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Thread: MUT encounters

  1. #1
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    MUT encounters

    The weather was nice this week so a couple of days I took the long way home from work. There is a MUT that runs about 8 miles and is largely low traffic for it's length that I often incorporate into my ride. I'm no pathlete. I play nice on the MUT; call "on your left", slow for any traffic, don't pass if it's dodgy, etc.

    On this particular day I'm cruising along and gain on a gentleman on a road bike. We are coming up to a busy road crossing on top of a little rise. I modulate my pace so that I don't catch him until we are both at the crossing. As we both approach, I see there is no traffic (unusual) and we both proceed to the other side.

    The MUT on the far side of the road has a slight bend and a removable bollard in the middle as well as a driveway for service access (thus the bollard). I cruise through the crossing and then set up to come by him once we are on the other side. He immediately calls out (yells?) "Don't crowd me or you will crash us both."

    I back off and then as we approach the bollard he calls out (yells?) "I'm going right."

    I use this as an opportunity to get by him quickly. I don't say anything. I don't look at him.

    My immediate reaction was that I wasn't going to crash anyone. He might crash himself but I'm plenty skilled enough to keep upright. And WTF about staying in the middle of the MUT when it was obvious that I was the faster rider and would be coming by? He could have saved himself some heartache by staying right immediately after the intersection and letting me by.

    I want to be clear that at no time did I crowd him prior to initiating the pass -- which prompted his first outburst. In my world, the slower rider yields right enough to let the faster rider by. If that means slowing some, then that's what happens. In other words, I expected him to notice me and yield. I wasn't crowding him per se. I was just in his vicinity.

    In any event, as I rode along I rethought my initial WTF moment and mellowed on the whole incident -- actually feeling a bit guilty about my actions. I ride a fair amount. I sometimes ride with people. Occasionally, I'm in circumstances where I ride with people of widely varying skill levels. In other words, I have a wealth of experience taking care of my myself.

    He had no idea who I am and what my cycling skills might be. He's on the MUT so maybe he is looking for (what he sees as) a safer ride than on the street. Perhaps he is uncomfortable moving to the right on that slight bend and is nervous about the bollard coming up.

    So there I was harshing on his mellow. In retrospect, I should have said something to let him know my expectations. Instead, I was in my own little world enjoying the day.
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  2. #2
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    Riding on MUTs is dangerous. The kids are the worst. Then come dogs with long leashes or no leashes followed by joggers and walkers oblivious to their surroundings. Riders on MUTs may be extremely uncomfortable around other riders and liable to wig out if you get close to them. Don't ride on MUTs if you can avoid it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner68 View Post
    Riding on MUTs is dangerous. The kids are the worst. Then come dogs with long leashes or no leashes followed by joggers and walkers oblivious to their surroundings. Riders on MUTs may be extremely uncomfortable around other riders and liable to wig out if you get close to them. Don't ride on MUTs if you can avoid it.
    I generally agree with you. This one has pretty low traffic when I choose to ride on it. On the weekend? Forget it. But it seems to me that there are plenty of cyclists who ride the MUTs because they feel so nervous about traffic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gripped View Post
    In my world, the slower rider yields right enough to let the faster rider by. If that means slowing some, then that's what happens.
    Hmm, Germany can't be part of your world...

    If you overtake someone, it's your responsibility to do so safely without endagering others. You can't expect someone else to make space for you (in general at least).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner68 View Post
    Riding on MUTs is dangerous. The kids are the worst. Then come dogs with long leashes or no leashes followed by joggers and walkers oblivious to their surroundings. Riders on MUTs may be extremely uncomfortable around other riders and liable to wig out if you get close to them. Don't ride on MUTs if you can avoid it.
    Hi, just about every ride I do uses a bit or more of MUT for part of the ride and I rarely have any trouble. I do not consider them to be dangerous provided you keep your wits about you and slow down when needed and giver the other uses room. Expect the UN-expected and you should be fine. Enjoy the MUT! They cost too much tax dollars not to ;-)

    Later, Axlenut

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    I kind of disagree in that if you are riding down the middle of a known bike path (MUT) then you better expect people to be passing you closely. If you are in the middle, they will have to come close. I avoid MUT's whenever possible. I am much more comfortable on the street
    Quote Originally Posted by Got Time View Post
    Hmm, Germany can't be part of your world...

