Multiuse trail rules: Left or Right side walking?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Kab, Oct 5, 2003.

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  1. Kab

    Kab Guest

    I'm sure this has been addressed ad nauseum, and I searched the Google Usenet archives, but I have
    yet to find a definitive, sensible answer.

    I am a bike rider, walker/hiker, and dog walker. My position is that all pedestrians, including dog
    walkers, walk on the LEFT on multiuse trails so that they can see oncoming bike riders AND, more
    importantly, keep their unruly dogs under control by blocking them with their body to prevent them
    from charging into the trail. Dogs are trained by convention to walk on the left of their handler,
    so it makes sense for the handler to walk left to maintain trail safety.

    This, coupled with the convention of walking to the left on roads with automobiles to face traffic,
    seems to make it sensible to adopt the rule of walking left on multiuse trails.

    Many multiuse trails do not specify rules. Those that do sometimes say for all traffic to move on
    the right side. For dog walkers at least, this is a potential hazard. And bike riders have to deal
    with pedestrians not looking at oncoming traffic.

    In malls and parks with no bicycles and dogs allowed I can understand the natural tendency to walk
    to the right (and face oncoming Japanese and British tourists).

    Is this sensible or am I tilting at windmills?
     
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  2. kab wrote:
    > This, coupled with the convention of walking to the left on roads with automobiles to face
    > traffic, seems to make it sensible to adopt the rule of walking left on multiuse trails.

    I'll buy all your reasons except this one. You don't seriously mean that it makes any difference on
    what side you walk on to face oncoming traffic on a trail do you. I think it would work nicely if
    pedestrians stayed on either side and let faster moving vehicles like bikes and inline skaters etc
    through in the middle. Reality shows us it isn't so though and unfortunately I don't think
    legislation is going to change this until we have grown into these rather newish phenomena.

    I'll give you an example from here in Sweden where we of course have legislation that deals with
    this in detail. OK so on every multiuse path we have a sign with a bicycle and a person walking with
    a child in one hand. There can also be pictures of horses and mopeds ( lightweight motorcycles
    restricted to 30 km/h ) of course. I'll leave horses and mopeds out of the discussion for now
    because I'm not sure how they are to be treated yet ( legally that is). There are two kinds of signs
    for paths that are for pedestrians and bikes. One has the picture of the person on top and the bike
    on the bottom. Clear enough. Bikes stay to the right and walkers stay to the left. The other one has
    the walker to either side and the bike to the other side. Far out. They are actually telling you
    which side you are to be on. Eeehhh. Let's see now, what did that last sign say. Was it to the... no
    or was it to the. Besides they are of course only placed at the beginning of each path. If ever I
    wanted to call somebody an idiot it is the person came up with that stupid idea. Oh how I hope he
    reads this.

    I gave up and am not even goin to try figure out how to yield for horses. Actually horses and dogs
    are the easiest to cope with. I always call out to them softly when a little distance off. They do
    not wear any headphones or cellulars and *always* hear me.

    --
    Perre

    You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
     
  3. On Sun, 05 Oct 2003 18:13:12 -0400, kab <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Is this sensible or am I tilting at windmills?

    If the other party isn't aware of courtesy or trail rules, enjoy the windmills.

    Barry
     
  4. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "B a r r y B u r k e J r ." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > If the other party isn't aware of courtesy or trail rules, enjoy the windmills.
    >
    > Barry

    Indeed. As I love to re-tell here, we had a bicycle path along a river here in Toronto. There were
    incidents with cyclists and walkers (it's called a "bike path" by the way..there were actually signs
    asking people to walk on the grass..to no avail..) and everyone thought what a great idea it would
    be to "twin" the trail..leave the existing paved one for cycling/inlines and have the second, new
    path as a more scenic, linestone path for walkers. Up go the signs "Cyclists/Inlines" on the paved,
    "Pedestrians" on the lime. Sure enough, pedestrians now use BOTH trails!! I really don't understand
    people. Women with prams actually use the paved trail now instead of the lime!! Why would they do
    this?!!? Such risk and for what?? Anyway, I find the whole thing rather depressing and actually
    avoid the trail to ride on the roads. Rather a shame really.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  5. Doug Purdy

    Doug Purdy Guest

    "S. Anderson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Sure enough, pedestrians now use BOTH trails!! I really don't understand people. Women with prams
    > actually use the paved trail now instead of the lime!! Why would they do this?!!? Such risk and
    > for what?? Anyway, I
    find
    > the whole thing rather depressing and actually avoid the trail to ride on the roads. Rather a
    > shame really.

