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Hope everyone is alright. This makes me ask: what can a rider do to stop aggressive riders? Can we call the police?

Yesterday I was almost injured by a group of "professional" riders on the Mt. Vernon trail. They were about 12 riders with light blue/white jerseys riding as if they were on the Tour de France. They were riding very aggressively and passing on blind curves causing a lot of people to yell at them. I yelled at one of them myself when he tried passing me while I was passing someone else; then others passed me on a blind curve.

If they want to ride this way then they should not pick rush hour when the trail is the busiest. So, could I call the police in this case?

Stan, if they want to ride that way, they should not be on the MVT. If they don't respond to you and other fellow cyclists, then park police may be the only option left.

I know bells aren't cool and all, but the racers need to get bells if on the trails. "On your left" doesnt cut it when you are already next to me and I see a pothole at 20 mph.

Stan, that group of "professional" riders woult be these guys, who often ride in a peloton on the local trails. Conte's in Arlington is the shop that sponsors them...perhaps have a word with the manager. I've seen they guys ride and they do ride fast and aggressively on trails that are too narrow and poorly laid out for visibility. Onl a matter of time...

Stan, if they are dressed alike, then they are on a team, and you should report them to their team. I hate it when area racers act like dicks. It's bad for all of us.
Do any of these kits look familiar? Let me know and I'll tell you how to contact the team in question.

Thank you Blue-eyed Devil! I need to make absolutely sure that this is the group before I contact the manager. I'll contact the group and find out where they were riding yesterday.

These boards are great! I never expected to find the group and be able to do something about it.

Stan, alternately, you can write to the team president at:

president@squadracoppi.com

Caused quite a backup, with unhappy runners and cyclists trying to edge past police.

This kind of behavior really gets my goat.

Yesterday evening I arrived at the Georgetown end of the trail to find a 18-Wheel truck in the midst of desperately trying to turn around in front of the canoe club.

Despite the obvious difficulty the driver was having people would not stand back to allow him a clear and easy turn.

Even worse - several times while his truck was jerking back and forth because of the grade people were scooting by just inches from the cab (and out of his vision).

me, me, me!

Why would we expect cyclists to be fundamentally different than any other part of society?

On the other hand: what's up with the witch hunt? (No, I do not belong to any local club)

Let's hope that these two cyclists are not severely injured and can get out of the hospital quickly and be with their families to enjoy Independence Day.

Yell at them. Yell at them relentlessly. Never stop. Let them know.

"There is NO middle lane!" - you can yell this dozens of times a day, easily. That stripe down the middle? It's not there for bikers to squeeze between trafficking they're passing and oncoming traffic.

"Your pace is NOT what's important!" - for those who think you should move to the right so they can take some of your lane and that middle lane thingy so they can beat their best time ever.

"Wait your turn!" - for all those people who think they don't have to queue up when there's congestion. You know them, you're waiting for an opening and they come blasting down the middle. Also applies to stop signs and lights.

From the Bikesnobnyc:

"However, while waiting for anything else--an ATM, a movie ticket, a same-sex toilet--the unwritten rules of humanity to which most of us adhere would dictate that the most recently-arrived human would duly take his or her place at the rear of the queue. This is an age-old concept that has served us well. However, for some reason people feel it is acceptable to completely invert this concept when bicycles are involved, and to me this indicates an inherent and fundamental wrong-headedness among cyclists that we would do well to address."

Yell at them! Over and over and over.
Ya know how bikers complain about cars? If we let them be the cars of the paths then we all lose.

I am frankly afraid to go on bicycle paths around here. I wonder if we will ever know the details of today's collision?

"what's up with the witch hunt?"

Having sat through a raucous public meeting about "safety" on the CCT, and bikers getting speed limits and rumble strips on the trail as the result, I would rather we police ourselves. We won't like the results if we leave it in the hands of the NPS to "solve" this problem.

Go for a walk on an area trail sometime and you will quickly realize why the general public thinks we suck.

There isn't a single jersey in the local peloton that I haven't witnessed firsthand committing egregious MUT sins. Shame on Squadra Coppi today, but on my way home, it's a near certainty that I'll see somebody from Artemis, DC Tri, or NCVC do the same.

Any team folks on this thread? Are there any teams with leadership that are actively encouraging members to practice extraordinary respect for other trail users?

Bonehead biking around trail walkers/runners on Sunday means I get horns and mirror-buzzes on Monday.

Re the CCT accident, I do hope everybody's OK.

darren, I plan to pass this on to my team (DCMTB). As far as any team enforcing a code of conduct on its riders: I haven't heard of anything like that. From my experience, Squadra Coppi has been overly tolerant of jackasses in its ranks. There are good teams too--Artemis comes to mind.
There is a local listserv (MABRA) of racers. On occasion, riders will call out other riders for bad behavior.

