Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
Should pedestrians walk on the same side & same direction of a shared path as cyclists ride or should they walk against the cyclist flow?
All shared paths I have used state that both pedestrians & cyclists are to keep left. Common sense would suggest that this is not safe practice. I was taught that when walking on a road you should face traffic so that should the driver not see you, you have a chance of â€˜jumpingâ€™ out of harms way.
Not sure what the legality of not following this is but when I walk on shared paths I walk against the bike flow. I know it causes the blood pressure to increase for some cyclists but I feel much safer.
When riding a bike I would feel much safer knowing that dark dressed pedestrians on dimly lit, wet paths have an opportunity to get out of the way of me rather than having a rear end crash. Pedestrians often roam all over the left hand side of the path &/or stick their arms out or have dogs on a leash.
Am I missing something on the safety issues here or are the people who make these rules not looking out for our best interests?
In an ideal world and cycling utopia we'd have two paths, one for cyclists AND pedestrians, who want to dawdle along, smell the flowers etc, limited to about 10-15km/ph with absolute liability on the cyclists part.
Then we'd have the 'For serious commuting cycling', where you'd expect speeds of 20+, anywhere up to 45.
While legally you should be walking in the direction of traffic I can completely understand why you walk the opposite direction, there are so many !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! cyclists out there who are hell bent on getting past pedestrians etc. I had an incident recently where a cyclist had to go into the dirt to get past me...I was walking and my woolworths bag broke (mmm, chocolate cake...bribe for someone else), in an attempt to grab it (which I did) before it hit the ground I had to duck onto the right hand side of the path...now, if the dropkick had been going walking pace and then sped up after he went past he wouldn't of had to go into the dirt.
I don't get it, so many cyclists complain about being buzzed by cars yet they are happy to do it to pedestrians
NYE's last night, I was on the footpath (too many UIL's on the road). I switched off front/rear lights and was riding AT walking pace, 3-4km/ph etc. Still had people try to get off the path to let me through, had to tell them repeatedly the footpath was for foot traffic tonight and not to worry about me. As soon as I would of gone past them I would of had to battle the other 50+ others on the path ahead. It was worth either risking the road or just going with the flow.
Let's try an alternate scenario: you're on the road, walking along and your bag breaks. In order to catch it before it hits the ground, you have to duck into the right hand side of the road just as a car is passing you. He hits you. You are in hospital on life support in a vegetative state for the rest of your life.
Who is in the wrong?
On the road, the same rules apply as the bike path: if a pedestrian is already in the road, they have right of way.
However, in this instance you are probably in the wrong, as it is an offence to move into the path of a vehicle as you have done. You would probably get some small percentage of contributory negligence awarded in your favour against the motorist, but your family will wear the brunt of the cost of your care. My expectation is the same will apply in a bike path, and (unlike most peds, I agree) I treat walking on a bike path with the same degree of caution as walking on the road.
I would be grateful the cyclist was willing to risk a crash to avoid you.
When all else fails, persistence prevails -- Lew Hollander
Sorry, I should of mentioned, if I was walking on a roadway and the bag split, my first reaction would be to walk immediately OFF the road as far as possible to assess the situation.
The 'path' I was on where my bag broke was in fact a footpath, not a bicycle path, not a designated shared path. A footpath, which, ironically, was slightly downhill at the time and used by various people, especially oldies and young kids. The amount of bicycle traffic along here is very few and far between, maybe 5 if that in a whole day.
Oxford. Not sure what you are conveying here. Your first sentence seems to suggest you agree with me in that walkers should face cyclists yet you then go onto say people should follow the rules which is not to face the traffic.
My original statement was not whether we should/should not follow rules but whether the rule in this case is in the best safety interests of users of shared paths.
In most states if not all that have adopted the National Road Code you will find that pedestrians on dual use paths have the right of way and can work on the left or right as they see fit. YOU as the cyclist has to give way/be prepared to stop etc.
A review of your State's Road Code should clarify matters for you. To illustrate the point, Section 216 from the WA Road Code is the relevant section:
I understand that, but they still have differences between footpaths and 'shared' paths in qld...it's screwed up, it really is, but my beef is the fact that he should of slowed right down near a pedestrian...it's not too hard, I do it all the time
Best they dont face you - otherwise confusion will happen!
you're coming up to a pedestrian & are on track to eventually collide...
they go to move left... and so do you...
then they move right... and so do you...
left again... and you as well...
it happens every now & then when you walk through the city!
Best they have their back to you & walk in a predictable straight line
As noted above with cars & walking head on - there's a huge difference in speeds & energy, thus risks are higher & a different approach is required, i.e. awareness of the situation by both parties.
I'd also like to mention under TORUM in qld a pedestrian on a roadway where no footpath is provided or a reasonably safe area to walk that is forced to walk on the roadway MUST walk opposite (face on) to traffic.
What is the difference between pedestrians on a road to pedestrians on a bike path? Why is it safer for walkers to face wheeled traffic on a road but not to face wheeled traffic on a bike path?
Granted, the resultant injuries on a road are potentially greater but the principals are the same. The idea is to avoid accidents not just avoid deaths.
Pedestrians can change direction in a perpendicular manner in one step, wheeled vehicles canâ€™t do that.
On a dark & wet night a cyclists may not see walkers until it too late to avoid a collision but chances are that if a walker was facing the cyclist he would move out of the bikes way.