    If you overtake someone, it's your responsibility to do so safely without endagering others. You can't expect someone else to make space for you (in general at least).

  7. #7
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    It sounds like you waited for an appropriate point to pass, but just as with motorized traffic there are nervous nellies who over-react to all perceived threats around them. If you were both in cars, the same guy would probably freak if you started to pull into an intersection just as he was clearing it cross-ways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by martinrjensen View Post
    I kind of disagree in that if you are riding down the middle of a known bike path (MUT) then you better expect people to be passing you closely.
    funny, when someone "takes the road" to avoid cars passing when the cyclist finds it unsafe is considered perfectly reasonable. But if, god forbid, a cyclist is held up all bets are off. Imagine a driver saying "I expected him to notice me and yield. I wasn't crowding him per se. I was just in his vicinity."
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  9. #9
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    Most of my riding is on our Sammamish River and Burke-Gilman trails that run 25 mi around Lake Washington from Redmond into Seattle. I agree that the worst are people with their dogs, paying no attention. One lady walking toward me with her dog on a leash let her dog walk right in front of me just as I got there a couple weeks ago. I stopped in time (just barely) and then she yelled at me. Sheesh. So, yes, the likelihood you'll be yelled at seems inversely proportional to the IQ of the people you meet.

    But maybe our trails are just a lot better than yours. I encounter idiots but not that many, even on summer weekends, and it's way better than dealing with traffic on the streets. On the street two days ago, e.g., I nearly got wiped out on my brand-new Paris in a crosswalk by some guy who doesn't know what a limit line is and just rolled right in front of me. As between hitting a dog on an MUT or being hit by a car on a street, I think I'll choose the dog on the MUT. On a busy street, if the first car doesn't kill you, the second one can finish the job once you're down.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker View Post
    funny, when someone "takes the road" to avoid cars passing when the cyclist finds it unsafe is considered perfectly reasonable. But if, god forbid, a cyclist is held up all bets are off. Imagine a driver saying "I expected him to notice me and yield. I wasn't crowding him per se. I was just in his vicinity."
    Agreed. Cyclists have a double standard and it is wrong. For example, I can't tell you how many times a cyclist brushes by me way too close when passing. The sad part is that most of the time there is absolutely no reason to do this. The street is empty and the cyclist could easily have given me a wide berth without all this "on your left" crap and so on and so forth.

    Another double standard situation is adherence to the rules of the road. Cyclists expect drivers to follow the rules, but they don't follow the rules themselves. Stop signs come to mind. Rolling stops cause drivers great confusion. They don't know how a cyclist is going to behave.

    As to MUT's, they must be treated like a sidewalk. Anyone or anything may be using it and the cyclist cannot expect any kind of cycling etiquette or typical "rules of the road" to apply. For example, people should be able to walk 3 abreast with their dog on a leash and enjoy the MUT without having to worry about some cyclist that thinks he is entitled to some type of passing rights. Let these people have fun on the MUT the way they want to. I don't care if I have to wait to pass, slow down to a snail's pace or do whatever else so that people don't freak out. It is an MUT for crying out loud. Cyclists need to slow down, be patient, smile, be happy that others are out having fun and just chill. One's precious ride and/or flow will only be held up momentarily. If a cyclist can't handle this, then get the **** off the MUT.

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    If you are doing 12 mph on a typical bike path there is no reason you need to take the whole path. I didn't say just blow by the guy. My feeling from reading the OP's post was that they guy was riding in the middle of the road and he passed fairly safely but not according the the older rider who from the sound o it wanted the whole width to himself. From his description, it really didn't sound like he passed all that closely. Some people just expect the whole bike path and IMO they are wrong. (And whenever passing someone, it's good to say "on your left" or whatever's appropriate so they know you are there.)
    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker View Post
    funny, when someone "takes the road" to avoid cars passing when the cyclist finds it unsafe is considered perfectly reasonable. But if, god forbid, a cyclist is held up all bets are off. Imagine a driver saying "I expected him to notice me and yield. I wasn't crowding him per se. I was just in his vicinity."

