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View Full Version : crazy hawthorne bridge passing


fetishridr
03-13-2007, 03:11 AM
to the man who threatened to force me into traffic this morning on the Hawthorne bridge, go sit on your thumb and spin. a warning saying "on your left" informs you that someeone is in your blindspot, so as not to cause a collision if YOU were to suddenly alter your course. i was not yelling at you to move over. if you felt uncomfortable, you could have moved over a couple of feet, closer to the rail.

for everyone else, the bridge is plenty wide enough to accomodate 3 people abreast, if not four. please dont take all of that space. people ride at different speeds, and since we ride on a sidewalk please be aware of this. check your blindspots every once in while too, it makes the ride safer and you wont get surprised by passing cyclists. its nice to ride as far to the right as possible, but if you are doing so, please dont assume that you can weave left without looking behind you, this is the same as changing lanes in a car, and another cyclist may be occupying that space, so just turn your head and look before you weave.
one more thing, if i see one more cyclist ride 5 mph over the entire bridge and THEN run the red light on 1st street, i'll go nuts. if you are late you should pedal harder, not give every law abiding cyclist a bad name by blowing the light.
thanks

nishiki
03-13-2007, 09:48 AM
"go sit on your thumb and spin"

I have not heard that one before, kinda funny.

Tbird
03-13-2007, 03:23 PM
So, was it another cyclist that threatened to " force you into traffic.."? Sad.
I know I have heard it regularly, "ON YER LEFT..." It is a bit unnerving when it's barked at you from behind, albeit the PDX preferred alert when passing.
Personally, I prefer the bell. Jing- Jing...
It sounds nice. I feel like a little kid when I ring it. The problem is most self absorbed types just stay the course and don't realize that it is a warning. I guess they like the sound too. In a lot of places of the world the bell is used liberally, and not with malice, just a reminder that someone is coming thru and you best look out.
I'd say if someone threatens you for an " ON YER LEFT..." chances are they felt intimidated. I'm sure there was no intent to harass. Some folks are just touchy, that sucks.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-14-2007, 08:17 AM
I've gotten a lot of looks from people after ringing my bell upon approaching them. Admittedly, I use it liberally. I thought that was a good thing.

donnambr
03-14-2007, 10:12 AM
Don't let any looks convince you the bell isn't a good idea. I'm sitting here with my mom who is visiting from Detroit. We have a little 3 speed for her to use while she is here (we have no car), she is a complete newbie to transportational bicycling, not an athlete in the least, and thus she is very, very slow. I am quickly becoming an expert in cyclists passing me at very high rates of speed. I think the bell is really the better of the 2. I have some hearing problems and believe me when I tell you that your bell can be heard clearer than your "bark", which does more for one's startle reflex than anything else.

As I was reading this thread, I asked my mom which alert she liked better. I thought the view of a slow, wobbly, "annoying" (according to so many pronouncements I have read on BikePortland), older lady would be interesting to know. Sure enough, she prefers the bell. Her reasoning? "That's more consistent to an alarm. The other can be alarming."

About high rates of speed: For those of you with no children (I assume the parents among us are already aware), I highly recommend the occasional slow bike ride. To do so offers a very different perspective on what it is like to ride a bike here in Portland. :rolleyes:

lynnef
03-14-2007, 02:46 PM
Last year on STP I performed a non-scientific survey. I was stoking a tandem, and well, there were many opportunities to either ring a bell or call out "on your left". The bell was preferred.

rubbish heap
03-14-2007, 07:58 PM
^ ^ ^ But that's a long road trek vs. a city commute. Big difference.

steelsreal
03-14-2007, 09:27 PM
Well, she clearly stated that it was non-scientific...

Did you have an opinion of your own to share?

I say on your left and generally it does not work. People swerve due to being startled, or they don't hear or understand me. I don't have a bell, though when I did I seemed to get the same reaction.

I have no idea what the answer is...

Donald
03-14-2007, 11:31 PM
Never had a tinkler. Can't say as I can think of a place on my bars where'd I like to have one either.

I've got a pretty booming voice and have always used "on yer left." I can't believe anyone would take offense to a well-intentioned warning no matter its source.

I'm pretty aware of my surroundings, so I really don't care if an overtaking bike warns me or not. I'm not usually surprised and I'm not one to linger in the passing lane. Never spent much time as a pedestrian, so can't really relate to their plight.

Bells have the same effect as nails on a chaulkboard to me, though. I can't stand the sound. But tap dancing is just as offensive to my ears (painfully so, really), and I know some oddballs enjoy that artform, so it must really be an individual pref.