    Not worth getting depressed. Paths are for enjoying nature, roads are for going places. Slow down,
    chat other users up, and enjoy the trail.

    Of course, in a few weeks as the leaves turn, a sunny weekend will pull thousand of strollers out to
    Wilkett Creek Park and all those people will be shuffling forward on the path, shoulder to shoulder,
    back to belly. It's like a mini Stones concert. Don't even think of bringing a bike.

    Doug Toronto
     
  6. Badger South

    Badger South Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Per Elmsäter <[email protected]> wrote:
    >kab wrote:
    >> This, coupled with the convention of walking to the left on roads with automobiles to face
    >> traffic, seems to make it sensible to adopt the rule of walking left on multiuse trails.
    >
    >I gave up and am not even goin to try figure out how to yield for horses. Actually horses and dogs
    >are the easiest to cope with. I always call out to them softly when a little distance off. They do
    >not wear any headphones or cellulars and *always* hear me.
    >
    >--
    >Perre
    >
    >You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.

    I propose a large bubble wrap dispenser at intervals on each multi use trail. Pedestrians shall wrap
    themselves in several layers of this to remind them that dangers may abound, and to mitigate
    collisions with horses, large dogs and joggers with headphones. ;-P

    -B
    --
    Email Replies to johnson<nospm>01j <att> ntelos <dott> net
     
  7. kab <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I'm sure this has been addressed ad nauseum, and I searched the Google Usenet archives, but I have
    > yet to find a definitive, sensible answer.
    >
    > I am a bike rider, walker/hiker, and dog walker. My position is that all pedestrians, including
    > dog walkers, walk on the LEFT on multiuse trails so that they can see oncoming bike riders ... Is
    > this sensible or am I tilting at windmills?

    Both, I think.

    It's occurred to me, also, that it makes much sense for walkers to keep left on such trails. One of
    the reasons I avoid biking on such trails is that I've often been stopped by four-across peds who
    don't realize I'm behind them - and when they do realize it, they don't know which way to move!

    The problem is, in a drive-on-the-right country, people tend to walk on the right when on a
    sidewalk or in a mall. And they "think" of the bike path as a sidewalk, not as a road or shared
    facility. (That's to the extent they actually think, which is not much. In reality, they just
    operate by habit.)

    Thus, I think what you propose is very logical, and very unlikely to be implemented.

    Worse: when bicycling in North Dakota recently (a state that has a mandatory sidepath law) we
    actually saw bike paths with signs telling cyclists to keep _left_! As if there aren't enough
    problems with wrong-way riders...

    I think there must be _many_ incompetent bike facility designers out there!

    - Frank Krygowski
     
  8. Kyler Laird

    Kyler Laird Guest

    kab <[email protected]> writes:

    >I am a bike rider, walker/hiker, and dog walker. My position is that all pedestrians, including dog
    >walkers, walk on the LEFT on multiuse trails so that they can see oncoming bike riders AND, more
    >importantly, keep their unruly dogs under control by blocking them with their body to prevent them
    >from charging into the trail. Dogs are trained by convention to walk on the left of their handler,
    >so it makes sense for the handler to walk left to maintain trail safety.

    This would get messy. Where does "pedestrian" end? Are people on skates pedestrians or bikers? How
    'bout kick scooters? Do four-wheel vehicles belong on the left or right?

    Yesterday I walked on our trails with my wife's parents. Her dad was on a bike, we were walking, and
    we had a four wheel vehicle out in front. Should we have split across lanes based on our modes of
    transportation?

    What about the family I saw who was biking with their dog? The dog should be on the left while they
    stay on the right?

    I'm getting this vision of "rolling roadblocks" as people on different modes slowly move down
    the trail.

