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Old July 26th, 2011, 09:12 PM   #10
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Salt Lake City, UT USA
Posts: 1,056

This all kinda makes ya ponder how people navigate in cars or thru life for that matter.

Calling "Passing left" usually 50% of the time results in the exact reaction described above, looking and moving left of the persons you are overtaking. Heaven forbid those runners (with ipods) actually run on one side of the trail or the other...but nooooo they take their half right outta the middle.

Oh, oh. It's rant time: Who are these rude oblivious people? Mostly, self-absorbed in their own little bubbles, unaware of trail rules, and even more so to the fact that there are other trail users, these folks you cannot buy 'em a clue. Most could not navigate out of a paper bag if both ends were open. How do we educate them? More posting of trail rules, stenciling cute little graphic figures depicting trail rules on the pathway every 100 feet?

There will always be trail encounters, just come out alive and well, that's my modo.

I confronted a group of scouts on bikes (15 + kids and 3 scout masters) - one kid deliberately played a game of riding straight at me in my lane (our trail has a yellow diversionary line) as I skated towards them. As I had approached the group pointing them off to their lane with left hand out yelling repeatedly "Heads up" while lowering my speed. Most kids and scout masters moved back to their lane (where they should have been riding in the first place, but they were taking up the entire trail). I slowed to stop and stood in front of Deathwish Dilbert (not knowing his real name) whose face carried a wide smirk, then yelled to one of the scout masters - "Get these kids under control or they will injure someone". His reply was they were trying.... to which I grumbled "yeah, right". This kid created a very unsafe situation, and, these little punks get rewarded with merit badges? Had I been the scout master, I would have instantly terminated the group bike ride and blamed it on little Schmittem Stevie over there who felt compelled to be a jerk at the expense of the group, let him receive the village idiot merit badge for his behavior.

Reality is that it's increasingly unsafe on trails as we have more and more varied users, with many not understanding or aware of trail rules. I think skaters more so than other trail users are exceptionally aware, as we're constantly in the know that biffing it at any instant is a reality, so always viewing ahead, scanning the trail, assessing our moves, etc,. works to help us prevent or avoid situations. I also use a helmet bike mirror to see whats' coming up behind me. Yet, other trail users just seem to be drones biking by or jogging along in self-induced brain fogs. I'll give credit to most cyclists because the many that road ride understand passing and overtaking, and are courteous when overtaking or passing head-on. But, that next tier of lower-life-form-spandex-laden-Lance-wannabe's on $5k bikes are unguided missiles to you & I. It is one thing to be unaware and another to be flat out rude to other users. When my work out is disrupted by unaware users to the point that I find myself stopping to avoid a risk situation, then yes, I take aim and try to instill some trail use education in those short moments. But, to the rude people out there possessing attitudes of entitlement to own the trail I stand my ground skate right at them, remaining my lane. If they feel they can make a safe pass at our respective closing speeds around someone then push into my lane because they miss-calculated, I'm not moving or disrupting my work out for their stupidity in judgement. They are gonna have to figure it out on their own, without taking me out. I've seen those interesting little levers clipped on their handle bars... I think they're called brakes.

Bottom line... be aware, know the rules of the trails and roads your skating, avoid risks of injury to self, use opportunities to educate where you can (without earning the reputation of becoming "that skater"), and of course, voice your concerns and complain to parks & rec trail department heads, demand trail use rules & clear signage be posted for the benefit of all users. Action rather than reaction.

end rant.
From Salt Lake City where ice meets inline...
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