Saturday, January 7


"Do as I Say, not as I do." We've all heard that at some time or other. Well, upon reflection, that definitely applies to my recent post. In it, in a video my kids refer to as "The Blair Witch Cycling Video," I pass an imaginary pedestrian by running off to the left of the path, rattling through the grass, and then returning on to the path. All in the dark. Well, reread the first sentence of this post. If you think about it, the previous post illustrates one reason why bike/ped paths are far more dangerous than most city streets, even if they are also more pleasant and less stressful for cyclists. It is called a DIVERSION FALL. Swinging off the grass back on to the path raises the risk your front wheel will catch on the edge of the path and suddenly dump you on to the concrete in an excellent test of your helmet's structural integrity. When I made that video, I picked a spot where I knew the edge of the path concrete wasn't much above the grass. Also, if you watch carefully, you will note that I run back on to the path at a fairly sharp angle, and then quickly swing left to avoid running off the other side of the path.

Anyway, the photo below illustrates a bit better how those path edges can be sneaky. Now imagine that edge in the dark. Even a strong headlight such as the Mighty P7 can't be counted on to reveal the danger. I feel fortunate that all the rubber rubbed off on the corner of that path came from wheels not belonging to me. So just do as I say. Please?

Oh, and I used BlogPress on an iPad to compose this post, adding a few items afterwards directly from the Blogspot post editor. BlogPress isn't good at adding post labels. Still, a post free from "real computers."


Big Oak said...

Steve, the Blogger app (free) for my iPhone doesn't permit intermingling text and photos. I think I might be able to label photos, but I'm not sure yet.

Anyway, the bike / walking trails around here are similar to yours in no. Texas. In addition, on warm days, like we've had lately have caused snowmelt to run across the trails and refreeze overnight. The black ice the next morning is the slipperiest ice in existence. Another reason why trails are not as good as streets and roads. They get plowed and sanded/salted on a regular basis.

Trails are great for encouraging people to get out, but they are not the answer for transportational cyclists as you say.

Steve A said...

Big Oak, the "Blair Cyclist" video was made on my way to work. I love trails as much as anyone and will use them even if they are poor, but they cannot get you all the way from "point to point." and we should not delude ourselves into believing they are hazard free. I think Big Oak would agree trails have their place, even for transportational cyclists, and I agree that place is not as big for transportaional cyclists as for people that lug bikes around on their cars. The last time one of my bikes rode in a car was when I picked it up from the bike shop after an overhaul.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Yeah, our path-sides look like that too. Also, many have gravel, cactus, gulleys, and canals right next to them which are even less fun to divert into. I find slowing down (sometimes way down) is a safer practice than diverting off the path.

Anonymous said...

I have to follow a carefully-angled route on rail trail I use for some commuting because the rails are still in place.

Use of a helmet light as well as a bike-mounted light gives you a light patch where the bike is aiming AND light where you are looking. For angled path entries and exits that means you cover the projected path as well as the actual current path of the bike.

Cafiend (using the shop computer)

Trevor said...

A lot of the cycle paths I encountered in France and Spain often had similar drop-offs. Some just dropped off straight into a four foot deep ditch...


Hugh said...

Cool video Steve. My favorite pedestrian on the bike trail is the roller blade`r. You know, the one who is on the wrong side and is wearing head-phones. lol

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