Caveat Pedester


I don’t know what’s going on lately with the Class I Bike Path otherwise known as the L.A. River Bikeway, but I’m not liking it one bit. Riding it these last couple months I’ve seen an increase of lane-hogging pedestrians of all ages (several with dogs) that I’ve been forced to dodge and/or alert (if I can yell loud enough to penetrate their headphones) and generally try to tolerate while despising them for being inconsiderate both of their own safety as well as for the safety of those of us for whom the bikeway was built and designated.

I dunno. Is it just a seasonal thing? If so it wasn’t this bad last summer. Maybe the Grifffith Park fire in May not only displaced the wildlife that survived the inferno but also the walkers and joggers as well? They’re all over the river now, sometimes in packs. Couple/three weeks ago while rolling to a stop at the call box near the path’s upper entrance at Victory Boulevard there was some sort of running club of a dozen or so limbering up and getting all set to head south, and then yesterday along with this dude pictured above there was a pair of glacially paced barebacked (and hairy) widebody guys side-by-side northbound as I came off the bridge over Los Feliz who acted as if they owned the place. The bastards. Go walk on the freeway — and put a fucking shirt on.

To be fair, the majority of the bipeds I’ve encountered aren’t nearly as fuzzy and have been considerate or cautiously aware enough to keep as far to the right as possible, but for every 5 of them there’s the one idiot gal walking her unleashed pocketpooch along the center line without a care in the world until I have to slow down and call bullshit so she can scoop up her piece of shih tzu in terror of me or her own stupidity. It’s early yet but I’m telling you the increase in their numbers is enough to give me visions of the river path potentially becoming as unrideably clogged with noncyclists as the beach bike paths have long been.

28 thoughts on “Caveat Pedester”

  1. Inconsiderate boobs. Time to get the trusty laser cannon on the front of your bike and go for it. Seriously…are the entrances marked “Bike trail” or similar? The ped problem along the San Gabriel River Bike Path diminished when they started posting warnings bikes only. Of course it has a wide enough shoulder so a ped can walk safely along without blocking the bike path.

  2. I can’t hold it against the pictured guy. Bikes creep up rapidly behind – can’t expect runners to cram up against the guard rails.

    But I hate when groups of runners (or walkers) walk side by side blocking the path entirely, oblivious to the idea that faster moving people may want to pass at some point.

  3. Interesting use of the loaded verb “creep” in describing how us cyclists are all devil-stealth and shit. Personally given my volume and mass I creep on my bike the way a freight train would.

    But bully for you for seeing the jogger’s side. Personally he’s still a potential problem and while you can’t expect him to cram up against the sidelines I hope it’s not too unreasonable to suggest that he can be expected to go do his thing where its safer for all involved.

  4. “There really should be more of a pedestrian zone… kinda a flaw in the bikepath.”

    Lack of a pedestrian zone is not a flaw in the bike path. It’s a BIKE path.

  5. “can’t expect runners to cram up against the guard rails”? Uhh, David, it’s a dedicated BIKE path and is signed as such. Yes, I would have liked to have seen it built far wider for both bikes, pedestrians and runners, but seeing as there’s precious little turf that we cyclists can claim exclusively as our own, we gotta stand up for our rights here.

  6. I say take the surfer approach – let the peds know loudly and in the coarsest language possible who’s turf their on until they get the message. It’s really for their own safety.

    Would have been nice for them to install a pedestrian zone, though.

    This reminds me of one of my bike on bike issues – cyclists riding side by side, gabbing, at low speeds, blocking the road for both bikes and cars.

  7. Careful, marshall. Common sense not welcome here.

    “Lack of a pedestrian zone is not a flaw in the bike path. It’s a BIKE path.”

    I knew some moron would say that. Fuck you.
    It could easily have been built two feet wider and have plenty of space for walkers – two more feet on the right would clearly be enough, if properly striped and parked ‘ped only’ and ‘bike only’ every so often.