  12. #12
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    The Chicago lakefront path is a great place for me to ride at times, provided I adopt a zen-like acceptance of everything around me. It gets pretty crowded on weekends, so it pays to set your expectations of a fast, unhindered ride very low, and just enjoy the scenery at 13mph.
    Many think it is their own private training facility though, paid for by the taxpayers in furtherance of their TdF aspirations. Having a paceline of 24mph riders swearing at mothers walking with their strollers infuriates me every time I see it, and I see it every time I ride out there on the weekends...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinrjensen View Post
    If you are doing 12 mph on a typical bike path there is no reason you need to take the whole path. I didn't say just blow by the guy. My feeling from reading the OP's post was that they guy was riding in the middle of the road and he passed fairly safely but not according the the older rider who from the sound o it wanted the whole width to himself. From his description, it really didn't sound like he passed all that closely. Some people just expect the whole bike path and IMO they are wrong. (And whenever passing someone, it's good to say "on your left" or whatever's appropriate so they know you are there.)
    well replace the passing bike with a car and let me know how it reads
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinrjensen View Post
    If you are doing 12 mph on a typical bike path there is no reason you need to take the whole path. I didn't say just blow by the guy. My feeling from reading the OP's post was that they guy was riding in the middle of the road and he passed fairly safely but not according the the older rider who from the sound o it wanted the whole width to himself. From his description, it really didn't sound like he passed all that closely. Some people just expect the whole bike path and IMO they are wrong. (And whenever passing someone, it's good to say "on your left" or whatever's appropriate so they know you are there.)
    It is hard to tell from the OP what it was really like. In any case, it sounds to me that the passing cyclist could have waited a bit more and passed after the intersection and what not.

    As to saying "on your left", this often has a bad result. On an MUT, a cyclist must assume that others don't know what "on your left" means.

    On another note, I will say that it seems that way too many people on MUT's, and even trails, have this impression that cyclists are out of control and can't slow down. These folks seem to have a semi-panic when they realize a cyclist is behind them. Perhaps this is due to too many riders out there that fit sculpin's description.

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    come on, you know it's not the same. I can't tell you how many clueless people I have seen riding down the middle of the path when there was all kinds of room to move over. Typically these people seem to get affronted when you say on your left and then scoot by them. Have I passed too close? I'm sure of it. Have I passed dangerously too close? Never. Actually this is almost a moot point with me because I don't ride MUP's anymore, only surface streets. I really think that MUPs are good for about 12 mph maximum when there are people around.
    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker View Post
    well replace the passing bike with a car and let me know how it reads

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    Quote Originally Posted by martinrjensen View Post
    come on, you know it's not the same. I can't tell you how many clueless people I have seen riding down the middle of the path when there was all kinds of room to move over. Typically these people seem to get affronted when you say on your left and then scoot by them. Have I passed too close? I'm sure of it. Have I passed dangerously too close? Never. Actually this is almost a moot point with me because I don't ride MUP's anymore, only surface streets. I really think that MUPs are good for about 12 mph maximum when there are people around.
    it's called trails or paths for a reason, not roads. and yet that is basically when some cyclists treat them as, except the pesky cars are out of the way.
    Who is making the judgement call when a passing is too close for comfort? the passed person or the person passing?
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    I generally try not to expect to ride at training pace on MUPs. At least, near town. And, I don't expect people to understand "on your left." Think about it - it's a totally stupid phrase. The key word in the request is "left." I'd say there's a 50/50 chance that someone trying to be polite will move to the left.

    I pull my speed back to walking and say "hello." It's unambiguous. People usually yield to the right and I pass them, say "thanks," and don't give it another thought. It also avoids giving a command, which, whether we mean it to sound arrogant or not, can be taken pretty badly by some people.

