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I couldn't agree more that cyclists should treat pedestrians with deference on the trail. I have friends that won't run on the trail because of aggressive cyclists. I'm not totally innocent. I make bad decisions from time to time, but as a rule I treat pedestrians with total respect.

PS. I was hit while running on the Custis Trail several years ago. A cyclist came off the bike bridge near Glebe Road and turned wide into the lane where I was running. We hit head on. I grabbed his handlebars and he flew flew helmet first into my face. I had a nice shiner for a few weeks but no other harm done.

Yes the cyclist takes the majority of the blame here but all the blame can't be placed on the cyclist as the runner was also not following the rules and staying to the right..... wait..... forgot only cyclists need to follow the rules, no one else :)

Seriously, what caused the crash was the cyclist not looking. Head phones... head down time trialing...... or just plan spaced out?

@Joe
It doesn't matter. Bikes yield to pedestrians. That's the rule. If you are coming upon a runner/walker from behind you hold all the cards. If you crash into a pedestrian, it's your fault. If you have to slow down to avoid conflict its just too bad. You'll have to be 15 seconds late for work.

It's the same standard we try to apply to hold cars.

Yes, Tom I agree that the cyclist should have yielded to the the ped. Had the cyclist been looking they wouldn't have hit the ped (unless they did it on purpose)

BUT are you saying that the runner was following the rules by running in the middle of the trail which is against the rules?

As I always state here EVERYONE needs to follow the rules, not just cyclists.

Sounds like the cyclist was being a jerk. There is no excuse.

Joe walkers and runners make the rules. The overtaking bike must react to the pedestrian not the other way. Keeping right is a convention, not a rule.

More the point, Tom, you cannot expect someone to keep an eye out for people behind you.

I am beginning to think that the purpose of signaling is not well understood by MUP cyclists. Many treat their bells like video game controllers: "I ring, you move out my way." I have seen what the cyclists describes above a number of times, the only difference being that the one on foot got out of the way in the nick of time. Maybe we need a 3 foot law for bikes.

I'll add that whether the cyclist signaled is immaterial, cyclist is always responsible for waiting until it's safe to pass.

all cyclists can yell, "get the hell out of my way" when approaching a walker...and this is justified given the ZERO advocacy effort on the part of pedestrians to realize what pitifully limited bike facilities "we" bicyclists "enjoy." and "MUP" shouldnt be so -- we dont need multiple uses for bike paved bike paths...

yell loud enough and i guarantee youll never have a problem with pedestrians! -- ha ha. i never do!

runners and walkers need to get off the trails. if these idiots are so enamored of their suburban d neighborhoods...you know, the hoods with no sidewalks...let them run and walk in the damn street in such alienated and state-subsidized hell holes...

and i run, too: i always run on the left FACING the oncoming bikes, forcing them to the right around me...guess what? after nearly 30 years running ive never been buzzed bv a bicyclist. imagine.

solutions and safety often dont come as easy as this...but even here we cant get our shit together as a bike culture! geeezzz...

bicycle people are such products of the car culture that even they insist on telling pedestrians to walk on the right, as if theyre cars on a road!!


Tom,this is one of the rules on the W&OD site.

•Stay to the right of the center line.

Both the runner and the cyclist broke this rule. The cyclist also broke the rule of not yielding/making a safe pass.

SJE, while travel in the proper lane with out sudden stops, I agree all types of trail users do not take blame for being rear ended (even if they happen to be breaking a rule such as traveling down the center yellow line)

BUT all trail users are responsible for their, and other trail users safety when entering exiting the trail, passing or U turning.Runners and walkers have as much responsiblity to insure the trail is clear.

If people think that only cyclists should follow trail rules and that peds and runners don't then I agree with satan, and it's time to ban all foot traffic form trail.

Running on the left? That's evil, Satan.

