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  1. #1
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    Default An Open Letter to Bike Riders in NW Philly

    Dear Bike Riiders in NW Philly:

    I like having you in my neighborhood. I truly do. One of the top reasons why I chose to live in our neighborhood was because of the proximity to the woods. I belong to the FOW and spend a lot of my free time meandering through the trails. Another reason why my wife and I moved here is because of how close our house is to the Bike Race course. It's probably my favorite annual event of the year. I love that we have a park and a neighborhood that is very welcoming to bike riding.

    However, can the certain percentage of you who are idiots please stop acting so dumb?

    Case in point: The x-treme mountain biker today whom we "met" while walking our dog on one of the trails in Andorra. This trail was no more than three feet wide and is very steep. Sir, you are not Lance Armstrong. You do not need to go whipping around the trail as fast as possible, telling us to watch out when you're about five feet behind us and then laughing as we have to practically dive out of the way of your $2,500 fully loaded bike. This is just obnoxious and unsafe behavior, especially since you came only a few inches away from having your back wheel connect with my dogs face. You are not in the X-Games. Please be considerate of those of us who do not have sculpted legs that we show off while wearing spandex and prefer to have a meandering walk in the park.

    Another case in point: The pack of riders on Henry Ave. today. Could you use the bike lane (or at least pretend there's a bike lane if one doesn't exist). Henry Ave. is an incredibly busy street and people almost always ignore the speed limit there. I have to switch lanes when your peloton is taking up the entire right lane. There are a lot of other cars doing the same or speeding past, This is needlessly dangerous for me. If you were all in a single file line, I could slowly drive past without having to switch lanes on a pretty crazy road.

    This also holds true where Kelly Drive and Rt. 1 and Lincoln converge. There's a lot of traffic in this area and you actually have a bike lane and/or a very wide sidewalk to use in this stretch. I would prefer to not have to swing into the left lane in front of the ramp. I also would prefer to not have to wait for you to make that left turn right after the transportation center since the chances of SEPTA or another motorist read ending me because of the sudden stop you are causing me to make. Also, I am driving a car which can kill you. Please be cognizant of that -- I really don't want to kill you despite your spandex and toned legs.

    Sincerely,

    Disgruntled non-bike rider in NW Philly.

  2. #2
    foxhound15 is offline Junior Member
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    unfortunately, when groups of riders doesn't "take the lane"--especially on dangerous streets like henry--they are liable to be sideswiped and killed, not driven politely by. isn't a lane change safer than a sudden slow down on henry, anyway? often, bike lanes are just an invitation to have a car make a right turn into you, or a car door to open onto you.

    cyclists should signal their turn and their stop (not that most cars notice when i signal), but after that they have the right to make that left just like anyone else onto main st.

    i'm a bike rider and a wissahickon hiker, though, and i absolutely agree with you regarding many of the mountain bikers in the park. not only that, but aggressive biking on those trails during rain ruins them for everyone.

    so i'm all for better signals by cyclists and better behavior by motorists on henry. the reasons you worry about getting rear ended explain a lot of how cyclists respond in heavy traffic.

    (fwiw, i hate it when cyclists run red lights and zip narrowly by stopped cars at intersections.)

  3. #3
    TruthBeTold is offline Member
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    I am all for sharing the road so long as the rules are shared as well. Red lights are red lights for all.

    Perfect example, my son and I were crossing Main at Shurs. The light was red for Main and green for the traffic on Shurs. I step out to cross Main, with my sons hand in mine. There were no cars coming off of Shurs nor were there any vehicles exiting the Mad River parking lot. Even if there were, we would have had the right of way.

    As I step out and look to my left this moronic biker was instructing me to look out as he was leading two other bikers through the light, going at least 10-15 mph. That guy deserved to be run off the road and into a grassy knoll where he could have then rolled into the Schuylkill.

  4. #4
    Pitt is offline Senior Member
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    Did he hit you or your dog? No. Cut out the histrionics.

    Try wearing regular shorts while mountain biking. The leg opening gets caught on the tip of the saddle and over the handlebars you go. Making fun of his clothes? I thought you were a woman until I saw your handle.

    It's also proper etiquette to alert runners, walkers, and other cyclists when passing to avoid collisions. I say "On your left." It's a safety precaution for everyone involved.

    Lastly, just because he's not Lance Armstrong doesn't mean he shouldn't push himself, ride a nice bike, or wear proper equipment & apparel.

  5. #5
    Colin P. Varga is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitt View Post
    ... I say "On your left." It's a safety precaution for everyone involved....
    Not really. You have to be heard over traffic. If the cyclist is or has been climbing a hill they might not have the breath to warn anyone. Not everyone is in great shape.

    Also, cyclists need to be heard by the car driver in a nice quiet luxury car that has a stereo.

    Cyclists need a warning device, I believe it the law in PA. Something loud. Of course for pedestrian a little politeness and common sense can be shown by using such a device. Also, you could have one device for motor traffic and another one for peds.

    The driver that hit me said he never heard me screaming. "On your left" is meaningless if it isn't heard.
    Goodnight Rossana Arquette whereever you are.

  6. #6
    philly57 is offline Senior Member
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    My one peeve w/ bikers is when they cherry pick laws to obey. Most notably, they never dare bike on the sidewalk, even in neighborhoods where the sidewalks are relatively empty and there isn't a bike lane (Umbria St for example!) but then cruise through red lights.

