Bike Path Battle of Wills

LA Times columnist Steve Lopez writes about a bike path battle of wills in Santa Monica

I used to ride my bike on that path when I lived in Santa Monica in the late ’90s, and the hazards were no less frustrating back then. You’d see a clot forming ahead and have to slow down or change lanes, which sometimes meant getting brushed by rollerbladers or cyclists who thought they were in the Tour de France.

I have a bell on my urban bikes and rain bike for the purpose of using it on the bike path. The worst are roller bladers whose stride takes up two body lengths. Starbuck’s moms with their suburban sized strollers who walk three abreast are also dangerous to the cyclist.

I’m courteous with the bell unless I see white earbud cords and then it’s rapid-fire blinging. A few years ago, a skateboarder doing a board flip, flipped his board right into Pam’s wheel and took her down. Beware of skateboarders.

In this video, I thought that Santa Barbara had the world’s best bike paths.

I didn’t see pedestrians on those paths.

How are the bike paths in your town? Do you even ride on them?


Things are mostly orderly around the Minneapolis lake trails, but I chalk that up to our regional signage fetish.  Otherwise, it has a lot of the same problems.  If you want to get anywhere at a decent clip, the lakes do connect with the Midtown Greenway and Cedar Lake Trail, however.

You can (and people certainly do) organize a hammerfest on those trails, but I’d stop short of setting up any sprint points until those trails drop you off farther into the suburbs.

Green Bay, WI has busy bike paths during the weekend and during evening rush hour.  The four different bike pathes so lead you out to the country side in short order.  Like anything else its just being aware of others.

The bike path in Milwaukee is pretty narrow and often flooded, and it’s taking its sweet time reaching a critical mass (as is all things cycling in Milwaukee). It’s decent, but that mixed-use thing can be a problem with cyclists, skaters, walkers, dog walkers, etc.

It is a HUGE hindrance on the lakefront, particularly with temperate weather (it comes so rarely in MKE that people take advantage of it). Cyclists on the bike path are mostly commuters. Creatures of all walks of life use the lakefront path, which includes casual cyclists, training cyclists, children, strollers, hot dog vendors, ice cream vendors, kite fliers, picnic-ers, sun-tanners, and on and on.

But overall I mostly keep my commute in the streets.

When riding with a group, and heading out of the city, we’re getting off of the Burke-Gilman (massive urban path). Not only is heavily trafficked, but also bumpy with roots.

I ride the same paths described in the article but only on non-tourist hours and days and even then one must really pay attention. The newest hazard is actually bikers, in particular, fixies without brakes. Honestly, crowded path, oblivious peds, zig-zagging rentals, and sand drifts, WTF?

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