Here is a repeat from last Summer of my personal rules for riding on MUP's:

RULES FOR WALERS/JOGGERS
1) Walk/run no more than 2 abreast.
2) Walk/run as far right as possible. Avoid the center line.
3) To reverse direction step off the trail to the right, look both ways then continue. NO U-TURNS!
4) At dusk be sure you are wearing bright, reflective clothing.
5) Don't use the trail at night - it is closed except for commuting users.

RULES FOR DOG WALKERS
1) Keep your dog on a short lease.
2) Train your dog to always stay to the outside edge.
3) If you dog has a tendency to lunge at passing people - don't use the trail.

RULE FOR CYCLISTS
1) Moderate your speed according to congestion on the trail.
2) Slow down when passing. If the person you are passing makes a sudden unexpected maneuver you will have more time to avoid a collision.
3) Use a *BELL* well in advance of passing. A voice is not easily heard - especially by other cyclists.
4) Wait your turn to pass slower moving cyclists.
5) DO NOT PASS INTO THE FACE OF ONCOMING TRAFFIC. The trail is only 10 feet wide. There is NO, repeat NO middle lane.
6) Only pass by moving to the extreme opposite side of the trail in order to give the person you are passing the maximum clearance. This also provides a safety margin should the person suddenly turn or veer.
7) Do not pass on blind corners. Note - the trail center line needs to be repainted. I think it would help if a solid line were used in some places.
8) Do not draft or form ad hoc pace lines. Every cyclist needs to be able to see clearly ahead at all times. The trail is no place for the peloton.
9) At night use a light - but only on its dimmest setting. Blinding oncoming cyclists creates a serious hazard for them and for you.

As is illustrated on this thread, cyclists can be dicks, too. I know we have a (well-earned) tendency to be reflexively defensive, but sometimes it's okay to grant that a cyclist was wrong.

Last time this issue of running in the middle came up a runner posted in with the explanation that he did so because that was the flattest part of the surface.

The trail is crowned to let water run off. Apparently some longer distance runners can experience discomfort if all they do is run on a sloping surface.

Bottom line is the cyclist should have exercised an extra degree of caution when passing someone in the middle. It was her responsibility to adjust.

@JeffB - are there any trails that are "closed except to bike commuters" at night? I have not heard of this.

Runners training for marathons are often out quite early in the morning, and it's easy to see why they might choose a MUP over a sidewalk or a road w/o sidewalks. I occasionally run to work, leaving while it's still dark in the winter. I guess I count as a commuter in that case though?? (oh, and yes - relectors and lights are a good idea for runners after dark too).

I feel like the cyclist is 100% wrong here, but then I also think the runner shouldn't be in the middle. [JeffB's explanation about the sloping surface is interesting, but since I'm often criticizing DDOT for not crowning their trails, I'm not sure how applicable that is. If the trail doesn't work for you in a way that let's you use it safely, then you should run elsewhere. Whether or not running in the middle is safe is probably debatable]. So, thinking the cyclist is 100% wrong but that the runner wasn't doing everthing right seems incongruent. I guess it's like someone who gets something stolen out of their unlocked car. They should lock their car, but they aren't complicit.

No running on the left. Satan, you're wrong. This rule was instituted for roads because it would be easier for pedestrians to step off the road and let the car pass, unless you're doing this for bikes, you're doing it wrong. [And this rule is indicative of much of what is wrong with our roads anyway]

Regardless of who is or isn't following the trail rules, everyone should still follow the principle of the last clear chance (to avoid an accident). If you can avoid an accident, do so.

Sounds like the cyclist in this case had plenty of opportunity to see the runner before the collision.

But I don't want to beat up on any particular group. There's room for improvement from all groups in the area, whether it's cyclists, runners, walkers, pet owners, motorcyclists, roller bladers or car drivers. I've seen more than enough bad behavior from members of all groups.

@Purple Eagle,

I know the CCT is closed at dark except for lighted bicycle commuters.