  7. #7
    Colin P. Varga is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by philly57 View Post
    My one peeve w/ bikers is when they cherry pick laws to obey. Most notably, they never dare bike on the sidewalk, even in neighborhoods where the sidewalks are relatively empty and there isn't a bike lane (Umbria St for example!) but then cruise through red lights.
    Biking on the sidewalks is dangerous for peds that aren't expecting vehicles on the sidewalk and usually car drivers won't see a cyclist approaching a crosswalk at a speed greater than a pedestrian. I know this from experience. The street is the best place for vehicles.
    Goodnight Rossana Arquette whereever you are.

  8. #8
    PhilaCap is offline Senior Member
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    all those bike lanes that nobody uses... what a waste of money.

  9. #9
    RollinRox is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin P. Varga View Post
    Not really. You have to be heard over traffic. If the cyclist is or has been climbing a hill they might not have the breath to warn anyone. Not everyone is in great shape.

    Also, cyclists need to be heard by the car driver in a nice quiet luxury car that has a stereo.

    Cyclists need a warning device, I believe it the law in PA. Something loud. Of course for pedestrian a little politeness and common sense can be shown by using such a device. Also, you could have one device for motor traffic and another one for peds.

    The driver that hit me said he never heard me screaming. "On your left" is meaningless if it isn't heard.
    I think Pitt is talking about on the trail. I do the same thing. I also have a warning bell I ring. These work as safety precautions 95% of the time. Not much can be done when 5% of the people I am warning about my coming up on them have the earbuds in with music blairing loud enough that I can hear it, or just do not care enough to turn around or even flinch at the sounds I am making.

  10. #10
    Panniculus is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilaCap View Post
    all those bike lanes that nobody uses... what a waste of money.
    But look at all the double parking opportunities.

  11. #11
    Politburo is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillyComedyGuy View Post
    Sir, you are not Lance Armstrong... You are not in the X-Games. Please be considerate of those of us who do not have sculpted legs that we show off while wearing spandex and prefer to have a meandering walk in the park.

    I have to switch lanes when your peloton is taking up the entire right lane... If you were all in a single file line, I could slowly drive past without having to switch lanes on a pretty crazy road.

    I also would prefer to not have to wait for you... Also, I am driving a car which can kill you. Please be cognizant of that -- I really don't want to kill you despite your spandex and toned legs.
    Who is the obnoxious one here?

  12. #12
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    Was my post obnoxious? Yep. Pretty much. But you know what's more obnoxious? WHEN I OR MY DOG ARE ROUTINELY NEARLY RUN INTO BY A BIKE! Or when I nearly run into bike riders!

    I do get "On Your Left" a lot. And that's appreciated (and when I hear it in time I walk off to the side of the trail) but it's of no help when it's said to me when someone is a few feet behind me and zipping around on a really narrow trail and when it's in a curve. If you're coming by on a bike and you see someone on the trail, give that warning and just slow down a bit! That's all I'm asking for! I do my absolute best to slow down when I drive past and it calls for it. Whenever I park on a street, I always check to make sure I don't door someone -- my friends who bike have gotten clipped before and I know how much that sucks.

    Be a bit cognizant of others on the trails and the road! The trails do not belong to you! Save the cyclocross for another time if you see people on the trails.

    It's just common respect. I know your x-treme training is important to you but not getting clipped by the handles of a bike or having to pay a vet bill because my dog got her face whacked by a rear tire is also important to me.

    As far as your clothing goes -- wear whatever you want. But I maintain the right to make fun of your dumb form-fitting aerodynamic neon.

  13. #13
    Panniculus is offline Banned
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    I wear those tight bike shorts, and I don't even own a bike.

  14. #14
    EJW
    EJW is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panniculus View Post
    I wear those tight bike shorts, and I don't even own a bike.
    I like the cut of your gib.

    As for trail riding in Wiss... I slow down immediately at the site of hikers and then give a "coming up on your left" or something to that effect. That said, I realize not all mt. bikers do the same.

    As for trail destruction, its part of the use of trails. Hikers, horses, etc. also damage them.

  15. #15
    PhillyTex is offline Senior Member
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    It would help to know which trail you were on. Different trails are designated for different uses, even though it's sometimes hard to find the blazes. There are some trails that are designated as MTB trails and if you are a hiker or runner and you're on one of those trails, the decent thing to do is be on alert for cyclists and step off the trail so they can safely pass.

    Having said that, there are plenty of cyclists who don't change their riding behavior when they are on multi-use paths, which is wrong. On those paths, no one is supposed to be going faster than about jogging pace.

  16. #16
    Politburo is offline Senior Member
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    Bikers may view those trails as "theirs", but they are open to all park users, afaik.

  17. #17
    Panniculus is offline Banned
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    Every time I'm on the trail and hear" On your left!" I jump over to my left instinctually. Deal with it!

  18. #18
    RollinRox is offline Senior Member
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    All the trails are either multi-use (bike/hike/horse), hiking only, or hike/horse only. There are no MTB only trails in the wiss.

  19. #19
    PhillyTex is offline Senior Member
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    I thought Demo 1 was mountain bike only. Didn't PMBA make it in collaboration with FOW?

  20. #20
    OffenseTaken is offline Junior Dilettante
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    Quote Originally Posted by philly57 View Post
    My one peeve w/ bikers is when they cherry pick laws to obey. Most notably, they never dare bike on the sidewalk, even in neighborhoods where the sidewalks are relatively empty and there isn't a bike lane (Umbria St for example!) but then cruise through red lights.
    Unlike everyone else, who either breaks the law or follows the law 100.0% of the time. Sure.

    I don't usually do it myself, but the idea behind going through red lights is to avoid collisions with motorists that blow right through the intersection if they see the light turning green from half a block away, and not see people on bikes in right in front of them. If you don't like having bicycles in front of your car, you should appreciate them getting out of your way in these cases.

 

 

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