Monday, July 12, 2010

The bikepaths and walking paths: Hazardous due to dummies

As it is that time of year again, I just want to revisit a couple previous rants about how people use the pathways in my city - any city probably; apparently stupidity is a prerequisite for using pathways if the number of clued-out (mostly walkers) is any indication.

My city has just posted a request for volunteers to contribute to pathway improvements - a great idea. Sad to say the city hasn't considered many of the probably thousands of recommendations they receive daily.

The comments below are expanded on those I've just posted to the comment board on the volunteer request page (this is the link to the page).

I am a regular user of the city's pathways. I bike. I have a speedometre; I wear a helmet; I have a bell and I use it; I always use my voice in conjunction with my bell (although neither is effective to signal my approach to those people who can't function without their ears stuffed with speakers and their music turned up full blast. Those idiots are reckless, safety-flaunting cads).

The reality is most pathway users are in DESPERATE need of education on HOW to use the pathways. So here are the rules and yes, if I could make these laws, I would.

Unless there is no alternative;
  • pathways with yellow lines are for BIKES and SKATERS;
  • unmarked pathways are for WALKERS.
Just like on roads built for vehicles (that would be cars, trucks and motorcycles and yes, bicycles, which are considered 'motorized' vehicles when using roadways), lines painted on the pavement mean something - like "THIS IS THE CENTRE OF THE ROAD; STAY ON YOUR SIDE."

STAY to the RIGHT! Yes, walkers, you too. Fine; your group numbers six people; they all must stay to the right. Try two-by-two.

This also applies to city sidewalks, malls, escalators, elevators, buses and the C-train (when entering and departing); if people would simply walk to the right, it would massively lessen congestion and confusion.

If you're on skates or a bike, SIGNAL your approach by using your voice or a bell. Don't just blow by people who may not hear you! "ON YOUR LEFT" or "PASSING ON YOUR LEFT" are the correct warnings. USE them.

Those of you addicted to in-ear music: if you're dumb enough to be on a pathway (or driving!) in moving traffic that you prevent yourself from hearing, you're probably going to at least be yelled at by someone who almost hits you and you're also likely to be injured when you meander across the line and you're hit by a biker or skater you couldn't hear coming.

Turn your music down and only use ONE in-ear speaker. For the record, earbuds/earphones are illegal when driving for exactly that reason; you can't hear what's coming.

When you hear a biker or skater coming MOVE RIGHT.


That would be the right that moves you AWAY from the centre line and TOWARDS the edge of the pathway.

You don't have to leave the path; just move to your right to give a moving vehicle the space they need to safely pass you.

It hurts to be hit by a bike travelling at 20Kms so don't be all pissy about it, just move right.

The speed limit is 20kms MAX; not 40 because you're in training (if you really were, you'd be on the road or on a track somewhere) or you're showing off how fit (but stupid) you are; or because you think you're more awesome than other humans.

20kms max.

If you don't have a speedometre on your bike you suck because they're inexpensive and useful; they also track mileage. Not having one doesn't make you sooo cool; it proves you're an idiot.

If you stop moving, get OFF the pathway! That's right. Simply step off to allow moving traffic to continue moving. It's like using your driveway or parking at the curb; it leaves the roadway clear, prevents you from being hit and shows that you're not a complete idiot like those six people stopped in the centre of the bike path up there....

And PLEASE make sure it is safe to stop. Don't just stop short! Pathways are transportation routes - meaning you have to signal lane changes, passing and stopping. Shoulder checking is ESSENTIAL!

Stopping dead without making sure it is safe to do so (because your body isn't equipped with signals and brake lights) means you're one of THOSE people who lives like they're alone on the planet or believes that everyone is always paying attention to them, which means they need treatment for narcissism.

Dogs and children MUST be under control at all times.

For dogs that means ON LEASH; for kids, that means they're within reach or holding your hand.

If I hit your so-cute, so-well-behaved, off-leash dog that just ran into the path of my bike (because you've conveniently ignored the DOGS ON LEASH ONLY sign), I'm not going to be sorry for you but I will be very sad for your dog - that it has a neglectful owner who didn't look to the dog's safety. "He's a good dog" is NOT a safety strategy.

Same for your children; if you're walking on a BIKE path and you're not keeping your children IN SIGHT and ON THE RIGHT, they will be hurt for sure. Grow up, be an adult and observe the rules that are in place to keep you and your babes SAFE!

If there's a walking path - and there usually is one about 10 feet away from the bike path - USE IT! You wouldn't walk your children or dogs down the middle of a busy street, so why would you walk them down a busy BIKE path?

If all this advice pisses you off, stay off the pathways because you are a hazard to yourself and others.

If this advice makes sense and you understand it will keep you, your animals and your children safe, congratulations, you may use the pathways.

Thanks for the soapbox