Tue 3 Jan 2012
With the completion of the stretch of the Los Angeles River Bikeway through Elysian Valley have come conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. Certainly a percentage of inconsiderate individuals from each side are responsible for these negative interactions, but inevitably blog posts about the topic will be published in which proprietary pedestrians seems to relish making broad generalizations about cyclists as the creators of the friction while righteously holding themselves entirely harmless.
It’s a similar infuriating us-versus-them attitude I’ve seen time and time again from hikers/equestrians who can do no wrong and mountain cyclists who they seem to believe unconditionally suck as a whole.
The thing is, whether it’s on roadways, trails or bikeways, my time in the saddle involves only a very small percentage of aggravation because I’m one of those cyclists who actively strives not to suck. As such I found it a bit ironic that during yesterday’s amazingly enjoyable 20-mile morning ride in which the streets I pedaled upon were almost completely empty, I had two encounters with pedestrians on the bikeway, both of which were caught on my handlebar cam and demonstrate the irresponsible behavior many pedestrians simply refuse to acknowledge — while at the same time getting taxpayer money spent on biased signage that strives to reinforce both pedestrian entitlement and cyclist inconsideration.
As such I’m going to begin this “Pedestrians Behaving Badly” occasional series, starting with the following stills culled from yesterday’s timelapse:
In this first one, I began slowing while ringing my bell at about a one-second interval more than 100 yards away from this bikeway bogarting couple and their three canines (two unleashed), increasing it in intensity and decreasing my speed as I drew closer.
Thanks to their inattentiveness (which wasn’t broken until I had passed them at less than five miles per hour), the smallest dog drifted into my path, but saw me at the last moment and abruptly changed direction with an understandably startled growl as I passed.
Continuing on past the startled couple, I have little doubt that despite my best efforts to show a consideration and caution they weren’t willing or able to reciprocate they found no fault in themselves and complete fault in me.
The next image below shows a jogger coming toward me, a pedestrian heading in the same direction as I was, and two unleashed dogs. Take the dogs out of the shot and this scene is full of awesome, with both people moving comfortably out of the bike lanes on the shoulders of the bikeway. Trouble is both dogs belong to the jogger and as I approached they were roaming freely and unchecked back and forth across the width of the bikeway.
Were the dogs aggressive? Not in the slightest, but that’s not the point. Did their guardian seem like he was completely entitled to disregard the city’s leash laws? Absolutely. Fortunately neither dog impeded my progress and instead of having to take some sort of evasive action I was able to proceed around the bend where I soon passed another posted biased reminder whose unspoken intent is “Because Peds Don’t Bloody Well Have To Yield To You.”