    >This, coupled with the convention of walking to the left on roads with automobiles to face traffic,
    >seems to make it sensible to adopt the rule of walking left on multiuse trails.

    I find it easier to just keep everyone to one side. There is no clear division by speed out there.
    We have slow bikers and fast 'bladers.

    >Many multiuse trails do not specify rules. Those that do sometimes say for all traffic to move on
    >the right side.

    Yes, I was thankful that ours is clear about it. http://ordlink.com/cgi-bin/hilite.pl/codes/westlaf-
    /_DATA/40/CHAPTER_46__Bicycles_/Sec__46_11___Bicycle__and_mult.html I was curious about pedestrians
    staying to the left too.

    >For dog walkers at least, this is a potential hazard.

    Dog walkers should control their dogs. A dog can dart around the walker walking on the left side of
    the trail. At least on the right side, the walker can stay to the far right with a leash held short
    enough to prevent the dog from crossing the centerline.

    >And bike riders have to deal with pedestrians not looking at oncoming traffic.

    It's handled.
    * Persons riding bicycles upon a path shall maintain a safe speed, compatible with
    other users.

    * Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a path, such person shall yield the
    right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing
    such a pedestrian.

    --kyler
     
  9. Pbwalther

    Pbwalther Guest

    >This would get messy. Where does "pedestrian" end? Are people on skates pedestrians or bikers?

    That brings to mind a riddle I am frequently given inadverantly by an inline skater. I often see him
    on training rides coming at me down the middle of the road. Now sometimes he is a "pedestrian" and
    goes to the left. Other times he is a "vehicle" and goes to the right. Of course, with the side by
    side action he has, it is hard to tell if he is going to continue on his zig to go one way or the
    other or whether he is going to zag back to a "straight" line. Makes things challenging.
     
  10. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    ...

    > Dog walkers should control their dogs. A dog can dart around the walker walking on the left side
    > of the trail. At least on the right side, the walker can stay to the far right with a leash held
    > short enough to prevent the dog from crossing the centerline.

    Amazingly enough, I had a *good* experience with a dog walker yesterday:

    I was riding on the 3-ft wide shoulder of a 30 mph road and noticed the dog walker coming toward me
    with two dogs on leashes on the same shoulder I was on. When he saw me, probably 100ft or so ahead,
    he pulled the dogs off into the grass on the side of the road, obviously to keep them from getting
    in my way or going into the traffic lane after me. As I approached him, I pulled well out into the
    lane and said thanks, and we both went on our way. I could see why he pulled the dogs over; one of
    them was straining at the leash toward me as I went by, though the other one didn't seem to care.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  11. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On Sun, 05 Oct 2003 18:13:12 -0400, kab <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Many multiuse trails do not specify rules. Those that do sometimes say for all traffic to move on
    >the right side. For dog walkers at least, this is a potential hazard. And bike riders have to deal
    >with pedestrians not looking at oncoming traffic.
    >
    >Is this sensible or am I tilting at windmills?

    It is very sensible, IME. Here in RI, all our MUPs specify walk on left, bike on right, and some of
    the users actually follow the rule. They seem to be the most safe and comfortable walkers; and I
    find it much easier to deal with them when I'm on a bicycle.

    In short, my experience says it works.
    --
    Rick Onanian
     
  12. Dane Jackson

    Dane Jackson Guest

    In rec.bicycles.misc Rick Onanian <[email protected]> wrote:

    > It is very sensible, IME. Here in RI, all our MUPs specify walk on left, bike on right, and some
    > of the users actually follow the rule. They seem to be the most safe and comfortable walkers; and
    > I find it much easier to deal with them when I'm on a bicycle.

    It seems to me that either method works. The important thing is that there is *one* method that
    people stick with. My problem is so often people walking on both sides of the trail, randomly
    choosing a side, switching sides without looking, etc.

    - Dane Jackson - z u v e m b i @ u n i x b i g o t s . o r g "Here lies Jan Smith, wife of Thomas
    Smith, marble Cutter. This monument was erected by her husband as a tribute to her memory and a
    specimen of his work. Monuments of this same style are two hundred and fifty dollars." -Gravestone
    Inscription
     
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