Yes, my team actively encourages members to practice respect for other trail users - namely, by using the trails for commuting and recreational use, NOT for training rides (and if a training ride takes in a local trail, it should be used with respect as a cool-down or warm-up, or a break in the action...).

Also - a lot of teams (NCVC being one of them) has a ton of members, and it's hard to control what individuals do. That's offered up as an explanation, not an excuse.

Now that I've seen this, however, I'm going to post a carefully-worded message on the local Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association (MABRA) listserv. Wish me luck - I'm looking forward to the flamewar that ensues.

Two cyclists, one accident, and no clue about what happened. If this accident is to serve as a spur to greater safety on the trail, it would be helpful to find out what the problem was before we set out to fix it.

Chris: good luck to you. Maybe they'll be too busy flaming each other over riding conditions at Hains Point.

...or pre-reg...!

John, the replies concerning racing teams has to do with my question regarding how to control aggressive riders. I was honestly afraid that they would cause me to crash; and I could see runners/walkers jumping off the trail to protect themselves.

IF (big if) this is Squadra Coppi then SHAME ON YOU. I will not assume because I'm still waiting for confirmation that they had a ride on Mt. Vernon trail yesterday...but it seems that there are no other teams with light blue/white jerseys.

What was the cause of this crash? Someone being stupid and not yielding when they should have. Plan and simple, yet this will once again be used as an attempt to discriminate against the way some people dress when they ride bicycles.

I've been yelled at for doing less then 10 mph AFTER sitting behind walkers waiting for it to be clear to pass. That makes me want to thread the needle instead of yield, yet I still yield.

ALL users need to respect each other and yield when it is needed.

Stan -

I can think of a few other local teams that may fit that description....

However, in a way that doesn't matter: I think most of the local teams deserve a reminder.

I posted the message below on the listserv (I am now ducking from the inevitable flame-war):

There's recently been some debate on the WashCycle (http://
www.thewashcycle.com/) blog about people from local "racing teams"
riding too fast on the local trails, essentially using them as training rides and having little respect for other trail users.

I think it's a little unfair and not necessarily productive to single out any particular team, especially since it's hard for some of those larger teams to control what all their members do. However, this serves as a useful reminder that any individual's poor behavior on the trail reflects on the rest of us. Most of the general public just
sees a group of people wearing team kits.

Sure, runners shouldn't be wearing headphones so they can't hear your warning, and the dogs should be on leases, etc., etc. There's plenty of bad behavior on the trails. But, the fact of the matter is that
everybody needs to share the trail.

Bottom line is this: We should all remember to do our part, and try to save our training rides and hammer-fests for the roads.

I've seen other teams on the Mt. Vernon trail, but I've never seen a team be so reckless and arrogant as these guys. I just don't understand what they were thinking...rush hour and on a day with a lot of people enjoying a walk/run/bike. Calling them irresponsible doesn't cut it. They need to stop this before someone gets killed. I'm not exaggerating.

It seems to me that your first mistake is your assumption that they were thinking. :-)

Chris, thank you very much for posting that message on the other board. Also thank you for your good advice and "cool head".

I'm pretty sure the crash was between Dorset Ave. and Little Falls Parkway, in Kenwood, as saw an Ambulance on the side of the road on Little Falls Parkway when I approached Little Falls Parkway from Arlington Road.

Chris, thanks for that very well written post, I agree with every point you make. Good luck with the flames...

To your point about enforcing team discipline on individuals, that is true. I would just invite teams to at least establish formal policies that when riding on the trails, members warn when passing all other users, give maximum passing berth, avoid shooting the gap, and keep the pace reasonable. I've browsed through a few team websites, never seen such a policy, and wouldn't 'punish' teams/sponsors for the sins of a lone-wolf jerseyed moron if his/her team had such a B&W policy in place.

I have to admit that I have never encountered a "team train" on the Mount Vernon trail in my time as a cmmuter. I am on the MVT every day and it is a fact of life that I cannot keep up my speed without incurring what would be unnecessary risks. So I slow down, let the cyclist in front of me pass the other slower cyclist before him/ her and then speed up again. Is that sometimes annoying if people don't seem to move "fast enough". Sure but it's OK, I am not alone on the trail.

I am especially careful when kids are around and I will just slow down to a crawl or stop if I see the child is not aware of the surroundings.