I reckon if it were me and somebody made a stink as reported here, I would have made the time to stop and chat with them about it. But I'm a pretty big guy with a short temper, so maybe that's personal style, too.

Anyway, plus one for no bells.

Haven_kd7yct
03-15-2007, 11:20 AM
Plus one for bell, but also, plus one for having a mirror and using it.

I'm rarely startled by cyclists coming from behind, as I'm always checking my mirror to see what's coming up behind me.

Bells don't bother me. "On yer left" doesn't bother me, either.

:) (Rode my bike this morning to work-- cold, but exhilarating! :) )

fetishridr
03-15-2007, 05:27 PM
Because of his behavior, he didnt look behind his bike to see if I was in the left lane closest to the drop to traffic. he moved around the walker, and occupied all of the remaining space on the bridge. i, however, was already in his blind spot (forewarned because i had said on your left ).

so who's not courteous, me for passing him while he passed a pedestrian hugging the rail, or him for veering out into my lane of travel without looking?

I feel that one should be aware of who is in front of and behind them. This is taught in driver's ed, although we know that no one drives like this. i may have an extremely biased opinion because i race bikes, and spend hours within inches of other riders, but the concepts in a pack and on the bridge are the same (and the same while driving)
DONT CHANGE DIRECTIONS WITHOUT LOOKING TO SEE IF THATS SAFE!!!!! its called holding your line.
My feelings about the bark or the bell are thay they startle people into making sudden movements. its important to warn people, but its also important for them to be aware that you're behind them without a warning.

so lets not ride our bikes like jerks, lets try to only occupy one bike width of the bridge, and not the whole surface.

DJoos
03-15-2007, 10:13 PM
I have lived in quite a few places and "on your left" generally works. I have noticed it doesn't work to well here. I think the problem with "lack of hearing" on the bridges is caused by a couple things: A. It can be damn windy and B. So many people pass over on the shared path that any attempt at warning that is heard is passed off as "someone elses conversation" and is ignored.

I have been almost pushed off into traffic on the Hawthorne myself.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-15-2007, 10:50 PM
I think the problem with "lack of hearing" on the bridges is caused by a couple things: A. It can be damn windy and B. So many people pass over on the shared path that any attempt at warning that is heard is passed off as "someone elses conversation" and is ignored.

You forgot: C. People have intentinally eliminated their ability to hear what is transpiring in their environment by listening to headphones.

I have said, "On your left" loud enough a number of times and been ignored by someone who'd rather be listening to the Old 97s. ... Wait, that's me!

But not while I'm riding!

Donald
03-16-2007, 11:17 PM
I haven't commuted over the bridges in a while, but I do remember this:

When you give a warning and there's a chance you haven't been heard (or are being ignored), at the very last second, move left and then back right, taking an angle of attack that takes you across the slower traffic's 12 o'clock from their 9 o'clock or so. It'll make for a close call, but if they move left at the last minute and there's contact, at least your momentum will take you away from traffic.

If they don't move left, you've given them what the NASCAR folks call a "brush back" and you may save the next overtaker from the same inconvenience.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't an agressive move, it's a subtle change of tack to change the direction of the kinetic energy.

Figure it this way: If you make contact and it's not with your front wheel, you have a good chance of staying upright. Aim your shoulder at the target if they come left. Speed equals mass and the overtaker has the physical advantage.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-17-2007, 11:33 AM
That certainly would send a message. Despite your protestation, this does seem like an aggressive move to me. I would prefer to leave the space and be temporarily slowed by the oblivious rider or pedestrian. Don't get me wrong, it is annoying. But it's not a race. And I think, in the event of a crash, the law would -- and should -- view a tactic that has a reasonable chance of creating a collision as unreasonable under the circumstances.

NEPcyclistic
03-17-2007, 03:31 PM
What happened to just slowing down and being safe all together. When on a multiuse path, wouldn't it just more smart to slow down and avoid a collision all together. If your in to much of a rush, get up earlier, besides if you wreck on the bike, chances are your not going to be much use at work. Especially if you do get bounced off of a ped, and again off of a moving car.

Donald
03-17-2007, 07:26 PM
Oh, sure, AO, I see what you're saying. Positionaly, it's aggressive. I meant that physicaly it shouldn't be an aggressive move. Don't toss your bike into it; coax your bike into it.

Sure, slow down if you want. It's a free world. I'm not advocating unsafe cycling.

For me, I know there's a certain pedal RPM where I'm most efficient and that's the speed that I ride most of the time. I get passed at that speed and I pass other folks at that speed.

I guess my point was, if you're in doubt about the intentions of someone you're passing on the bridge, use physics to your advantage. Don't shy left towards traffic: Take a path that will carry you away from traffic in the event of a collision.

