I can't stop for pedestrians…
In the crosswalks. I fear that if I am taking a lane because it is the safest thing to do, and I stop to let someone cross, I will be rear ended, or the driver will whip around me and hit the pedestrian. does anyone else feel this way? I feel like a dick sometimes, but I really feel like it would put me in a dangerous situation.
I find that giving them the hand down “I’m making a stop!” signal helps, but only in high pedestrian areas (northshore, downtown).
Stopping anywhere else might be dangerous as you describe. Rather sad.
I’ve yelled at cars coming the opposite direction not yielding to a ped in a crosswalk that I’ve stopped for. The ped probably thought I was insane.
Sometimes the peds are downright shocked that anyone, especially someone on a bike stops for them. One or two have told me to go ahead, but I insist: “I’m required to stop.”
I mean, hell… I’m already stopped and have a foot down! Go, wouldya!?
I like it when peds are predictable and using crosswalks…
^same, but only if I’m taking the full lane & I also stick my arm out in a ‘stop’ gesture. I’m sure that I and the pedestrian I am stopping for are going to get hit by a distracted driver one of these days though.
side note: my cousin is a school crossing guard and and I often hang out at her corner to chat. It is amazing how often cars dont stop for her even when she’s wearing a full length hi-viz coat – at a 4-way stop!
I always stop for pedestrians if they have the right of way. There is always a safe place for me to do the right thing. If I have to I will just pull over. There really is no excuse for giving cyclists a bad name just because of laziness and really that is what it is if you don’t stop and want to keep going. It takes very little time out of a cyclist’s commute to ride correctly. Wish people wouldn’t keep breaking the law because it is an inconvenience to them.
@gg. Reread the original post. It’s the fear of being hit from behind while stopped! not saving a few seconds.
@stefb, why couldn’t the driver of a car make the same argument? “I wanted to stop for that pedestrian, but I was afraid the car behind me would hit me or swerve around and hit the pedestrian” Does that mean that it’s okay for cars to not stop at crosswalks? I think you’ve got to try to follow the law (and good practice) and stop for crosswalks.
Also, the data seem to indicate that being rear-ended is actually one of the least common types of car-bike collisions.
I’m very cautious around pedestrians; I feel I owe them the courtesy I want from motorists. I never pass in front of a pedestrian if I can avoid it. And I have a rear view mirror so I can easily tell if it’s safe to stop. But I don’t ride in the city as much as some of you here.
I do understand the fear of course, but why can’t a cyclist just move far enough to the right to make it a nonissue? It would be pretty rare to not have some room on the right. Is there a time when it may be unsafe to do anything but try and get through and out of there? Probably there could be that time. I try and give pedestrians a lot of room and don’t bully them. If they are in the wrong and not giving me any room or crossing in front of me with no regard out of a crosswalk, I don’t give them much room and might tell them to look both ways, but if they are in a crosswalk, they should be able to go without me flying near them. That is my point.
Often if I see a pedestrian heading out into a crosswalk, especially if it seems like they are blocked from view by a parked car or other obstruction, I will make sure I am more visible and more of an obstruction to a car behind, in hopes that the car driver will slow for me AND the pedestrian. If a driver decides to swerve around me and flatten a pedestrian as a result, there isn’t much I can do about that. Except in that case hope that there is a police officer watching traffic and not reading “Guns & Ammo” on his laptop.
Not saying that’s the right action or the action for everyone, everyone needs to do that which they believe will keep them safe and alive.
I would rather veer to the side of the road or even get on the sidewalk than to violate the rights of a pedestrian.
I occasionally run into this situation going southeast on Bates and Semple.
Mostly the cars are not going to stop for the peds in the crosswalk next to the large signs that says “Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalk.” (I think we should not allow cars on the roads until drivers learn how to read.)
The idea of a bicycist chasing a pedestrian off a crosswalk makes me shudder.
I’ve never been in a situation where that has been necessary for safety.
Has anyone here? I mean, really. Where is it that you can’t get to the edge of the road and there are pedestrian in a crosswalk?
I should clarify that I don’t bike straight into pedestrians. I pass in back of them if they are already crossing.
Pulling over to the right just encourages drivers behind me to speed around me and not yield. It has happened before. Several times.
One place in particular is on Ellsworth going outbound. It isn’t safe to not take the lane there. Cars are up my ass even though I am going 25. There is a crosswalk there, and I just can’t stop without fearing that some jag will ride up on me.
One difference is that my car has brake lights, and my bike doesn’t.
And there have been several incidents where I have stopped in my car for pedestrians in the cross walk, and I have had cars whip around me, nearly hitting pedestrians. One of the worst places was on one wild place where the employees cross. At least I have a horn in my car.