Of course, I am also on the trail with my family and yes, that can sometimes be stressful. Two kids that are still learning how to control their bikes and process all the impressions and information while the evening/ or weekend riders (I specifically refer to riders that do not seem to belong to teams) pass without notice and often without proper care. This is a reminder for everyone that any time you are moving in any kind of traffic, especially mixed traffic, things can become dangerous and it helps to pay attention, i.e. no headphones, cell phones, texting etc...

What I don't quite get is why some people (including Eben Weiss) think the behavior at issue here is specific to cyclists. Do you guys ever get in your cars?

Examples abound. One that really sticks with me is the time I stopped at the crosswalk (in scenic Del Ray) and a driver veered around me with his car just as the pedestrians were coming into that section of the crosswalk where he was headed. Luckily nothing happened. I never understand what motivates drivers to do these things. Ever seen drivers not letting others move into a lane just because they don't feel like it (even accelerating to close the gap)? I'll stop the litany for now.


The rider heading out of DC pulled out to pass a runner and slammed into the rider heading in. Apparently it was a quick decision as the inbound rider had no time to react.
This from a friend who know's the inbound rider, and that's what he relayed to me (we were supposed to play tennis and he said he can't because he's waiting for the guy to call him back from the hospital).

"What I don't quite get is why some people (including Eben Weiss) think the behavior at issue here is specific to cyclists. Do you guys ever get in your cars?"

Exactly Eric. Do we want that behavior on public paths? The aggressive rider are the aggressive drivers of the MUP's.

And let's not forget. There may be dogs on long leashes, runners wearing head phones, people stopping and chatting take 3/4 of the path. It doesn't matter. We are the big dogs on the block. We have the most mass, the most speed, the most hard parts and we are the most likely to do the most damage in the event of an accident. Nobody else on that path can come close to the amount of damage we can do.
So we should be extra cautious because it is an MUP.

I carry no brief on behalf of team trains on mixed-use trails or for other kinds of heedless cyclists. And as a rider of only middling strength myself (further slowed by a lumbering overladen commuter bike), I couldn't stay with them even if I wanted to. What I *do* know is that even slogging cyclists like me can suffer moments of inattention which, if really poorly timed, can have consequences as nasty as any. More than once in my commuting life I've suffered a close call and then wondered to myself, "how did I let *that* happen?"

I guess a lot of the exchanges in this thread seemed to me too quick to blame team-clad speedsters for all the ills of mixed use trails when in fact every single one of us is capable of causing a bad accident, and must always guard against complacency.

update:
outbound cyclists is in icu. inbound is being kept overnight with 4 cracked ribs, a chipped vertebrae and head and shoulder injuries.

Oh God, that's horrible, sportmac. Thanks for the update; they're in our thoughts and prayers. It's not the runner's fault, but I bet that person feels really horrible too.

Eric W. and John, I agree with your completely. I am an MVT commuter of many, many years. I recently started a thread on the BikeWashington forum on cyclists who pass without warning on the trail. I am still shaking my head as to how many respondents think that warning-when-passing is optional. One commenter even thought I was just being a whiner.
I do hope the 2 cyclists on the CCT recover. I also hope that the cyclist who wiped out on the MVT near the General Aviation terminal at DCA this morning is alright. As a parent and a cyclist I advise any inexperienced rider to stay away from the MVT. It is no place to learn to ride. I wouldn't let my kids on it until they were 12.
I can't say that the Coppi team is any worse than others. They haven't caused me any harm on the trails. I can say that aggressive riders, often commuters, seem to be getting more reckless recently though.

I've had worse run ins with massive team in training jogging and riding groups. Those are the bane of the trails existence. Yes, they are raising money for disease research but, in the process they are forming massive groups that cause congestion ... they're horrible.

I've occasionally run into teams on the MVT, but never more than 4 or 5 at a time.

But what annoys me is the fast cyclists (including the "team members", but not just them) who don't feel the need to announce they're passing you. I'll go hoarse shouting out "on your left" and such on my rides, but I often feel like the exception rather than the rule.

The CCT is a great resource for Washington and we all should feel very proud we have it. But, due to the paucity of alternatives, it has become overcrowded. Especially given its narrow 10 foot width.

I've been a reverse commuter using the trail going on 7 years now and I've seen my share of crazy riding and accidents, a couple of dead bodies washed up along the banks, and a large man dressed as little bopeep out for a stroll (that was scary!)

Been run off the trail a half-dozen times or so. Had my own head-on collision 2 years ago.

I don't know that yelling at people will help. No one likes to be yelled at and I don't like yelling. I've given up yelling at drivers and really don't want to take up yelling at riders.

I do agree with bikemark's sentiment that the time is due where we have to start policing ourselves before others step in.

Should an educational effort for trail users be mounted?

Who would lead this effort?