  8. Ben’s insulting Burns and his “fuck you” don’t strengthen his case in the slightest, nor do I think it would have been as easy as he believes it would have been to build the bikeway “two feet wider,” but I do agree it would’ve been nice had the path planners executed a design that had included space for walkers and joggers. Keep in mind however, that stretches of the beach bike path include a separate and parallel and specfically designated pedestrian path (that’s MUCH wider than two-feet) and anyone who’s pedaled there when the tide his high with people knows how often the walker/jogger/skaters don’t stay where they belong.

    And to David: As I said in my original post I’m forced to tolerate the pedestrians because to my knowledge there is no signage either at entry points or along the bikeway that states “bikes only.” But even if the restriction were in place (as it is on the beach bike path) it would be largely ignored and unenforced (as it is on the beach bike path).

  9. Though I wouldn’t recommend pulling a “U-lock” on pedestrians, I could see dumping a bomber of beer on their head…

  10. The intensity of vitriol on the original post as well as on the comments is scary. I’m an avid cyclist (both recreationally as well as commuting to work in West Hollywood), and while I agree it’s annoying to have runners and pedestrians and dogwalkers blocking “my” route, com’on, let’s be happy that they’re on their feet and not in their cars for godsakes.

    If there’s an “enemy” to bicyclists (and, really, if you’re that caught up in putting on the hate, you need therapy), it’s cars/autos/trucks. Any Angeleno who is walking or running? I am thankful.

    And even if you disagree with me, just on a practical note, why create further animosity toward cyclists by leveling this kind of negativity toward peds? I give a loud but friendly “bicycle coming up!” or “passing on your left!” as I roll up behind peds. 9 out of 10 times, it works fine.

    Jesus guys, are we cyclists so beaten down that we must hate anyone not riding a bicycle?

  11. Jeez Los Feliz Rider sorry if the intensity of my vitriol has damaged any delicate sensibilities. What I’d like to know is how the heck do you bunny hop to the conclusion that because I hold an opinion contra to yours that I’m beaten down and that I “hate anyone not riding a bicycle.” What I hate is behavior lacking consideration or responsibility by anyone not riding a bicycle.

    Indeed, five times out of six a curt announcement can work and I too share in your joy at the walkers and joggers being on their feet instead of in their cars, but sorry: I’m just not gonna sing the praises of those peds who choose to do impact my enjoyment and access — especially when they’re but a couple stones’ throws from all the walking and jogging they can eat with the largest urban park in the country.

  12. Whatever happened to bicycle bells?

    You know, those little thumb-operated tinkly bells you mount on the handlebars so you can warn pedestrians you’re approaching from the rear without irritating everyone in earshot with a loud horn?

    A bit of a digression, perhaps, but sometimes I think that half the problem with road rage, bike-path rage, and the general overall irritation that people experience in crowded urban areas is simply a lack of good communication and signalling protocols.

    What if, in addition to the standard blasting car horn, cars also came equipped with, say, something like a bicycle bell that one could use to get people to pay attention, but without the hostility of a horn?

    What if we had some sort of… I dunno, chime or musical tone that could be used to say “thank you”, or to say “Oops, I’m sorry”, or “Excuse me, could I get by here?”

    If the only way we can communicate is with loud horns or shouting, is it any wonder that people either get loudly hostile, or sit and fume in angry silence?

    We need better communications affordances.

  13. I completely agree, Losfelizrider. I too am an avid bicyclist and commute the river path most weekdays; I’ve noticed the increase in joggers and walkers, probably due to park closures, and it’s nothing but nice to see people out and exercising. Though I do find it amazing that people walk or cycle side by side, blocking both lanes, it’s such a tiny minority. And it’s so very easy to announce oneself and move on. I ride pretty fast, and having to slow down a couple times a week to ride around the ear-budded, 5 yr old or dog is a small thing to do in a big city where so much worse is happening. The multi-use status, even if only through practice, is not that big of a deal.

  14. Ok, just a couple more points:

    1. I’ve got a bell and I’m happy to use it (I can’t yell as loud as Will), but frankly a lot of the peds don’t seem to pay much attention anyway and the rest have Ipods filling their ears so they wouldn’t hear a freight train.