It is a problem in both a car and on a bike. I am just more protected in a car.
PA State law requires that drivers must yield to pedestrians when they are in a crosswalk. Not stop for pedestrians. Going behind a pedestrian who is crossing sounds like yielding to me.
Maybe a mirror or a brake light would help?
I think going behind a pedestrian is fine as long as you aren’t buzzing them.
I definitely navigate around, behind when possible, fairly slowly and giving a pretty wide berth always. Being able to mix with pedestrians safely at low speed is just one of the intrinsic advantages of travel by bicycle.
Gah, Ellsworth. There are only other 3 other viable routes that cars can take to get to the same places that have higher speeds and are more suitable. Anyone ever see any stupid cops working Ellsworth? No. Ellsworth should have speed bumps the entire length. The potholes aren’t doing their jobs.
as other said: Agh! Ellsworth.”
I don’t like to encourage cars to pass me when I’m trying to allow a pedestrian their rights either.
But if they do I can yell ‘HEY DRUNKARD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
If I cruise through the crosswalk, it’s just businessa s usual: cars being deadly dangerous and entitled. Only this time, with my active complicity.
I kind of play it by ear.
If I see pedestrians up ahead at an intersection trying to cross, I look over my shoulder to see how close a car is, and I can usually get a feel for somebody if they’re already up my ass. If a car is far off, I’ll take the middle of the lane and stop. Probably do some kind of hand gesture.
If they’re close behind me, I’ll try and maneuver in a way that gets them to pass me and then maybe stop for the pedestrian, but I don’t think that’s happened very often.
If it’s a four-way signaled crosswalk, I’ll try and trickle through at a slow speed, like at Murray and Forbes or sometimes Negley and Center.
People are entitled asswipes on Ellsworth.
Ellsworth is totally awful for sharrows because cycling on it sucks. wondering if there is a better parallel option? I know that I get stuck in traffic for block and blocks.
There are options that parallel Ellsworth and I often take them, but Ellsworth is the fastest option. I use that little cut through on Howe that goes to Bakery Square often now, so I tend to take Kentucky/Howe and other roads. They are slower though.
Personally, I usually block traffic (foot down, hand out and signaling stop) when peds are crossing in front of me at an intersection; if it’s a middle-of-block situation, I usually make sure to fully claim the lane and slow way down to “encourage” following traffic to take care.
Especially at the Wharton St intersections near the South Side Giant Eagle, as there’s lots of slow-moving pedestrians and impatient traffic.
I agree that going behind pedestrians with ample space is completely OK (and as far as I can tell legal — what’s his name the crossing guard at Hobart and Wightman waves me to turn right when there is room behind a ped crossing Wightman all the time.
Going well in *front* of a ped is more of a quandary for me. Intellectually, I can’t see any issue with passing well in front of peds; if there is no risk of collision at any sort of intersection then yielding is not an issue. The same is true for motor vehicles at a yield sign; if I can pull out in front of someone at a yield and they don’t have to slow down (assuming they are not speeding) then I am legal, if they need to slow down then I have not yielded.
There is no way to avoid the fact that when cars or trucks are involved the potential risk to peds or cyclists is death. A car can’t reasonably time anything when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk other than proceeding behind when the pedestrian is well through, and so must halt. Part of that is just plain “body” (vehicle) language. Slowing down may indicate anything, while stopping sends a pretty clear message. Those issues are not so stark when a bicycle and a pedestrian are negotiating the same space.
I almost never have trouble at Fifth and Grant, coming up the hill and yielding to pedestrians crossing Grant while I prepare to make the right. As @reddan said, fully claiming the lane while I wait, and make everyone else wait, is perfectly fine. Then I usually roll behind the last one.
I have a bigger problem a block a way at Grant and Forbes. I am usually trying to make a left across northbound Grant, then up onto the sidewalk to lock up at the racks next to City-County. The problem is that I am trying mainly to turn across _car_ traffic, when any sort of space materializes, but there is often a queue of people waiting to cross both Grant and Forbes. It’s a very delicate operation to dash across two lanes of moving cars, only to come to an abrupt stop five feet later so as not to mow down people waiting to step off a curb.
@stu, a similar thing happened to me in oakland the other day. The nice thing about being on a bike is that you are able to stop and apologize for your blunder much more sincerely than you can from a car seat.
I do have some days where I feel invisible to pedestrians. Jaywalkers on BOA downtown will look right at me and cross in front of me in the middle of the block.
That happens to me all the time. Darlington and Murray is a common one, against the light. I do not stop for jaywalkers, but I don’t buzz them too tight.
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