What?! Bicycles are like cars?
When I think about what I don’t like about riding on the road I think of the cars. And the primary reason for that is that generally cars are going faster than I am, and sometimes pass a little too closely. I can feel their impatience.
Let’s turn it around a little. On the Burke-Gilman Trail, bicyclists are the equivalent of motorists. Bicyclists are moving faster than the pedestrians, and we can be impatient. If we pass someone a little too closely while riding 15 mph, we could really hurt them. We, bicyclists, would benefit from remembering how it feels to be vulnerable on the roadways and understand that’s exactly how some pedestrians feel on the trail.
Tips for safe passing on the trail:
1. Let pedestrians know you are passing them before you pass. This can be done with a friendly voice or a bell.
2. Give some space. If you clip the pedestrian, chances are high that you are both going down.
3. Slow down when passing.
4. Smile and say hello. This one isn’t required but makes the interaction much more humane. Pretend that person is your grandmother. I want people to be nice to my grandmother.
Ultimately, the real problem and cause for celebration is that the number of bicyclists riding around the Puget Sound is growing. Our trails are crowded. More people want to use them. There’s quite the conversation going on over at the Cascade forums about this topic.
My vision is that someday the Burke-Gilman Trail will just be for pedestrians and families with children bicycling and parallel roads like Montlake Boulevard will have a cycletrack on it where I can ride as fast as I want. What is your vision of the future?