Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting general

Cyclepaths -Am I doing it wrong?

cmCloudcmCloud Posts: 2
edited June 2014 in Commuting general
I've recently hung up my keys with the aim of commuting by bike from now on, not just for fitness but to save a few pennies as well.

I have a couple of questions about my journey to work that I hope some of you may be able to offer some advice over?

My commute to work is mainly cycle paths which are a mixture of both segregated and shared. The segregated cycle paths have a painting of a person one side and a bike on the other and are separated by an unbroken white line. My understanding of this is that I have to stay on the cycle side of this line, otherwise I would be cycling on a footway which is an offence.

These cycle paths tend to have no common rule as to which side is for pedestrians and which side is for cyclists so I am always trying to be vigilant to stay on the right side. This has caused me a bit of unpleasantness on my first few days commuting as I have been accosted on a couple of occasions by cyclists coming towards me shouting I am on the wrong side of the path. This has happened on one particular stretch where according to the path markings I should be on the right hand side. Am I doing something wrong here?

Also, as the path is fairly narrow if I meet someone coming the opposite way then one of us will have to move to the other side of the path so we can safely pass, but in doing so the person who moves onto the pedestrian side will technically be making an offense, but without both of us stopping I don't see how this can be avoided? Am I missing something here?

Thanks

Posts

  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    I know the type you mean as I walk and ride on them in Stockton-on-Tees all the time. Technically there is one side for peds another for bikes as you say but most people treat that as more of a guideline! Especially IME pedestrians who rarely even notice or walk 5 abreast.

    For your purposes I would say try and keep to the correct side, but if you're on the right and you see a cyclist coming towards you, then use the pedestrian lane to your left, assuming there are no peds in it of course.

    I'm not sure what the legal situation is anyway, I doubt anyone is going to arrest you for riding on the 'wrong' side, although it may be a factor if you're in a collision and you're in the pedestrian part.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    One quote I like is:
    Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.

    IMHO, shared paths with white lines are not absolute - I've never heard of anyone being "done" for being on the wrong side. However, they are shared and need to be used considerately.
    Being the faster of the two main traffic types it generally falls on cyclists to be the more considerate - slowing down and avoiding pedestrians, even if they are walking 5 abreast and usually have a dog or 3 on an extending lead ....
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 750
    The pedestrian side is for pedestrians.
    The bike side is for bikes or pedestrians.
    In practice, you sometimes have to ride on the footpath side to avoid other cyclists, dogs etc. - nobody is going to try and arrest you for that.

    The shared use path running through the common near my house starts of with cyclists on the right but then it flips round as you pass under a railway bridge, causing general confusion for all. I guess they had 2 painting gangs coming from opposite directions and nobody thought to check they were both working to the same system.
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    At least in Stockton the pedestrian side is grey and the bike side is red. Except when both sides are grey...
  • Godders1Godders1 Posts: 750
    I stay to the left regardless of what the little pictures say and most cyclists seem to do the same on the path I use for my commute. Asking for trouble on bends otherwise. If you come across a pedestrian they will be moving slowly and so you have time to safely ride around them. Never had any problems with this approach.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    Godders1 wrote:
    I stay to the left regardless of what the little pictures say and most cyclists seem to do the same on the path I use for my commute. Asking for trouble on bends otherwise. If you come across a pedestrian they will be moving slowly and so you have time to safely ride around them. Never had any problems with this approach.

    I have, some numpty riding on the right coming towards me, I had to swerve, went over and the barsteward didn't even stop to help. Next day my boss asked if I'd been fighting, grazed face and knuckles, I still blame the fall on not wearing my gloves that day!

    These days if an oncoming cyclist is on the right I say left but stop and chastise profanely them as they pass.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    AIUI the lane designations are advisory only, theres no offence [1] caused by cycling on the "wrong" (pedestrian) side of the line, just as theres no offence for walking on the cycle side, which is fortunate really as most pedestrians seem to prefer the cycling side to walk on. and yeah tbf alot of cyclists prefer to force you out of their way, just pick the path of least resistance would be my advice, though youll end up wishing you could be on the road instead :)


    [1] youll always encounter at some point a pedestrian who'll insist you are in the wrong, even if what you are doing is in fact helping them, I had one few months back who was pushing a push chair along but on the cycling side, so I moved to the pedestrian side , at which point she began shouting that I was on the wrong side of the path. so I actually stopped, and she carried on shouting at me that I was on the wrong side, bearing in mind shes still pushing her push chair on the cycling side of the path. and I said to her whats the problem, we can happily share this path and I can cycle past you on this side, or you can be an idiot and Ill cycle right up to you and make you move out of my way, and she just couldnt compute that...so youll always find someone who thinks you were in the wrong :roll:
  • tootsie323tootsie323 Posts: 197
    awavey wrote:
    ... I had one few months back who was pushing a push chair along but on the cycling side, so I moved to the pedestrian side , at which point she began shouting that I was on the wrong side of the path. so I actually stopped, and she carried on shouting at me that I was on the wrong side, bearing in mind shes still pushing her push chair on the cycling side of the path. and I said to her whats the problem, we can happily share this path and I can cycle past you on this side, or you can be an idiot and Ill cycle right up to you and make you move out of my way, and she just couldnt compute that...so youll always find someone who thinks you were in the wrong :roll:
    Did she say anything like 'yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but...' at any point?
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    we dont have many cyclepaths round here but generally i find them more trouble than they are worth (was actually hit by a car on one before!) so I stick to the roads
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    At least in Stockton the pedestrian side is grey and the bike side is red. Except when both sides are grey...

    To be fair, most things are grey in Stockton, #Smoggies :D
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • cmCloud wrote:
    Am I missing something here?

    Hopefully you are missing the person coming the other way. You are not allowed to crash into them unless there is a picture of two bikes crashing painted on the path at that point. :roll:

    I treat these paths as 'every man for himself'. Always slow down and give way to pedestrians (whatever side they are on). Always sound your bell or give a little call if you approaching from behind and they are unaware of your presence. Pass other cyclists as you would on the highway (overtake on the right) or take the left side for on-coming riders. Make you intentions clear by your positioning early (don't change direction at the last moment). If there is any possibility of a collision slow down or stop.

    If you want to get anywhere in a hurry use the road.
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,016
    I view them as mixed use paths without any restriction on where to ride. It's only an advisory. I only know one and I always tried to ride on cycle side but never managed it each time I used it. That's because dogs, walkers even debris have gotten in the way. Relax, enjoy the ride.
Sign In or Register to comment.