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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Renton, Wa
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    432

    2 cyclists pulled over by police on Cedar River Trail.

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    Well, it would seem that they are now enforcing that stupid speed limit ordinance on the Cedar River Trail. Another overreaction to one bad incident that wasn't even due to the speed of the cyclists (or the cyclists at all for that matter), and a rule that was probably made by someone who hasn't been on a bike since they were 9. I mean really, I coast at about 12 MPH on that trail without even trying.

    Anyways, what happened was I was out walking my dog on the Cedar River Trail this morning and saw two cyclists get pulled over by a motorcycle cop that was parked on one of the "on ramps" to the trail about half way between the community center and that first light at the golf course. The cyclists were probably going between 18-22 MPH if I had to guess and received a ticket for speeding since the speed limit is 10 MPH there.

    I hope they don't start enforcing this farther down the trail where it's pretty much desolate except for cyclists, or I'll have to find somewhere else to ride. Which is sad because a big perk to living where I do is having access to this trail.

    So, I thought I'd give you all a heads up so you hopefully don't get a ticket. The Maple Valley Highway runs along the Cedar River Trail, so you could always start riding on that. I think that might be my preferred route now at least for that first part.

    Also, for the ladies doing the Burly Girl for the Cycle the Wave ride tomorrow, be careful! Slow down at least for that part... Although, they can't give us all tickets can they?

    -Jessica
    "Namaste, B*tches!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
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    8,769
    Is this a multi-use trail?
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Renton, Wa
    Posts
    432
    Yes.
    "Namaste, B*tches!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Limbo
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    8,769
    Obey the rules.
    If you want to ride that fast, find a road.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    138
    The woman who was hit & died was a friend of a friend. From what I hear, she was a wonderful person, who lived a good life & served others. I'll gladly slow to 10 mph through that area as a tribute to her. And on the MUP's, I get just as annoyed with the people who go 20mph as I do with the people who don't keep an eye on their kids or dogs. Riding on Maple Valley Highway isn't very appealing either, but can be the safest option when the trail is busy.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Renton, Wa
    Posts
    432
    Speed isn't what hurts people, it's people not announcing themselves, or not giving enough space when passing other people, and people who don't understand what "on your left" means. Basically a lack of communication. I often slow down while passing people as a personal preference just to make sure they're not going to freak out. But, I think it's ridiculous to make people go as slow as 10 MPH on an open trail. I'm going to go the speed I'm comfortable with and have fun with, and that helps me with my cycling goals. What harm is it to a person if someone passes at 20 MPH but they let you know they're coming and they give you enough space? And who makes up the arbitrary number of 10MPH and decides that that speed is "safe" ?

    -Jessica
    "Namaste, B*tches!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,545
    I disagree in the strongest possible terms. I have seen numerous accidents caused by speed on a multi-use trail.

    To assume that everyone knows -- or should know -- what "on your left" means is unrealistic. What if they are hard of hearing or don't speak English? What if they haven't used a trail like that before? What if they are six years old and using training wheels?

    Twenty mph in an area that's even slightly crowded is way too fast.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,364
    I have to agree with X - it was an overreaction and 10mph is a bit ridiculously slow and renders the trail useless to commuters, who will now be forced out onto a busy highway. Can you imagine if every time a cyclist or a pedestrian was hit and killed on the road if the city dropped the speed limit on that road to 10 mph.... like that would ever happen

    This was a pretty freak accident. It probably was not due to speed, but as X said more to communication and the fact that the woman was a fairly fragile elder. The cyclist was an older man too and was also hospitalized with a head injury, so this was not a case of some racer boy running down an old lady.... It is tragic that she died. I would not want to downplay that at all, but I also think that its been misconstrued as some crazy reckless cyclist blasting down the trail and from all accounts that was just not the case. Heck, he may have not even been going faster than 10 at the time, as the trail was crowded... It wasn't the direct impact with the cyclist that caused the injury - it was the fall to the ground and even a small bump could have caused that.