Joe: I agree that the runner should be on the right, if possible. Its a matter of courtesy as well as the rules of the trail. At the same time, the responsibility for safety lies with the cyclist.

Its as if I was biking in the middle of the road and a driver ran me over, saying I shouldnt be there. Of course, such crazy hypotheticals never happen.

@ JeffB - thanks - I did not know that.

Regarding running in the middle of the trail - as a long distance runner I have never had an problem running on the right side of area paved trails - I have not noticed any problems with the crowned surface, where such exists.

There was another cyclist / pedestrian accident on the W&OD yesterday around 2:30pm about 1/2mi from Vienna. I came upon it just after it happened...the female cyclist was on the ground & it didn't look good. Does anyone know if she is ok? Again, another reminder to slow down, and remember it's better to be safe than sorry...it's a shared trail with alot of traffic!

As is illustrated on this thread, cyclists can be dicks, too.

There's a fine line between being a "dick" and an "incompetent dill-whistle." Sounds like this cyclist was the latter, then transitioned to the former when she got all defensive.

One reason I stay off the MUPs as much as possible: there are a *lot* of incredibly incompetent people out there. And that applies to cyclists, runners, walkers, roller-bladers, etc, etc, etc...

Some silly idiot running into the back of a jogger doesn't quite rise to the level of a "trail conflict" issue. It's the equivalent of my clueless ex-girlfriend running over our trashcan while trying to back out of the garage.

Let's not project motives and issues that aren't there.

The trail could be safer without a center line painted. Essentially it suggests that people actively negotiate the middle instead of simply claiming the "right" to all space and generally increasing their speed.

Personally, I find it hard to distinguish a "jerk" from an "idiot". Either way, I think it's safe to conclude that the cyclist was wrong.

@Geof Gee:

If my neighbor runs over my trash can because he doesn't like where I left it, he's a jerk. If my neighbor runs over my trash can because he's a terrible driver and an incompetent boob in general, he's an "idiot".

re CCT Trail after dark...I thought it was closed period. That's what the signs say IIR...I run it in the dark during the winter but have a flasher on my back and a light in my hand.

According to the Coalition for the CCT "The Trail closes at dark except for commuters."

As both a cyclist and a runner, I see the best and the worst of both groups on the trail. Heck, we all see that.

When on a bike, we have to realize that we are the top of the trail food chain and are usually in the greater position to do harm. So: Have control of your bike. Give appropriate warning. Be prepared to react. If there is someone running down the middle of the trail, make sure the runner knows you are there and don't mow him down. If you can't tell, then slow down and give him a safe berth.

When on foot, we have to make sure we are listening. I know that paying attention to something other than the tunes argument gets some runners riled. I don't care. I care about avoiding stupid conficts and stupid injuries. Paying attention usually means leaving one ear bud out if you must play music to run. So you can hear the bike coming and react properly. It hasn't happened to me (and I don't listen to music while running), but I understand being hit by a bike isn't nice. So why risk it?

I've observed a few accidents that don't make a lot of sense on local trails. I was glad that I was not a party to those accidents. And I figure success as a trail user is being neither on the giving nor the receiving end of a collision (or allision, as the case may be).

Personally, I tend to be out at modest traffic times. I call friendly, brief greetings to the cyclists who are polite when they pass me when I'm running and call friendly, brief greetings to the runners whom I pass when I cycle. Wishing someone a nice ride or a nice run isn't going to slow you down appreciably. It's a small, pleasant, contribution to co-existing with other modes of trail transportation. Grumpy people or people really engaged in their workout may ignore you, sure. But I like to give the gentle reminder that shared use trails are about co-existing. Might as well make it pleasant and safe co-existing.

@Anne P.

These are all good points of advice. But I think at some point, basic competence comes into play. There comes a point where an "education campaign" will be in vain.

As that notable asshole Larry Summers observed in the opening sentence of an unpublished paper attacking the idea of rational markets, "There are idiots. Look around."

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