Matt P.
03-19-2007, 12:05 PM
Because of his behavior, he didnt look behind his bike to see if I was in the left lane closest to the drop to traffic. he moved around the walker, and occupied all of the remaining space on the bridge. i, however, was already in his blind spot (forewarned because i had said on your left ).

so who's not courteous, me for passing him while he passed a pedestrian hugging the rail, or him for veering out into my lane of travel without looking?

so lets not ride our bikes like jerks, lets try to only occupy one bike width of the bridge, and not the whole surface.

Depends on the speed he, and you, were riding. Rate of closure is a big factor. I try to always look over my shoulder when moving left on the Hawthorne (and I use a mirror), but some of these guys are riding so fast I don't even know where they're coming from. Hell, if it was a heavyset guy in a red jacket on a blue Gary Fisher mountain bike, that might have been me.

If you were overtaking him and he was overtaking a pedestrian, you should have expected him to come over. A lot of commuters not only don't hold a line, they're not aware they *should* hold a line. The Hawthorne also has those wonderful / annoying markings that imply bikes should not be right of the sidewalk centerline. Unless we start licensing cyclists, we're always going to have to deal with unskilled cyclists. Then again, maybe he really was just a jerk.

jami
03-20-2007, 01:49 AM
there is room for three, IF none of the three is crazy. i tend not to make that assumption, given that the guy you passed was so ready to be angry that he threatened to swerve you onto the grid, and pedestrians will wander left for no real reason at all. trusting other people not to be foolish or absent-minded can get you hurt.

editrixpdx
03-20-2007, 11:14 AM
I'm back on the bell versus yell discussion: I prefer bell PLUS yell. A bell doesn't provide any information beyond the vague, nonspecific "there is a cyclist in your vicinity." "On your left" says "I am behind you, and I plan to pass you on the left (so...outta my way, hammerhead!)(woops, did I type that out loud?)."

Also, many riders--myself included--randomly tinkle their bells just to be friendly, plus my poorly designed bell randomly rings itself on bumpy roads; bells blend into the landscape like car alarms.

PoPo
03-28-2007, 10:35 PM
I lived in Japan for five years. Over there somehow the message has been conveyed to all pedestrians and bikers that when a bicycle overtakes a pedestrian, the biker gives a single ding from one of those small, spring-loaded, thumb-actuated bells. The correct pedestrian response is to simply continue walking in the same direction and speed, regardless of position on the sidewalk, AND don't change direction or speed until the bike is safely past. Seemed to work well!
No yelling, just a single, cheerful ding of a warning of an approaching bicycle. I wonder if we could get that going here.

And I agree with AO. Slower and easy on the Hawthorne Bridge is better. I try to remember to check my blind spot, but forget sometimes. I try to anticipate that someone else might forget too. In the situation described at the beginning of the post, I usually just slow down, enjoy the view a bit, let the passing finish ahead of me, then do my own passing.

That doesn't give someone the right to be a jerk, though, if a dangerous situation does suddenly unfold. Same team, everyone!

endform
04-01-2007, 10:53 AM
In response to the comment about driver's ed and checking your blind spot, they also teach you to only pass when it's safe.

It's pretty obvious that people aren't pacing peds when they are on a bike, even if they are over where they will need to pull out (towards the road surface) to pass. Obviously the blind spot should be checked, but still if there's a biker who looks like they're going to need to move out to get around a ped, they probably are, it's just common sense to make sure they hear you and make eye contact if you are going to pass in such a situation.

SEA_poseur_n_PDX
04-02-2007, 04:56 PM
I feel that one should be aware of who is in front of and behind them. This is taught in driver's ed, although we know that no one drives like this. i may have an extremely biased opinion because i race bikes, and spend hours within inches of other riders, but the concepts in a pack and on the bridge are the same (and the same while driving)
DONT CHANGE DIRECTIONS WITHOUT LOOKING TO SEE IF THATS SAFE!!!!! its called holding your line.

seems like your unrealistic expectation that everyone should ride bikes with the knowledge of a trained professional is one of the problems here. I agree with you on all these issues: should every cyclist be aware of who is in front of them and behind them at all times? absolutely. should cyclists try to ride predictably and "hold their lines" in traffic? definitely. and don't run lights, be conscious of allowing faster bikes to pass safely, listen for warnings from other cyclists, and on, and on.

but is it realistic or reasonable to expect people to do all these things? no maybe a little naive, but no way realistic.

there's just no reason for anyone to threaten to push another cyclist into traffic. that part of this story sounds so absurd to me. that loser actually Would have pushed me into traffic after my retort to a statement like that. but by continuing to try to pass some rookie rider who was swerving wide into your lane (regardless of whether he heard your warning or not) created just as much of an accident situation as he did. waiting for him to settle back to the right, or (god forbid, waiting to get across the rest of the bridge if you didn't feel safe enough to pass) would've cost you, what? 20 seconds? a couple of minutes?

