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Don't like this precedent. Replace pedestrian with bike, bike with car, and put this on a street.

The larger, faster-moving object behind a smaller, slower-moving object needs to show greater deference and caution.

I always make it a point to slow down on multi-use paths when pedestrians are around and I'm making passes. I fully realize that some people on here will take issue with that mindset, but I believe what's good for the goose (cars vs bikes) is good for the gander (bikes vs peds)

This is a similar result to the tragic fatality on Four Mile Run a few years back. Multi purpose trails are used by individuals in very different ways. If any user acts unpredictably, they may place an approaching user--even one who has audibly signaled their approach--in a situation where there is insufficient time and space to stop. On a road, there are factors that greatly minimize the corollary risk to cyclists. First, in most instances the speed differential is less, which increases the reaction time. Second, if the driver is behind and in the lane, they need to leave room to come to a complete stop (which applies whether it's a bike or a car in front). If they are behind and not fully in the same lane, then they ought to have the requisite 3 foot or so for safe passing. If a cyclist were to make a sudden lane change without proper signaling, then the traffic laws are pretty clear that the cyclist is at fault. I'm failing to see how this case creates any new and troubling precedent for cyclists.

I've already hashed this out with the Montgomery County Road Runners Club and have received a response from Park Police on the issue.

In short all trail users are responsible to move in a predictable manor therefore all users need to make sure it is safe before u-turning entering or exiting a trail.

Also, the Capital Crescent Trail Safety page is great. The list rules for each user group and the majority of rules relate to all user groups, as it should be. http://www.cctrail.org/CCT_Safety.htm

Following is the full response from the police and their perspective of the incident in Roanoke.

Legally speaking the law identifies a bicycle as a vehicle in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Transportation Article (Title 11-104). It specifies in general that the driver of a vehicle exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian (Title 21-504). It further states that the driver, if necessary, warn any pedestrian by sounding the horn of a vehicle (Title 21-504). It adds that a bicycle may be equipped with a bell or device capable of giving a signal audible for at least 100 feet (Title 21-1207).

However, I am not aware of any law or rule that is specific to pedestrians and their use of trails with bicyclists.

That being said, everyone using the trails has a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and not act in a manner that is negligent or causes injury to another. It is incumbent on pedestrians and bicyclists alike to use common sense and extend courtesy to each other while they use the trails. In a circumstance where a pedestrian and a cyclist collide on a trail, it is a civil matter and normally will not be a situation that is handled by the police as a matter of routine. In a case like that, the police department will not determine fault. If there is a dispute as to whose fault it is, it may have to be determined in a civil court room. The court would decide if the bicyclist or the pedestrian were negligent in any manner and determine a finding of fault.

In conclusion, bicyclists have a lawful responsibility to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. As a bicyclist passes a pedestrian, they should signal their intent. Pedestrians also have a civil responsibility to behave in a manner that would not jeopardize their safety or the safety of others. Every trail user should use an abundance of care and courtesy to create a pleasurable experience for everyone.

A good analogy would be that squirrel or rabbit that most of us have hit when it suddenly ran out in front of the car.

"Don't like this precedent. Replace pedestrian with bike, bike with car, and put this on a street."

Okay, I am riding down a two way street. Say, southbound on Valley Drive. I decide to make a u turn and head north instead. So, I ride on the right hand side of the sb lane, flip 90 degrees to my left to cross the roadway, fail to look for a SB car (since I would be able to hear a car) and proceed across. A SB car that I did not hear for some reason (its a prius, and there is debate if they honked, and I was hearing challenged but not wearing hearing aids) is passing me SB, at a reasonable speed and giving me enough room. But as I proceed across the room they hit me.

I would lose in court, and that would already be the case absent this precedent.

In fact of course most cyclists who change direction on a street like that either do a "vehicular u turn" riding to the LEFT side of the SB lanes and pulling around as a car would, OR they pull to the side do a copenhagen or box U,waiting for traffic to pass, and looking for both SB and NB traffic (esp if there is no signal)

The runner in this case did neither of those things - they did not keep left to make a left, while signalling a left, nor did they stop and look for traffic in both directions.

The ideal procedure is for the runner to stop, step off the trail, then look both ways before continuing.

Anything else I call it a "crazy Ivan".

Cyclists should always announce, slow down and move to the extreme opposite edge.

No cyclist is 100% capable of preventing a crash when a runner pulls a quick U-turn right in front of you.

Naa, as a runner I can easily look back and make sure it clear before turning. The key is glace back a few times starting at least 50 yards before turning or crossing the trail. The look back a few more a couple more times to insure it's safe before making the turn.

If you plan ahead it's easy to safely cross the trail while running.

As both a runner and a cyclist, as a runner I can say that you can easily look over your shoulder and safely do your U-turn. However, as a cyclist, I can say that not all runners will do this. It's best to be careful in all situations and be prepared for unexpected behavior from all users--since that's what you're going to get over time.

I've seen runners look behind. Moments later I had to jam on my brakes to avoid hitting them.

Why not do the 100% safe thing?

Crickey7 nailed it. This is why I dislike multi-use trails on afoot or awheel.

"I'm failing to see how this case creates any new and troubling precedent for cyclists."

It doesn't. It creates a troubling precedent for pedestrians.

"This is why I dislike multi-use trails on afoot or awheel."

What would you say is a good solution then? There often isn't space to do separate trails, and in places where I have seen separate trails, clueless people still migrate from one to the other or wander across them (even in Germany, where you would expect about the best rule following you are likely to get anywhere). When there is only one trail, I don't think you're going to be able to keep any one class of users off of it for the exclusive use of the other. Yet a lot of people just feel more comfortable riding or jogging on a trail than along streets with distracted drivers speeding by.

You perhaps meant that you personally don't like to use them, but they are okay as a concept for others' use. If so, carry on. If not, I genuinely am curious what solutions there might be.

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