Walkers, not bikers, are the problem at Shoreline Park | August 10, 2007 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |


Mountain View Voice

Opinion - August 10, 2007

Walkers, not bikers, are the problem at Shoreline Park

by Steve Roselle

I take keyboard in hand to reply to reader Ellen Murray's concerns about bike riders at Shoreline Park ("Bikes a problem at Shoreline," Letters to the Editor, Aug. 3). As a 62-years-young commute bicyclist, I often return home to Mountain View by the circuitous scenic route to which reader Murray refers, and have a somewhat different perspective on the situation.

The natural beauty of the Baylands is distracting, and some inconsiderate bicyclists may also be part of the problem, but in my experience it is the inattention of walkers that most often causes a conflict. On my afternoon journeys I can expect several times to find the pathway obstructed by pedestrians walking side-by-side in a group of two, three, four or more spanning most, if not all, of the right-of-way. If they were to walk down El Camino Real in a similar manner, carnage would surely result.

Bicyclists can regularly travel at speeds of 12 to 24 miles per hour, while even a fast walker would be pressed to traverse 4 miles in an hour. Even though we bicyclists normally overtake walkers from behind at three to six times the walkers' velocity, we have walkers in sight for several minutes before the actual transit occurs and should slow down, move to the left (to trail center or even to the far left of the pathway) and announce our presence prior to passing.

Many times I find that tire noise, clicking my brake lever, and downshifting the gears is enough to alert the person(s) being approached. My bicycle bell and a hearty "On your left" may also be needed to draw the walkers out of their reverie. Additionally, I am prepared to stop if the situation warrants and often have, especially when young children are darting around. (Such is life.)

I am confident that I act as an aware and reasonable person while riding my bike in the presence of foot traffic. I would hope that other bikers would do likewise. Can Murray say the same when she admits to being surprised at a passing bicyclist?

Incidentally, the meridian to which Murray refers is not there to separate bikers from walkers, but to separate opposing traffic, as does the centerline of an automobile roadway.

I recommend the following cautions for any slower traffic, be it auto, bike, skateboarder or pedestrian: Stay to the right and be aware of your surroundings both ahead and behind. Passionate discussions, cell phones and iPods are distractions that may get one hurt. It normally takes two to cause an accident, but if one party is not aware of their surroundings, it then takes only one.

I follow these concepts when I walk on bike paths and also when I ride a bike in automobile traffic. If everyone would do likewise, city and park officials would not require beseeching to bring about additional rules and restrictions.

Steve Roselle lives on Barbara Avenue.


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Posted by Sheryl
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 16, 2007 at 4:44 pm

I find most pedestrians to be inconsiderate and oblivious, in general. This universal disregard is prevalent on bike trails, sidewalks, in parks.. just about anywhere there are pedestrians.
One of my biggest pet-peeves is people who just stop in the middle of a roadway, walkway, or path. I fear each time as I imagine they do the same while driving. Please, Please, be observant around you! Realize you (and your buddy) are not the only people in the world, nor the only ones using the path. Look behind you if you Must use the Entire width of the walkway -like cyclists must watch behind for cars and (are Supposed to) fall single-file as vehicles approach from behind. Move to the side if you must stop. Please, walk like you drive. Respect any people-moving path as a roadway.

I find it infuriating, and almost humorous that at Rengstorff Park, people on foot and on bikes stop to chat or watch a soccer game right in the middle of the jogging path. There is a huge grassy area between the pathway and the soccer field bounds. It is meant for stopping, parking, resting, observing, chatting, or the like. It looks more comfortable, too. But for some reason, people think they cannot touch the grass. Hello, That is what it is there for: hence the name Park! The walking/jogging path is a roadway, meant for travel. If you do momentarily pause and at least know that others Are moving along it, and kindly yield to them a right-of way passage.
Thank You!

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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Well, I often bike and rarely walk at Shoreline. I think that cyclists are a much bigger problem- many cyclists have this sense of entitlement that embarasses me- shouting "on your left" is seen as a favor. The previous poster ID's a lot of my peeves about pedestrians, though.

But the biggest offender? Rollerbladers. they think that the ENTIRE path belongs to them. Oblivious to the world around them.

I'd bet that 5 percent of pedestrians, 10 % of cyclists and at least half of bladers are oblivious to their fellow citizens

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Posted by MVresident X
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2007 at 7:05 pm

When my toddler slipped and fell on a path a Shoreline, we stopped to help her out and check her skin for cuts and bruises. At that moment, a bike rider came zooming along at high speed and yelled an obscenity at us for blocking the path. How about some better manners and a little less self-absorbed ME ME ME behavior at that park?

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Posted by Bernie Brightman
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Never mind the park, how about Castro Street? Why do bicyclists insist on using that busy street, and trying to navigate the sidewalk on it, no less? This is just asking for trouble -- we really ought to have a law.