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  1. #1
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    What is up with night walkers/joggers going about without any lights or reflectors?

    As city riders all of us are concerned about being seen and have reflective stuff and lights on our person and bike. The sheer number of threads about lighting in this forum attest to our concern for safety when riding in town. I'm baffled by the number of people I see walking or jogging at night with no concern for being seen. Some are in dark clothing. These sightings are usually in residential streets, but sometimes in business area it would still be wise to have some reflectors. I'm not much of a threat on my bike and usually see them, as I'm always scanning my surroundings. Of course, there have been surprises, but I don't think I've ever had a near collision. My bright headlight keeps me and them safe, I'd say. But a car going much faster has a small window time for reacting. Some pedestrians are just oblivious to their surroundings and think that it is the responsibility of others to see and avoid them. Yeah, if they make themselves more visible.

    Another thing I want to add is the morning walkers and joggers I see. Now I've read that pedestrians should walk against traffic, so when I see a jogger heading toward me I move to the left (away from curb). I've seen some weird and even stupid ways in which pedestrians walk or run on the road. Saw one walker walking with traffic behind him...but not close to the curb...rather in the middle of the lane...HELLO? Then I saw one jogging in the center divider. I guess that's a bit safer than hogging a lane with traffic coming from behind listening to music (or audiobook).

    And people complain about cyclists?

  2. #2
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    I've noted the same crap. Part of my commute is on what I would call a residential corridor street. 30mph, 2 lanes, homes along it. there's sidewalk, but it's not consistent. bits and pieces here and there that end in hedgerows and woodlots and stuff. so pedestrians usually walk in the street. can't recall a single one with so much as a flashlight or reflective clothing. and I'm lucky to see one not wearing all black (or other dark colors that are mostly indistinguishable at night). the only ones who seem to care about visibility are the one or two folks in electric wheelchairs I might see.

    they're usually not much concern when I'm riding my bike, because my slower speed affords me more reaction time. but they're definitely an issue when I'm driving.

    joggers, from what I've seen, tend to be better. My wife and I run with blinkie armbands and most of our running clothes (and shoes) have reflective piping. we also choose our run routes to avoid spots like that. the MUP in town does not have hours, so it is an option, but one that usually requires a headlamp because it's so dark. there are also some neighborhoods with good sidewalks that we prefer, too.

  3. #3
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    My ride is rife with this stuff

    I ride on a pretty much unlit bike (multi use) path. Lots of pedestrians with dark clothes and no lighting. Nor do most follow any kind of rule like walking on the right verge of the path. They frequently wear headphones and are in many ways oblivious. It gets really good when the dog walkers keep their dogs to the left (toward the center of the path) dicey on so many levels.

    When I finally get back to my neighborhood there are joggers in the bike lane, with no lighting. There's excellent sidewalk, but they might have to pass some slower pedestrians, so they run in the bike lane. I can't wait to query them as to whether the pictogram of the person riding a bike isn't plain enough to indicate it's a BIKE lane.

  4. #4
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    Part of my route takes me through a busy shopping (produce, meats, restaurants) area and people pop out from between cars and run into the street. I nearly crashed into a 10 y/o girl and her mom got pretty pissed off at me about it. They walked into the street no more than 4 or 5m ahead of me. I was probably going a good 20MPH...funny thing is they let the car about 15m in front of me go by before they popped into the street. Even with 700 lumens flasher and 700 + 400 lumens steady flashlight they looked right at me but completely ignored me.

    Joggers and some dog walkers, I've seen tend to be a lot better. A lot of the ones inside Golden Gate Park carry small flashlights and some of the dogs have blinkies on them, sometimes the leash and owner has lights too. Outside GGP, they tend to be less lit up...Kinda weird...but then again GGP is a heavily used commute route for bikes and cars alike.

    That said though, I see large numbers of poorly lit or unlit bicycles riding around too; sometimes without reflectors. I've seen some people with lights that only become visible around 10m front or rear. Pretty scary since 25MPH is 11m/s. Or some people attach the lights to their bags and then point it towards the ground or the sky.