As i noted above...
Car vs Ped - only the ped can change direction
Bike vs Ped - both can change direction
too confusing with Peds walking oncoming as both will instinctively move to avoid collision
The is not true. When I am driving & I see someone walking on the road facing me & on the same side I move to the right to go around. Surely you are not suggesting that you make no effort to go around the person?
That may well be true, however the idea is to make it safer for everyone. You will never stop people speeding or not taking appropriate care so things should be changed to cater for these people who don't take care.
As well as the reasons Nate mentioned - the speed differential is higher on the road (to the point where the pedestrian may as well be stationary) while on a shared path might be 30, 40 or 50% that of the cyclist. This means that walking toward oncoming traffic increases the closing speed and reduces reaction times. It's also a different situation because any cyclist on a shared path should be riding to the conditions and expecting to encounter and avoid pedestrians. While this applies equally to drivers, relatively few roads that would ever have pedestrian traffic don't have a footpath - so for drivers encountering a pedestrian walking along a roadway is unusual. For a cyclist on a shared path avoiding a pedestrian is much, much easier if they walk on the left and in a straight line - almost every time I've encountered pedestrians walking toward me on the right they've done exactly as Nate described.
If you are walking facing traffic you increase closing speed.... which is also dangerous. I think the facing traffic rule applies to country roads or other roads where there is no footpath to walk on. It does not apply in urban areas or on shared paths.
Also in the scenario that its dark and rainy, cyclists should slow down (and I just ordered some Ayups so I can see better), and if peds are aware of the conditions maybe they should have some blinkies? especially people walking dogs... if i walk on the psp with my black dog, I put a blinkie on her collar and it helps!
In closing, some people are a**hats.... some drive cars, some ride bikes and some are pedestrians.... it's just the way it is!
Xtracycle, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Giant TCR, 9:zero:7
change of direction for a pedestrian is much higher than that of a car...
a car wont change that much compared to a pedestrian - so its primarily the ped that moves & if the car is about to hit the ped they're not paying attention & going to move
As with most topics, here, this has been covered before.
I am with you all the way here Oxford, and as I have pointed out previously.
Often, when not riding, I walk on shared paths, in this manner, and have never had
any problems with cyclists I have encountered. Just makes sense, TOO Much sense.
Just my 2cents worth
Lone Rider- I rode on the long, dark road... before I danced under the lights.
I just walk on the left with the traffic, unless it's on a road shoulder, then its on the right into incoming traffic.
Why? Cos I know I, and most cyclists with an ounce of common sense ride on the left (and slow down on paths). If that's the case, then oncoming bikes aren't a problem (and in someone's previous example, if you drop something, it's not oncoming traffic's duty to avoid you, it's yours for causing an obstruction, albeit accidentally), and I just ignore bikes coming up behind, since even the most idiotic of bike path speed maniacs should be able to avoid a person walking in a straight line in their way.
Sure, every now and then you get the idiot dinging the bell furiously from behind you, or screaming at you to move out. I take those with a pinch of salt, I move off the path ONLY IF I CAN, but else 99.999% of times they'll swerve past at the last moment (and I say it's good karma if that causes them to spill ), and sometimes fire off some choice words back at them.
Again, he was coming up from BEHIND me...irony? If I didn't pick up or snatch for what I was about to drop...he would of hit it and gone arse up anyway!
That's far too optimistic. On Anzac Br shared path, it's easy to hit 40-50km/h on the down section and pedestrians will be walking at 4-6km/h unless they pick up a jog. Even at 30km/h for the cyclist, the speed differential is easily 5:1.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Maybe we need it done like this
However our shared use paths are rarely built anywhere like wide enough. In Melbourne many of our shared use paths have pretty clear symbols indicating what is good practice (what most cyclists expect)
(US picture, reverse it for what Melb has)
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
This is the dumbest thing I've ever read on this subject and had I not been able to halt altogether, I would have been bumped clear onto the western distributor by a walker like you.
Bicycles approach from both directions, if you face the traffic, the bicycle riders WILL expect you to get OUT of their lane (as they are obliged to keep left legally), and when you do, you will simply step into the path of another bicycle coming from behind - it doesn't matter which lane you stand in, there will be bicycles coming from behind. Facing traffic works for pedestrians on the road, because the expectation is the pedestrian will vacate the roadway altogether on approach of oncoming traffic -which is commonly impossible on shared paths, because they have fences / bridge abutments / roads other obstacles on both sides. The only place you can go is into the other lane. It doesn't work.
Have you given any thought to what you just posted?
As a cyclist you must pull out to overtake a pedestrian that is in the same lane as you whether that pedestrian is walking towards you or in the same direction as you. The pedestrian should never have to change lanes, if passing the pedestrian is not a safe option then you must give way even if that means coming to a complete stop.
It will take the same amount of space to pass them whether they are facing you or have their back to you.
When I am a pedestrian I feel much safer walking on the left where I can see oncoming cyclists.
When I am a cyclist it doesn't bother me which side pedestrians use.
Too old to live, too slow to die.
Problem is, without proper rule, people will walk, run, scoot, ride on both sides and take up the whole lane causing confusion and frontal collisions. Everyone keep left (or right) is a rule that clearly makes both safety and efficiency sense. Really don't see the point of further discussions.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
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