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Fulton
04-30-2011, 02:15 PM
The springtime surge in tourists brings to the fore, yet again, the fact that most pedestrians don't know how to share with us, communicate with us, or respect us. The pedestrians probably think the same of us.

Has anyone done research into options for improving cyclist-pedestrian interaction in DC? (The DC Government seems to be getting smarter about these things, but the Park Service seems slow.)

-- Many of the paths around the monuments are, by necessity, dual-use (shared by peds and us), but there are no signs warning peds of that fact. Such signs seem to help on the Crescent Trail. Have they been explored in DC?

-- Most peds seem to appreciate the required "audible warning" -- a bell or "on your left" -- but some deeply resent it because they think the entire path is their own and the bell is ordering them to move. Tourists seem oblivious and pose a real danger. Has anyone explored the value of trying to clarify bell usage?

-- Most peds don't think twice about walking right in front of cyclists -- something they'd never do to a car. Is there research on what we cyclists can do to earn or demand a little more respect?

I don't know the numbers, but a quick look around town suggests that the number of riders is surging. This is the right time to redouble our thinking, if we haven't already, about how we can improve the rules of the road and related communications between riders and pedestrians -- with signs, signals, sounds, whatever we've got.

--Fulton

DCLiz
05-01-2011, 08:24 AM
I don't have any solutions, but I don't think it's just tourists. On my very first bike commute Friday, the evening ride home was harrowing due to pedestrians. I had one man (I am assuming a downtown business man) look right at me -- or so I thought -- and then proceed to begin stepping right in front of me. Apparently, he had just been checking for cars before attempting to jaywalk across the middle of the block, and my bike didn't register at all.

Not sure what the appropriate response would be, but mine was a fairly panicked "HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!," which worked, since he did stop a moment before walking right into me.

I also found that pedestrians just wander cluelessly into the 15th St bike lanes, particularly when they are valet-parking their car at one of the restaurants. The valet stop is outside the bike lane, obviously, but the pedestrian must cross through the bike lane to get to the sidewalk. I guess the best thing to do in this situation is stop and yield to the people getting out of the car?

Dirt
05-02-2011, 08:40 AM
In general, I've found being playful, happy, silly and very vocal helps. Don't get angry or upset because that doesn't really help anything. Be cautious and expect people to freak out and behave weirdly. Take it all in stride. Tourists are part of the fun and texture that makes up DC.

DaveK
05-02-2011, 09:19 AM
In general, I've found being playful, happy, silly and very vocal helps. Don't get angry or upset because that doesn't really help anything. Be cautious and expect people to freak out and behave weirdly. Take it all in stride. Tourists are part of the fun and texture that makes up DC.

Agreed. My commute involves crossing either 14th St bridge or (usually) Memorial bridge and with the weather like it has been, it's just going to be crowded with tourists. Slow down and enjoy the ride since there really isn't anything to do about it. I try to ride off crowded trails wherever possible to minimize the conflicts.

Dirt
05-02-2011, 10:19 AM
Best advice I can give is to learn all the words to the song "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" and sing them REALLY loud and out of tune. Come to think of it, getting the words really wrong is even better. Best yet is to replace 30% of the words with "La la la".

Make sure you've got your fingers on the brakes and that you're ready to change directions quickly and you're perfectly prepared for dealing with tourist season.

Cool thing is when you encounter Aussie tourists, they'll join in on the chorus. ;)

PrintError
05-02-2011, 01:12 PM
When I come across pedestrians, I yell out things like "PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH!" Most of the time - since they aren't listening anyway - they just move over to the right and wave.

Once in a while, they hear me. I enjoy making people smile.

Dirt
05-02-2011, 02:22 PM
As a few of you who have ridden with me can attest, I tend to yell "We're all gonna die!" when crossing Lynn Street in Rosslyn. It seems more true there than most places in the DC area. I think I scared a few people during this morning's commute. It was particularly appropriate though. I love and respect all mankind... even those drinking coffee, smoking, talking on the phone and running red lights at the same time.