  5. #5
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    In my area, there really aren`t a whole lot of pedestrians or cyclists- rural area, usually a mile or three from any one "point of interest" to the next. But I have noticed a number of after dark walkers out with flashlights, shining people like a cyclist with a helmet light would. The shiners are a big enough percentage of the overall group that I`m impressed. Maybe its only a couple people who do it, but just those few are enough to be a big percentage? Ninja cyclists I think I take more note of than ninja peds, probably because I just plain take more not of cyclists than peds (bikes grab my attention- sure you know how that goes). Maybe that`s also why ninja pedalers piss me off so much more than the invisible walkers. I don`t remember ever seeing another cyclist with lights out here, but apparently there is at least one other. Every couple months I get a report from my wife or one of my co-workers who think they see me, then it turns out to be a different lit up bike.


    Quote Originally Posted by nbwallace View Post
    When I finally get back to my neighborhood there are joggers in the bike lane, with no lighting. There's excellent sidewalk, but they might have to pass some slower pedestrians, so they run in the bike lane. I can't wait to query them as to whether the pictogram of the person riding a bike isn't plain enough to indicate it's a BIKE lane.
    I`m sure it`s a PITA, but I`d have a hard time complaining about that. It would take away my defense the next time a driver gets pissed at me for taking the lane when "there`s an excellent bike lane". Or an excellent bike path, excellent gutter, excellent dirt track next to the road, etc.
    Recalculating....

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jseko View Post
    Part of my route takes me through a busy shopping (produce, meats, restaurants) area and people pop out from between cars and run into the street. I nearly crashed into a 10 y/o girl and her mom got pretty pissed off at me about it. They walked into the street no more than 4 or 5m ahead of me. I was probably going a good 20MPH...funny thing is they let the car about 15m in front of me go by before they popped into the street.
    And I bet you weren`t riding salmon in that incedent like the guy on the recent vid from NY!
    Sounds like a pedestrian version of the same mistake that drivers often make by relating bikes to toys, not realizing that they easily can and do excede walking speed.


    Quote Originally Posted by jseko View Post
    A lot of the ones inside Golden Gate Park carry small flashlights and some of the dogs have blinkies on them, sometimes the leash and owner has lights too. Outside GGP, they tend to be less lit up...Kinda weird...but then again GGP is a heavily used commute route for bikes and cars alike.
    Lighting up a dog and leash? Wow, my congratulations to the people with enough brains/consideration to do that!

    JS, I wonder if the reason for the higher percentage of lit peds and bikes in GG Park compared to elsewhere in the city is related to the difference in lighting and visibility between "by choice" cyclists and "no option" cyclists. Not that it matters much, but it is an interresting observation.
    Recalculating....

  7. #7
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    I often see that too, either while I'm night riding hot summer nights or while driving at night. The only thing I can figure is they either think they can see every vehicle around them and feel safe enough, or they always run the same route and could probably complete it with their eyes closed. After a few runs with a light they might think it's unnecessary.

  8. #8
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    Jseko reminded me of another aggravating thing peds do. I'm beginning to think that peds feel entitled to the road. In business areas I see a lot of people just crossing the street without looking. When they see me some will pause and let me pass (logical thing to do given the relative distance between us and the speed I'm at, which isn't at all fast since it happens near an intersection and I'm slowing down). Some will just jump right in front of me, which is stupid. I hate the peds who cross the street without even looking and while crossing they aren't even looking for cars. Usually they're texting or fumbling with their phone. I expect you to run for your life when you're jay-walking! Especially on a busy street.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    And I bet you weren`t riding salmon in that incedent like the guy on the recent vid from NY!
    Sounds like a pedestrian version of the same mistake that drivers often make by relating bikes to toys, not realizing that they easily can and do excede walking speed.


    Lighting up a dog and leash? Wow, my congratulations to the people with enough brains/consideration to do that!

    JS, I wonder if the reason for the higher percentage of lit peds and bikes in GG Park compared to elsewhere in the city is related to the difference in lighting and visibility between "by choice" cyclists and "no option" cyclists. Not that it matters much, but it is an interresting observation.
    The eastern half of GGP is probably better lit than the area where I reside (aside from commercial areas). If I had to guess, I would say that people who go on a walk/run with or without dogs in GGP may be venturing further from their homes than people just walking around the block and may be associating that increased distance with increased risk. I'm sure you've heard people say "I'm only going to the store" or down and associate that with minimized risk.