    Yes - in areas of congestion it makes complete sense to slow down - even under 10 mph if need be, but to limit the whole trail to 10 is a bit ridiculous.
    Last edited by Eden; 09-18-2010 at 08:56 PM.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Renton, Wa
    Posts
    432
    That's exactly the problem Eden. In the particular situation that this speed limit change is in response to, the cyclists announced themselves, began to pass the lady on the left and she made a mistake, panicked and accidentally ran to the left instead of the right and into the cyclists. It was an accident, but the cyclists did the correct thing and speed was never mentioned as an issue. But the backlash of the incident has been the cyclists being portrayed in the way that you said. It is I'm sure very sad for the family and friends who lost their loved one. However, the response would not have stopped this accident from happening - instead I feel that it is the city's way of telling the community "we're doing something about the "problem." When they're really not. It's a lot easier to enforce a speed limit than it is to make sure people are staying to the right except when passing, passing only on the left, announcing themselves, being aware of their surroundings and the people around them. So, unfortunately the cyclists are being punished. And like one of the articles printed at the time of this incident said, this is the only major accident that has happened on this trail since it was paved, which is pretty impressive considering I hear about Burke-Gilman incidents all the time.

    Also, I must say that even if not everyone knows what "on your left" means, I would hope that when they hear someone's voice coming from behind them, they would look before changing their direction. If someone says on your left, all you have to do is nothing really, just stay right where you are, unless you're blocking the whole trail and someone can't pass. If the person is hard of hearing, I would hope they would look around before changing their direction as well, especially in an area that's full of all sorts of different people - people pushing strollers, walking dogs, skateboarding, riding bikes, rollerblading, running, etc. I don't think it's asking too much to expect people to be aware of their surroundings, and responsible for themselves on the trails. It's not right to punish everyone for a few people's failures. There are signs up on the trail listing the rules of passing people, etc. But it probably wouldn't hurt to have more education around this I'm sure, and honestly I think it would be more effective for the city of Renton to spend their time on this instead of the speed limit.
    Last edited by XMcShiftersonX; 09-18-2010 at 10:01 PM.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    california
    Posts
    290
    i always go very slow when passing people on multi use trails and when i say "on your left" more often than not people move to the left and sometimes when i am walking on multi use trails and someone says "on your left" my first instinct is to move to my left.

    never ridden a bike outside of California no idea what the trail is like that is being talked about but going slow on a multi use trail seems wise to me.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    4,364
    I don't think anyone would disagree that going slow on a MUP when there are others around is a bad idea - but limiting the entire length of the trail to 10mph is nonsensical - especially as the further one gets from the parks the fewer and fewer other people you see period, much less other people who are not also riding bicycles.

    Expecting people to slow down near the parks and other highly used areas is not unreasonable. Forcing cyclists to crawl along the entire 17 miles - not so reasonable - especially when the city also supposedly espouses views like this .....supports a city where residents and visitors can enjoy recreation and exercise contributing to a healthy lifestyle, and where commuting by bicycle using an integrated trails/road network, becomes a realistic transportation alternative. C'mon.... if you actually used this trail to commute and went the length of it, it would take almost 2 hours... that certainly doesn't sound like a realistic transportation option to me.

    A cyclist was killed in Renton not too long before this - maybe 6 months or so. No one suggested that the street should be closed to cars or that the speed limit might be too fast on it. (of course not, they just blamed the cyclist as usual - even though, if I'm remembering properly, the car ran a light or a stop sign....)
    Last edited by Eden; 09-18-2010 at 11:15 PM.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,737
    Our multi-use greenway trail is essentially a wide, flat gravel road along the river. The speed limit is 10km per hour. That's only 6 mph. I can hardly stay upright on my bike at that speed. NOBODY goes that speed, not even the people riding slowly. I ride faster and take great care by slowing down when I'm near pedestrians etc.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,501
    What I said before ... it's got little to do with absolute speed, and everything to do with relative speed among road/trail users.

    10 mph is TRIPLE the average human walking speed, and FIVE TIMES what children and mobility-impaired adults - the kind of people you're likely to find on a MUP - are likely to be doing.

    Just as there's nothing inherently unsafe about driving your car at 120 on an empty piece of straight, flat four-lane out west where there's not another car for 100 miles, there's nothing inherently unsafe about riding your bike at 20 on a MUP. The trouble comes when there's other traffic.

