Update on Bicycle/Walk Path Mayhem

It is 8:15 in the morning and I am walking my daughter to school with another mom who is quite pregnant and her 5 year old son.We enter the path via Vestry Street and the West side highway. As we are walking south towards Chambers street, a woman on her bicycle coming from behind us starts to yell at us. Now first of all we don’t see her approaching because our backs were towards her and she could easily bike around us. But no she made a scene. Now we all know from Pier 40 down which is Houston to Chambers the path must be cautiously shared by pedestrians and bikers. Unfortunately some of these bikers have road rage. I strongly suggest that a rule should be put in place until the Piers have been completed that all bikers must dismount and walk their bikes from Houston to Chambers.


2 responses to “Update on Bicycle/Walk Path Mayhem

  1. Bikers indeed have quite their share of “path rage”. But let us not ignore the runners. Walking down this morning I actually got bumped twice on the shoulder (again, can’t bother to move over the slightest) and a runners’ sweat slapped me in the face as he whizzed by – slickers required!

    Maybe an idea would be to replace the solid double lines painted on the road with dotted ones, so like driving in a car, the bikers and runners actually feel they can use the on-coming lane to bypass us innocent walkers!

  2. Bikers have rage when pedestrians act like they don’t need to watch where their going, just because they’re walking, especially on a path that is clearly marked to be shared between the two. There are places for that sort of walking, but the stretch of path in question is not one of them. If you’re going to walk on a path that is intended to be shared with bikers, it’s your responsibility to look out for bikes, just as it is bikers’ responsibility to look out for walkers and warn them, by yelling if necessary, that they’re coming through. That path is not for leisure strolling. The park is not finished there. That path is for TRANSIT from one part of the finished park to another, and so it is everyone’s responsibility to observe basic rules of the road there, not rules of a pedestrians-only path in a park, or a regular sidewalk (where bikers _should_ walk their bikes). That means staying on the right margin, or staying in any lanes that are marked either for walkers or bikers. A pregnant woman with a 5 year-old in tow shouldn’t be on that path unless she is very conscious of faster traffic moving through, whether on foot or on a bike, and unless she abides by any lane markings, with vigilance. As a father of two young children, I would not take them walking there unless I was sure they could stay out of the bike lane completely. Bikers should travel slower than normal on such paths, and should announce their movements as they pass pedestrians (if pedestrians stray into the bike lane), but unless the path is designed and intended for leisure strolling only, it is a conduit for traveling using basic rules of the road, and sharing the road.

    All over the city, pedestrians have sidewalks on both sides of every street, where you can stroll without looking where you’re going or walk in a straight line, as you please. And cars have the entire rest of the street to careen down and fill the air with exhaust and unnecessary honking. There are precious few places that are designated for bicycles, and both pedestrians and car drivers typically ignore those markings, with impunity. The West Side highway designated biking/rollerblading path is the only such path in Manhattan, and the stretch referred to is a link where that path merges with a pedestrian pathway because the park is not finished there. The bicycle path does not end there, it is the _park_ which ends, and park-like pedestrian behavior (of walking without the need to be aware of passing traffic) should end there as well, and standard rules of the road should apply. Stay in your lane, be aware of passing bikers, runners and skaters. That’s not much to ask, and if you aren’t behaving this way on such a path and you’re pregnant or walking with a small child, you’re just inconsiderate of others and careless with your children – who are _your_ responsibility to protect, not every passing bicyclist’s who is obeying traffic lane markings.

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