    As for the illuminated leash, usually it's just a blinky on each end. The thing I hate most are those spool leashes that can go out to 10m because they're very difficult to see even when I'm on foot.

    As for the no option and by choice, I think that's certainly a possibility. I've probably spent around $200 on lighting between several flashlights, a rear blinky, rechargeable batteries, chargers, etc. I could see how that can be a huge financial burden. The other thing is that lights can appear deceivingly bright at an arms distance especially if viewed on-axis so they let the batteries go basically until the light is dead.

    One of the current bicycle trends is very minimalistic looking single speed bikes where there are no cables, levers, or brake calipers. I propose that some people choose to forgo lights or opt for very minimalistic ones (coin cell operated) to keep themselves inline with this trend.
    Last edited by jseko; 12-01-2012 at 01:06 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Lighting up a dog and leash? Wow, my congratulations to the people with enough brains/consideration to do that!
    Ruffwear makes rope leashes that have reflective strands woven in. Good solid stuff, too.

    (Not affiliated, just like their stuff/ideals)

    Anywho, not many people out after dark (at least around my commute) but the ones I do see tend to be, like others have noted, non lighted/reflected. Got scared the other night by a guy on a bike (no reflectors/lights) going the other way. Would never have known he was there if his chain wasn't bone dry.

  11. #11
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    One of the current bicycle trends is very minimalistic looking single speed bikes where there are no cables, levers, or brake calipers. I propose that some people choose to forgo lights or opt for very minimalistic ones (coin cell operated) to keep themselves inline with this trend.
    ah, the ubiquitous fixietard. I know some of these guys and the best I've seen are coin cell lights.

    I also share your ire for flexi leashes

  12. #12
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    I think ninjas simply don't realize that what they can see with night-adjusted eyes is not what a motorist/cyclist can see with headlight-adjusted eyes.

  13. #13
    jrm
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    If anyone is coming towards me

    in the opposite direction of traffic i hug the curb/shoulder forcing them to take the outside nearest traffic and say "wrong way".

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Lighting up a dog and leash? Wow, my congratulations to the people with enough brains/consideration to do that!
    Heheh... That was a point I made very clear with my girlfriend when buying a new leash - has to have reflective backing, because it makes all the difference. Whenever I talk to someone getting a new dog, I tell them that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    in the opposite direction of traffic i hug the curb/shoulder forcing them to take the outside nearest traffic and say "wrong way".
    The interesting thing is that there's no mandate requiring reflective clothing here in Seattle on the King County Trail system for pedestrians OR bicyclists, as such no cyclist can be prosecuted for wearing bike ninja clothing, nor can a runner or walker. Side note: we do have a law that states cyclists are required to have appropriate reflectors and lights on their bikes - a red rear reflector and a white headlight.

    We have the occasional jogger but lots of walkers without reflective gear running around the trails in Seattle. For the most part when it comes to ninja joggers, I consider it a matter of their compliance with the King County Code governing the use of trails (KCC 7.12.295). The KCC simply makes common sense a prosecutable law: Try not to run in to people that are doing the right thing, don't go too fast, give way to pedestrians, no cars on the trails, etc. I usually keep a copy of this in my bag too to give to any nice police officers that show up. Unfortunately, most runners are confused about another law (subsection 2), which allows them to salmon on the shoulder, but only in specific circumstances - in other words, not the trails.

    Now, if someone were to be running on the wrong side of the trail without any reflective gear, I hold my line and make sure I'm moving at less than 15 mph. Why? Because one of two things will happen - either I'll run smack bang in to them being utterly predictable, or they'll change their line. As a motorcyclist, I know that especially in winter conditions more people are injured from trying to avoid a deer and/or other obstacles they don't expect than just going straight through it. I've only ever had two bicycle incidents in over 50,000 miles of riding, at least 30,000 mi of that on trails (and that's really lowballing both numbers), and both times I either wouldn't or didn't receive a fine, for the same reason that if someone's driving their car the wrong way down a two way two lane road, I shouldn't receive a fine for staying on the correct side of the road.

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