Should it be directed at all trail users or just cyclists?

What form should an education effort take?

I have some thoughts - what are yours?

I stopped shopping at Conte's because of squadra Coppi's antics on Friday mornings. I don't know any other way to control it.

So how do we police ourselves without letting the offenders know they're being jerks?

They may not like being yelled at but in my book they're the ones that give the rest of us a bad name. If we don't tell them who will?

Bikemark nailed it. Go for a walk on the paths. Until you experience going along at a strolling pace and have someone whiz by you without any kind of warning you can't really know the feeling. Better yet, walk along the right side of the trail and see how many bikers come within inches of you while hugging the middle line and never give you a warning.

Personally I'm always ready for a confrontation (it's just me) and have no problems with calling them out. I've yelled "there is no middle lane!" hundreds of times usually followed by something a little stronger. But its' a losing battle and I'm all for some kind of educational plan.

JeffB, the little bo-peep buy lives somewhere in my area (Macarthur blvd) because I've seen him far too often. He's a sight to behold that's for sure, but rather harmless me thinks, just a wee bit odd.

Just another thing, though teams are bad I don't see them as the major problem. When you come across them you know what you're getting.
It's the riders and commuters that are being obnoxious every single day that's the real problem.

s

I'm the guy that was the inbound cyclist, got out of the hospital this morning. Buncha broken ribs, but back to daily living. Other guy, from what they tell me, is in ICU for a little while.

Apparently, outbound cyclist went to pass a couple of pedestrians and veered in to my lane. I just remember seeing this guy right in front of me all of a sudden, then boom, lights out.

I don't think this was an issue of agressive riding rather than just a blunder. Me, I was riding at a typical commuter pace, fairly brisk, but not hammering. I think the other guy actually was going kind of slow and forgot to look before going over to left lane.

Glad you're ok! Also glad to hear it was just negligence.
No forum like this can get started without the mandatory complaining about the aggressive ones. And they deserve to be complained about.
Get some rest. Hope the other guy recovers.

"Clubs" going wild is nothing new in the cycling world. I have seen the best person on a team kicked off time and time again just for being an all around ass. I've seen this with Squadra Coppi too. They are VERY proactive in keeping it's members under control or showing them the door. I'm not excusing what they did. I'm just saying if you have a problem with them then email the club and if your not happy with their answer then as a last resort call the sponsors and tell them how you feel.

Just to keep with the "People on the trail are the same as people on the roads" theme, I get this nagging feeling that some of the folks on this thread also drive 50 mph in the left hand lane of 395, self-satisfied in the knowledge that they are within the bounds of the law.

How's this for a universal trail rule? - Don't be an @sshole.

I think sportmac said it best: we are the cars of the CCT, etc. It is upon us to use a little extra caution because we can cause serious injury just as easily as a negligent car driver can cause injury. A good lesson to always be attentive.

On the aggressive team members note: I got passed at top speed with no warning by a guy in a jersey that was sponsored by Bicycle Pro Shop - I love that shop and bought my bike from there, but whoever that was scared the shit out of me. Made me imagine how a pedestrian must feel to be whizzed by.

Oddly enough this morning I had a guy on a felt, sleveless jersey and blasting his iPod both draft and pull dangerous passes on me.

First, please don't suck my wheel if I don't know you - at least have the courtesy to ask.

Second, seriously - where's the sprint line on the W & OD? The guy nearly took out at least three runners.

Not a team guy - just some aggro A-hole.

@robatsu: In the original thread, the mention is of one helmet. Do you know more about the helmet situation? Do we actually know what injuries the other rider has suffered?

Since this is now also officially the whining thread:

I want to register my official complaints on:

The runners who clogged up the MVT on Saturday morning. massive amounts of runners spilling out of their lane. So glad I was going towards Roosevelt Island and did not encounter them on the Humpback Bridge...

Passing me: If you pass me on the MVT while I am pulling my son on his trailer bicycle and my daughter is riding ahead of me, please announce yourself so I can hear it and not only my son. That's why the sell bells.

Passing you: If I stay behind you because I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable by passing you before a curve or with traffic coming, please allow me to complete my pass once I rang my bell without you getting into my lane (without looking, no less) so you can position yourself to pass some guy way ahead.

Feeling better!

But more importantly than me feeling better is that one of the cyclists involved in the crash is feeling better (robatsu) despite the injuries. Hoping that the other cyclist will pull through quickly.

Here's the real tragedy, heretofore escaping mention (from a post by robatsu at WTOP):

"For the enquiring minds in some of the comments, I was riding my early 90's Tommasini Diamante, which was damaged in the collision as was the other rider's Marin mountain bike."

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