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Multiuse trail rules: Left or Right side walking?



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 5th 03, 11:13 PM
kab
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Default Multiuse trail rules: Left or Right side walking?

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?
  #2  
Old October 5th 03, 11:41 PM
Per Elmsäter
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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  
Old October 6th 03, 12:03 AM
B a r r y B u r k e J r .
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On Sun, 05 Oct 2003 18:13:12 -0400, kab
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  
Old October 6th 03, 12:47 AM
S. Anderson
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"B a r r y B u r k e J r ." wrote
in message ...

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  
Old October 6th 03, 01:39 AM
Doug Purdy
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Default

"S. Anderson" wrote in message
...
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  
Old October 6th 03, 02:06 AM
Badger South
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Default

In article ,
Per Elmsäter 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 johnsonnospm01j att ntelos dott net
  #7  
Old October 6th 03, 03:17 AM
Frank Krygowski
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Default

kab wrote in message .. .
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  
Old October 6th 03, 06:45 AM
Jo Wolf
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Default

Many city dwellers in the US haven't a CLUE about walking on the left,
facing traffic.....! They figure that they have right-of-way except for
motor traffic..... So you may well be tiltling at windmills.

When I walk on a local (unpaved) old canal towpath, I move to the left
when I am aware of cyclers... with my two small dogs (always on lead in
a place like this... too many hunting opportunities and there is a sign
posted warning of alligators.. and they Love small dogs as cruchies for
lunchies), and if my guys are still bouncey at the start of the walk, I
will have them sit or down while the cyclist passes. We dog people need
all the good public relations we can scrape together.... But not all
dog owners will do this!

About the moms with strollers... It may be that the designated walking
path may shake the kid to bits, and exhaust and exasperate her if it is
not smooth, while the cycling path is smooth. If the walking path is
gravel, it is almost impossible to push a stroller....! Try it.... And
if it is limestone blocks, spaces between them or uneven surface may
still be the problem. Been there, done that, with old style brick
sidewalks, broken concrete slabs, and some rural roads, going from one
house to another, in my reletive youth, with my much younger brother in
his stroller. The stroller typically has the front (steering) wheels
on the front, and those small wheels catch between spaced blocks.

Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia

  #9  
Old October 6th 03, 02:21 PM
Kyler Laird
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Default

kab 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..._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
 




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