    It's a little frustrating, but IME there's usually only a few miles of that kind of thing before getting far enough from town to be able to open the throttle, either by virtue of few people using the MUP or the roads that were sketchy enough to drive me onto it in the first place calming down.

  18. #18
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    If I'm out to ride fast I find its always better to stay off the MUT. Not everyone you see on two wheels peddling down the MUT is some sort of cyclists most are just folks riding a bike on a nice day.

    Nothing is better than seeing the guy with full kit & 5k time trial rig yelling on your left to the guy with the flip flops and fuzzy head pedaling down the middle of the MUT with his headphones on..

    Well there goes any hope for Victory no TDF win today..

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    Well it's spring here in TO and that means war on the MG trail. Runners, dogs, and all others beware.
    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?

    One.

    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.

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    I will give you that. I just use my best judgement and live with it. if I think back and think I was wrong, I make adjustments for any future situations. I don't think I can do much more.
    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker View Post
    it's called trails or paths for a reason, not roads. and yet that is basically when some cyclists treat them as, except the pesky cars are out of the way.
    Who is making the judgement call when a passing is too close for comfort? the passed person or the person passing?

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    You know the only part of riding around the lake I don't like is that portion on the North west side where you are on the trail. Course a good portion of it is new now. Everything else is pretty good. I stopped riding around Lake Wash for that reason. Much better ride around Sammamish I think.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicole Hamilton View Post
    Most of my riding is on our Sammamish River and Burke-Gilman trails that run 25 mi around Lake Washington from Redmond into Seattle. I agree that the worst are people with their dogs, paying no attention. One lady walking toward me with her dog on a leash let her dog walk right in front of me just as I got there a couple weeks ago. I stopped in time (just barely) and then she yelled at me. Sheesh. So, yes, the likelihood you'll be yelled at seems inversely proportional to the IQ of the people you meet.

    But maybe our trails are just a lot better than yours. I encounter idiots but not that many, even on summer weekends, and it's way better than dealing with traffic on the streets. On the street two days ago, e.g., I nearly got wiped out on my brand-new Paris in a crosswalk by some guy who doesn't know what a limit line is and just rolled right in front of me. As between hitting a dog on an MUT or being hit by a car on a street, I think I'll choose the dog on the MUT. On a busy street, if the first car doesn't kill you, the second one can finish the job once you're down.

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    Reading the comments about short tempered cyclists riding on MUT's, is exactly the same as reading the editorial page of my local paper from folks driving cars about Cyclists on the roads. Shame that attitudes are the same toward folks going slower and percieved to be dangerous in doing so.

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    Funny, I've never had problems on a MUT here...except for one cyclist I passed who was very upset that I didn't "ring my bell" (my bad for not having one on my road bike, even though I passed him with lots of room). Most people walking are quite appreciative if you just give them a little warning that your coming up on them. We have MUTs all over the city so people are used to it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinrjensen View Post
    You know the only part of riding around the lake I don't like is that portion on the North west side where you are on the trail. Course a good portion of it is new now. Everything else is pretty good. I stopped riding around Lake Wash for that reason. Much better ride around Sammamish I think.
    I'm not sure I understand your complaint. Are you complaining about the amount of traffic on the BG?

    I've always liked the whole trail. For me, it's 50 miles RT to go all the way around into the UW district, which is longer than my usual 30 to 35-mile ride. So I didn't do west side all that often. And of course, I didn't do it at all last season because they had it closed for repairs beginning at Log Boom Park. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what they've done.

    What is the course you take around Sammamish?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by axlenut View Post
    Hi, just about every ride I do uses a bit or more of MUT for part of the ride and I rarely have any trouble. I do not consider them to be dangerous provided you keep your wits about you and slow down when needed and giver the other uses room. Expect the UN-expected and you should be fine. Enjoy the MUT! They cost too much tax dollars not to ;-)

    Later, Axlenut
    I agree. You can't take the same attitude to a MUT that you do to an open section of road. You are sharing a park with your neighbours, their kids and their dogs. Show respect and exercise caution.
    "It's supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to push this button. "
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