    Sure it burns me if I get a ticket for speeding in my car or bike when it was obviously safe to do so. But I eat it, because them's the rules and they got me fair and square. It would burn me if I got a speeding ticket on the bici when it was obviously safe to do so, too. One thing missing from the OP is whether or not there was any other traffic. Another thing missing from the discussion is that the cyclists in question were ticketed for doing TWICE the limit and a speed that IMO should just not happen on a MUP.

    This goes back to the discussions about the penalties when automobile drivers kill bicyclists, too. I've been thinking a lot about that and the position that a few here - and most automobile drivers - take, that it's "just an accident." Actually, I tend to agree ... if people are doing stuff in/on their vehicles 24/7 that makes it just a matter of LUCK that they don't kill someone, then when they DO kill someone, well, it WAS just a matter of luck, and that's why so many people think they shouldn't be punished for it. The problem happens way before that, when they decide to take their chances with other people's lives.

    They ... WE ... should be punished severely when we take chances with other people's lives. Not only when other people lose the bet that they didn't know they were making with us.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,364
    Sorry Oak - I don't agree at all about auto "accidents"

    Yes indeed there can be true accidents in an automobile. A child can dart out into the road suddenly, someone dressed all in black can be crossing the street in the dead of night, a road can be unexpectedly slippery, but I believe more collisions are caused by aggressive and neglectful driving than are really and truly accidents.

    The plain fact is that when you get behind the wheel you need to recognize that you are stepping into an inherently dangerous machine. If you are not prepared to take that responsibility and take *extra* measures to ensure the safety of others, by not driving distracted/drunk/sleepy, not using excessive speed, not being aggressive, by focusing solely on the task at hand, which is driving safely, you shouldn't be driving.

    A bicycle is not the same. It is not a machine that kills tens of thousands of people every year. Even an aggressive or neglectful cyclist is unlikely to kill anyone. Fatal cyclist/pedestrian accidents are quite rare - you could probably count on your fingers the numbers that have happened in the last 10 years.... While it still isn't acceptable to ride this way, its just not the same...
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
    Posts
    2,600
    The plain fact is that when you get behind the wheel you need to recognize that you are stepping into an inherently dangerous machine. If you are not prepared to take that responsibility and take *extra* measures to ensure the safety of others, by not driving distracted/drunk/sleepy, not using excessive speed, not being aggressive, by focusing solely on the task at hand, which is driving safely, you shouldn't be driving.
    The other aspect people fail to realize that THERE IS A CONSEQUENCE when you "buzz" a pedestrian walking on the edge of sidewalk or bicyclist riding on the road. Trying to teach a cyclist a lesson does lead to serious injury for the cyclist. "I didn't mean to hit the cyclist" is a very poor excuse.

    Now for the matter of discussion:

    As a matter of being a manager, not only are you worried about getting the widgets out on time, if you are in manufacturing, you also think about liability mitigation. Can I deliver per contract. Is the product safe? For a city manager, he not only has to worry, is the city maintained properly? Are the city services being fulfilled to expectation? Fire? Police? And one of his BIGGEST responsibility is mitigating any possible lawsuits: fix the uneven sidewalk so no one trips and gets hurt, fix that pot hole that may cause serious injury if a car went out of control because of it... Does the busy intersection need to be upgraded from a stop sign to a traffic light?

    City manager's hand is quite full, so like anyone else, goes for the easiest fix. It's also the cleanest thing to do when you get dragged into court. People have a "very difficult" time following the simplist of rules so it behooves the cities to make the rule as simple as possible. Not that it ever is. The 10MPH limit on the MUT being 3x the walking speed is in keeping with reasonable compromise. As for the entire 17 mile MUT, well it was the easy thing to do.

    Would someone fund a study to say when the MUT isn't so busy to allow cyclists to go faster at certain time of the day, day of the week? Almost all municipalities are severely in red and can't afford it. It's expedient, cheaper, and mitigating of potential lawsuit, so 17 mile MUT has a speed limit of 10MPH.

    It is about as simple as I can make it.

    I don't like it either. But I do have to share and live with everyone else who thinks otherwise.

 

 

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