    2. I don’t ride my bike on the freeway (even when it’s moving at 5 mph) and the only time I’ll ride on the sidewalk is out of absolute necessity, and then very carefully. When I ride on the street I obey traffic laws (see CVC 21202)and try to treat cars and pedestrians with the courtesy and respect that I in turn would like to receive. Make of that what you like.

  15. I too have a bell on my bike and contradictory to the perception that I’m eager to mow down everything in my path I practice safe and respectful ringing as a first resort, starting about 100 yards behind whoever I’m coming up behind and then dinging at an increasing rate if the person I’m trying to alert remains oblivious to the sound until I’m about 20 yards back at which point I have to crank up my vocal capacities to 11.

    When the bell works, great. But what I love is when the peds finally realize the ringing they’re hearing isn’t in their head and then make a panicky kneejerk break to the left instead of the right. Good times. But as Beth says, “these are small things in a big city where so much worse is happening.” I’ll try to remember that next time. And fail.

  16. Your hatred for the pedestrian reminds me very much of my own hatred for the bikers that go along Olympic at 6:00. I honestly just want to run them over because there is obviously no room for them during rush hour. It’s hard enough to get home without them darting in front of me and slowing things down.

  17. Amanda, that’s just about the most whacked out parallel: Somehow my frustration with a recent influx of careless pedestrians on a bikeway reminds you of a hatred you have for cyclists on the street that’s strong enough for you to express an eagerness to inflict great bodily harm or death upon any who dares to slow you down further during rush hour? Get the net!

    The part that made me laugh the loudest was your assessment that there’s no room for bikes during rush hour. By all means put the cyclists in cars instead, that’ll get you home sooooo much quicker (or at least without committing premeditated murder).

  18. First, let me say this: I walk, I drive a car, I ride a bike, I take trains, heck, I even swim.

    But I have to ask: How did it happen that a person behind the wheel of a 3500 lb. vehicle consuming huge amounts of natural resources has just come to expect every else to just make way for them?

    I try to remind myself, no matter what my conveyance, “people are more important”.

  19. Oh chill the hell out. Most “bike paths”, including the shitty ones in LA, are designated as multi-use (i.e., pedestrian and bike). Not that I would expect you Angelinos to know this. Most of you lazy bastards who must travel a distance of a block or more choose to do so by automobile.

  20. If there’s no signage that states it’s a bike path only, then it’s not really the peds fault that they use it for jogging, etc. Maybe it really is a multi-use path. If you want to gripe, perhaps you should channel your hatred for peds into calling the city agency that handles signage for that area or complaining to your local city rep.

  21. Amanda does hit on a pertinent point: the attitude car drivers give to cyclists shouldn’t be the one cyclists give to peds, share the road already. I got shit once for riding my bike on an empty “horse trail” in S. Pasadena, its not like I was on a moto-bike going all crazy. Not that I gave a fuck anyways, a road is a road.

  22. I don’t get it, El Chavo. If I hop on my bike and ride down a sidewalk in L.A. in any type of manner deemed to impede or put pedestrians at risk and I can be given a ticket. But if a pedestrian does the same thing on a bikeway it’s totally OK in the eyes of the law and you’re demand is that I should just suck it up and get over it.

    The fact is I don’t treat peds the way Amanda treats cyclists. I share the bikeway and have no real with the majority of conscientious walkers and joggers I pass. But the ones that aren’t I’m not gonna hesitate to call bullshit.

  23. You know what – f**k that “bike path”. I use Riverside Drive! Is you are feeling wimpy, cut through Frogtown’s quiet streets.

    Let the pedestrians have the River Trail – it doesn’t connect to anything useful, it is scary at night, and bikes belong on the road.

    Give the peds a break! There aren’t many nice places to take a walk in L.A.!

  24. Ubrayj02’s point about bikes belonging on the road is something I wholeheartedly agree with, but I can only assume that he’s being completely serious and entirely without irony in pointing out there aren’t many nice places to walk in L.A. because all those sidewalks and shit are just bogus and that LARGEST FUCKING URBAN PARK IN THE USOFA next door to the bikeway is a total waste of footsteps.

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