Attention! The Road Does Not Belong To You! (You neither, dummy!)

Hello Boulder! This blog entry is dedicated to the bespectacled “gentleman” driving the green car. The one who nearly hit me and my bicycle. You know who you are. You were heading north on 30th and turning left onto Canyon. You did not have the right of way. I was heading south along 30th and I did.

Firstly, if you do not have the right of way, but you do not yield to the pedestrian or bicyclist who does, yelling “Bikes ride on the street, not the sidewalk!” does not absolve you of nearly running people down. There is in fact nothing you can yell at me that makes it suddenly OK for you to have blown your stop sign or failed to yield right of way. I could be yammering away on a cell phone while knitting, sprouting switchblades out of my skull like Pinhead, and bursting into flames. You’d still be in the wrong. Because you didn’t yield right of way.

Secondly, that stretch of “sidewalk” on the west side of 30th between Pearl and Arapahoe? That’s not a sidewalk, dummy. That’s a designated multi-use path. Multi-use paths are intended for bicycle use. And pedestrian use. They’re like a sidewalk and bike path combined. Often they are even explicitly separated into one bidirectional pedestrian lane and two unidirectional bicycle lanes. Hence the “multi” prefix.

But you know what? Doesn’t matter. If you’re turning left, and you don’t have a steady green arrow, you gotta yield. To everybody. Car, pedestrian, bike. Even bikes that are riding on sidewalks. With or without helmets.

This also goes for the bicyclist who ran her stop sign awhile back–forcing me and my bike (and I didn’t have a stop sign) to take immediate evasive action–and yelling “Jesus! You’re gonna crash into me!” like somehow I’m the menace to society here. If you don’t have the right of way, you gotta yield.

There now. I hope we’ve learned something today.

9 Comments so far

  1. Ben (unregistered) on August 17th, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

    Yet another missed-connection.

  2. Xian (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 2:36 am

    I may not get along with Denver folks. In Phoenix, whoever has the ability to kill the other person with their respective transportation is the one who has the right of way. Always. Granted, that’s not the way the law is worded out here but it’s definitely just an unspoken rule.

  3. Aaron DeLay (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 7:16 am

    …and none of you have tried to walk or ride a bike in Manila. Imagine all that on crack, lsd and acid. At the same time.

  4. Valerie (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

    Not sure if I have the correct picture here but the law states:
    “Enter Crosswalks at Walking Speed

    Lawfully approaching and using a crosswalk means traveling at walking speed (3 mph). In this situation, motorists must yield to you, but you must yield to pedestrians. If you enter at a faster speed you lose the right of way.

    Yield to traffic when entering a roadway. Watch for pedestrians and turning vehicles.”

    It sounds like you were entering a roadway from a bike path?

    I know it was upsetting, whatever the rules of the road are.

  5. Valerie (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

    oh, and that was from “Bicyclists Rights & Responsibilites”.

  6. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (unregistered) on August 18th, 2007 @ 10:59 pm

    Valerie, that’s a good point. I just don’t know how the “enter crosswalk at walking speed” thing applies to multi-use paths (essentially widened sidewalks that are meant to be also used as bike paths). Doesn’t change who had right of way, but it may mean that bikes using the path need to slow down to 3mph when in a crosswalk.

  7. potpourri (unregistered) on August 20th, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

    I hope the “bespectacled gentlemen” really learn something. When the WALK signal is on and its time for me to cross the road, the people who are taking a right turn continue to do so ,one after another and then another..they just don’t care about the person who is waiting to cross the road. Yes,I would take the first step and show them who has the right of way but not at the cost of getting run over with my baby! If they are moronic enough not to regard the WALK signal, they could be moronic enough to run me over.
    We lived in Boston before and there, the pedestrians rule the roost. The pedestrians are so pampered there that even when they are jaywalking the cars stop and let them go. After having gotten used to that, this is very disappointing.

  8. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (unregistered) on August 20th, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

    Your memories of Boston remind me of the University District in Seattle. There’s a terrible intersection, 45th and University Way, where jaywalkers dang near get killed every day. 45th is so steep that visibility is barely half a block in either direction, but pedestrians just step right out into the street without a glance up the hill, down the hill, or at the walk/don’t-walk light. I nearly got in several bad accidents leaving campus and heading downhill for home on my bike. I don’t think anyone wins in a bicycle-on-pedestrian accident.

    My slogan became, “Please look both ways before you jaywalk!” I also wanted to tell these people “If you can’t be bothered to obey the traffic signals, at least pretend it’s a 2-way stop!”

    On the other hand, about three blocks from there I nearly got creamed, processed, and smoothied by a car running the front end of the red light. The walk light goes on, I step on my bike pedal, and then there’s a wall of red and the squeal of metal against the front edge of my tire. The driver slammed on the brakes at the second crosswalk and got royally chewed out by a lady crossing there who saw the whole thing. Miracle of miracles, the driver actually seemed quite contrite. I guess it was a close enough call that the driver crossed the line from “stupid biker don’t they know I own the road?” to “oh my god I nearly killed someone!”

    I just wish everyone would follow the rules of the road and the dictates of etiquette. Stop walking four-abreast across the bike portion of a climbing multi-use path, stop threatening to drive over people in crossroads (and look both ways before turning onto a one-way street because the sidewalk isn’t one-way! Sheesh!), stop biking into pedestrians on the sidewalks, give the cars and bikes a chance to cross Pearl at 13th someday this century. All that good stuff.

    I want a pony, too. With wings.

  9. Aaron DeLay (unregistered) on August 21st, 2007 @ 10:16 am

    The flying pony must have a horn or all bets are off.

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