Tag Archive for pedestrians

Shocked — shocked! — I am to find bikes on the bike path

I never cease to be amazed at people who are shocked — shocked! — to discover bikes on the bike path.

Like the people who casually stroll along the bike lanes on Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue, the Marvin Braude (nee Santa Monica) bike path along the beach is inexplicably full of people who seem to have no clue that they might actually encounter bicycles as they blithely ignore the Bikes Only and No Pedestrian markings under their feet.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking the entire 22.3 mile length of the path. The upper portion along Will Rogers State Beach is usually okay, as is the lower portion through the South Bay, at least until you get to Hermosa Beach. No, I’m referring to the vastly over-populated portion from the Venice Pier north to the walkway under PCH at West Channel Road.

I’ve had a number of bizarre encounters there over the years, such as the time a toddler darted out from the parking lost directly in front of me. I jammed on my brakes and managed to come to a panic stop just inches from her.

So did the bystanders chastise her parents, for letting a small child run unsupervised like that? Or did they commend me for riding defensively, and putting the safety of a child ahead of my own?

Of course not.

Instead, I got to hear an old guy complaining about “all the damn bicycles on the bike path.” And I rode off, wondering just exactly what he expected to find there.

Then there was the woman so engrossed in her cell phone conversation that she stepped directly onto the bike path — and right in front of me — without ever looking up. So I yelled out a warning and learned hard to my left, then immediately back to the right, carving a perfect C shape right around her.

And then I made my big mistake. I stopped to make sure she was okay.

She started screaming at me — without ending her call, of course — for having the audacity to frighten her. Never mind that if she’d done the same thing on a city street, she’d probably be dead now. Or that a less experience cyclist probably would have crashed right into her, sending both of us to the ER.

No, as far as she was concerned, she was blameless and I was the bad guy, just because I tried to spare us both from serious injury.

In other words, blame bicyclists first.

Or take the large family of very large Texans I encountered near the volleyball courts awhile back. There were about 12 of them, all gathered in a group and completely blocking the entire bike path in both directions.

Eternal optimist that I am, I assumed that they would move aside to let me pass when I got close. But no, they just stared at me, their bovine expressions unchanging as they gazed at the approaching cyclist.

Polite requests to pass accomplished nothing. So finally I came to a full stop just feet in front of them and, exasperated, yelled at them to get out of the way.

That had the same effect as poking an enraged bull. The women started screaming at me and the men started moving angrily towards me. One woman, apparently the matriarch of the group, sputtered that they were from Texas, and had never encountered such rudeness.

So let’s recap, shall we? They were far from home, blocking a major pathway, preventing anyone else from passing in any direction, and ignoring every reasonable request for passage.

And I was the rude one?

Finally, some other riders approaching on the other side of the group called for them to move, as well, and slowly they gave way to either side, not unlike Moses parting the Red Sea.

And I rode off, wishing them a safe and speedy return to Texas.

Okay, so I may have left out the safe part.

Today’s must reads: Streetsblog reminds readers about tonight’s DWP meeting to discuss the annual Festival of Lights, giving us an opportunity to protest their absurd — and illegal — ban on bicycles (thanks to Alex Thompson for pointing us to section 21 of the state vehicle code). Speaking of Alex, he’s posted a beautiful reverie on racing a magical wave on Ballona Creek. The Time’s Bottleneck Blog provides the details of the proposed sales tax increase, which still lacks any provision for bicycles and pedestrians. And finally, sad news from my home town, where one rider was killed and another severely injured when they were stuck from behind by a drunk driver — at 5:20 in the morning.

What is it with Montana? (And no, I don’t mean Hannah.)

Well, it happened again.

I decided to take Montana back home through Santa Monica at the end of my morning ride. (I know. I know. I usually take San Vicente, but every now and then it’s fun to see celebutants in their native habitat.)

So I’m hammering uphill, an unbroken string of parked cars on my right, and an unbroken line of traffic on my left. And directly in front of me is a young couple, casually sauntering along the bike lane.

Naturally, I assume that they’ve just existed a car — though why both would exit on the left is beyond me — and will soon make their way to the sidewalk. But no, they just continue to stroll along the bike lane, turning it into their own personal walkway and passing up several opportunities to move out of the road.

Finally, there’s nowhere for me to go, so I urge them — as politely as possible under the circumstances — to get out of the way.

Their response?

“Fuck you.”

And there’s the problem.

I mean, I can understand the attitude of outlaw bikers. No, really, I can. Because even when we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be, doing exactly what we’re supposed to do, there’s a sizable segment of the local population that looks at us and says, “fuck you.”



Once again, the Croix de Fer and Alpe d’Huez separate the men from the boys, but Saturday’s time trial is looking big. And why can’t Versus manage to cram in just a little more racing in between the commercials? Evidently, right-wing columnists do more than just out covert CIA agents, but they need a cyclist to tell them what they’ve just done. Last chance to sign a letter urging the Metro Board to do the right thing, and fund projects to help keep cyclists and pedestrians safe and alive. Outdoor Urbanite reports on a fat tire fork perfect for riding the Forest of Endor. And after a hard ride on Thursday, I plan to celebrate the holiday with a nice Chamucos Reposado.

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