the signs are on the trails for both pedestrians and cyclists, and ultimately what the real purposes are for the trails; are a mode of getting from one place to another, simply for leisure, or both?

If the trails are for both transport and leisure, then I say handle it like Central Park in NYC and Chicago by the beach. In those places you have clearly marked "fast" and "slow" lanes. Other helpful things would be to put clear signs up that document speed limits and the proper ways of signaling pedestrians about passing. Widen the trails to accommodate pedestrians, bikes, strollers, bikes with stroller trailers, tricycles, push scooters, skateboards and segways.

These are actions that if researched and brought to the attention of the public and the city would help alleviate the issue to which you are inquiring, or at least get the conversation headed in the right direction.


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