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Thread: Bikers passing pedestrians on paved trails

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    Default Bikers passing pedestrians on paved trails

    I don't live in the area but visit family who do frequently. Many times this spring I have been on the Sligo Trail. I have noticed only 7 bikers calling out their passes. Bikers who do not call out their passes whizzing close by me are too numerous. I am not used to bikers not calling out. Is this a DC area norm? Sligo Trail is too narrow to be speeding by. Is there any educating bikers to sensible courteous trail usage?

    One biker gave me the finger when I called out "hey". Boy did he change his tune when I and my daughter's pit bull caught up to him at Colesville Rd. red light.

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    Cyclists not calling passes around pedestrians is not cool. Neither is threatening people with a pit bull, though.

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    You need to be seriously careful threatening people with a dog. That's dangerous, not cool, and a great way to get that poor dog taken away and put down if not worse. Most localities around here give people alot of latitude to protect themselves from threatening dogs, including by shooting them. This year more than one dog in the DC region has been shot and killed for threatening other trail users. You really need to seriously think twice before putting that poor dog at risk just because you felt someone was rude to you.

    Calling your passes is also not cool, and giving someone the finger is rude, but not nearly as uncool as physically threatening another human being with a potentially dangerous animal. If you feel offended, instead of reacting poorly and putting yourself and an animal at risk, just shout out "hey call your pass!". Sure, it may not work, but honestly, I think calling your pass in most areas is a manners issue, not a legal issue, so not something much can be done about.

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    Default Bikers passing pedestrians on paved trails

    I did not threaten I just stood next to him with my very friendly pit bull sniffing him.

    Why would you ASSUME I threatened him!!!

    I want to hear from Sligo bikers about the problems with bikers not calling out.
    Last edited by AT_Hiker59; 06-07-2017 at 08:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AT_Hiker59 View Post
    I don't live in the area but visit family who do frequently. Many times this spring I have been on the Sligo Trail. I have noticed only 7 bikers calling out their passes. Bikers who do not call out their passes whizzing close by me are too numerous. I am not used to bikers not calling out. Is this a DC area norm? Sligo Trail is too narrow to be speeding by. Is there any educating bikers to sensible courteous trail usage?

    One biker gave me the finger when I called out "hey". Boy did he change his tune when I and my daughter's pit bull caught up to him at Colesville Rd. red light.
    Having ridden a bike in this area for nearly 30 years, it's my observation that cyclists used to call their passes about 70-80% of the time and now it's only about 40-50%. I think it's the explosion in the popularity of cycling and noobs who either don't know or don't care about calling passes, along with some who are just too cool to do it (including more than a few kitted-out roadies flying by).

    I don't mind if the call wasn't really necessary, but when someone passes me and I really could have used the warning, my response is often "on my left!"

    (I didn't read your comment as you threatening someone with the dog, but I see how others could.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AT_Hiker59 View Post
    Why would you ASSUME I threatened him!!!
    Because that's what this...

    Quote Originally Posted by AT_Hiker59 View Post
    Boy did he change his tune when I and my daughter's pit bull caught up to him
    ...sounds like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AT_Hiker59 View Post
    Why would you ASSUME I threatened him!!!
    Thanks for highlighting that.
    Before I read the little-too-quick-to-judge responses, I had a funny picture of said cyclist with an embarrassed, wimpy thought bubble as he saw you standing next to him at the intersection.

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    The discussions of to-call-or-not-to-call are frequent in DC cycling circles. To sum up, most on this forum call most of the time on trails. Outside of this forum, lots of people don't call passes, or only call when passing kids, or only call when passing pedestrians (not other bikes). Some just never learned to call passes. Some have very legitimate reasons that they've decided not to call. Things that pop to mind:
    • Some pedestrians actually turn to see what the noise was, increasing the risk of collision.
    • Some pedestrians will yell at cyclists who do call passes.
    • The trails are so popular, if you call every pass, you end up calling for the whole ride (true story - this is my ride in Rosslyn - I just sing good morning songs from my kids' preschool as I ride).


    Until and unless there are clear signs indicating what people should do, I doubt you're going to see much improvement in this area, from pedestrians or cyclists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I just sing good morning songs from my kids' preschool as I ride
    I'm going to have to start taking a Rosslyn detour to experience this!
    Sure beats the tinkerbell symphony, that half the time I have no idea where it's coming from on a crowded trail-- Is that in front of me? behind me? Are you cueing behind me and warning the jogger than I'm also just about to pass? Are you a strava&*^&^% who is going to try to pass me and the jogger at the same time with oncoming traffic?

    I lived in Portland in the mid-2000s and I rarely experienced anyone calling passes. Seemed a bit odd, coming from the alert-obsessed DC, but you get used to it and it was no big deal. But then Portland doesn't have the commuter trails like DC (so much for biking mecca).

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    The discussions of to-call-or-not-to-call are frequent in DC cycling circles. To sum up, most on this forum call most of the time on trails. Outside of this forum, lots of people don't call passes, or only call when passing kids, or only call when passing pedestrians (not other bikes). Some just never learned to call passes. Some have very legitimate reasons that they've decided not to call. Things that pop to mind:
    • Some pedestrians actually turn to see what the noise was, increasing the risk of collision.
    • Some pedestrians will yell at cyclists who do call passes.
    • The trails are so popular, if you call every pass, you end up calling for the whole ride (true story - this is my ride in Rosslyn - I just sing good morning songs from my kids' preschool as I ride).


    Until and unless there are clear signs indicating what people should do, I doubt you're going to see much improvement in this area, from pedestrians or cyclists.
    You are still better off calling out your passes most of the time.

    First bullet point - that is why the cyclist needs to slow down. I called out "on your left" once to a jogger, and she jumped to her left and in front of me.
    Second bullet point - response should be "F.U. too."
    Third bullet point - that's why I got a bell.

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