Attornatus_Oregonensis
04-03-2007, 12:05 PM
but is it realistic or reasonable to expect people to do all these things? no maybe a little naive, but no way realistic.


I actually think it is reasonable to expect people to do those things. Legally, you're going to be required to behave in that way, generally speaking, and at fault if you don't. I think that's the standard we have to set for people, otherwise they're going to be able to cause harm to others without any concomitant responsibility.

Now, as PoPo points out, we do all fall short of this standard occasionally. So it is naive to expect that someone will always meet a standard of reasonable behavior. As you say, if you can see or tell that someone does not understand what the proper behavior is, or is simply not going to behave reasonably under the circumstances, as this clown did, then you also have to be willing to wait. If you try a risky passing move when you knew it might result in a crash, then you're not behaving reasonably either.

I get annoyed when I have to slow down in those situations also, but sometimes it's what you have to do. And it really is a small sacrifice. I also think, as my friend rixter used to frequently say, that it's worth taking a moment to explain to your fellow human what happened from your perspective and what you think would be a safer behavior. It doesn't have to be acrimonious. As you point out, many newer riders might not understand the protocol and might appreciate finding out the easy way. I know I certainly did.

Tbird
04-05-2007, 08:36 AM
are headed against traffic ( east bound in the west bound )? Are they required to follow "rules of the road"?
The reason I ask is this morning as I was approaching downtown riding far right, a jogger-dude was headed east on the west bound side. He felt it was his duty to stop in the lane and make sure I passed on the traffic side of the bike/ped way. I thought I was letting the 'high speed' traffic have an open lane on the left. There was no traffic fore and aft, and plenty of room for both of us either side. As I approached he stopped and began to move toward the river-side so as to cut off my line. Then when I passed at a very slow speed, he shouted "YOU"RE ON THE WRONG SIDE"....
Clearly there was room for both of us on either side before his impromptu traffic control. And as far as I can tell, in the middle of the bridge the lanes are open. It is only on the approach that they are segregated.
My questions are:
First... should east bound peds be on that side of the bridge at all ? And "do peds have to follow traffic laws ?
Also, was I in the wrong for being over to the right in the middle of the bridge?
Ok, let me have it...;)

Haven_kd7yct
04-05-2007, 09:43 AM
Sounds like he was trying to apply ped rules to bike traffic.... peds should walk or jog against traffic, so they can see what's coming-- but bikes are traffic, so they go with the flow.

Tbird
04-05-2007, 10:26 AM
I don't think I agree. I think we should all follow the same direction.

bonny790
04-05-2007, 07:56 PM
Just my view...Since the path is marked before and after the bridge as bikes being next to traffic and peds next to railing, I infer the same to hold true on the bridge. Oncoming peds? Shouldn't be any as far as I can tell. Everyone should be going with vehicle traffic. That is to say that the multi use path is just another traffic lane. I keep to the left and monitor my mirror regularly (as I always do) for quicker riders. The more congested it is, the slower I go. I also don't try too hard to squeeze through any bottlenecks.

Toby

Starkmojo
04-07-2007, 07:49 AM
My vote for the situation that started this conversation would be to slow until the pedestrian was passed by the slower rider then pass the slower rider. makes sense for me...

now about the people on the esplanade that walk 5 abreast...

Donald
04-07-2007, 11:17 AM
Oh, man...

I don't get down there much but with the sun out yesterday I ventured down the east side and was amazed at how many groups of 3/4 runners/peds were abreast and totally non-responsive to calls of On Yer Left.

Even head-on, the majority of them refused to budge.

Completely maddening.

Michael
04-20-2007, 06:29 PM
After 30 years of bike commuting in Portland, and 5 years of walking the bridges, I have ample experience on both sides and I vote for a bell. A bell cuts through conversations and headphones. A bell "sounds" like a bike approaching.

"On your left!" works great on the ski slope where it came from. Every skier knows that call and what it means. On the shared sidewalk many folks have not a clue what the hell you are screaming about.

Lastly, a yell conveys warning, and distress. It is unpleasant.

A bell is music.

pdxtex
04-26-2007, 04:56 AM
the city should install a guard rail on the traffic side of the sidewalks going across the bridge....ive never heard of a bike fatality on the bridge but im waitng for the day somebody is forced on the bridge roadway....eeeek.