LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along

The MUT is a dog


So, I was riding to racquetball the other day, and I had just turned from Wakarusa onto Clinton Parkway when the impatient driver of the car that had turned behind me roared past.

He gestured frantically toward, I assume, the multi-use trail (aka the MUT, the bike-n-hike, the bike path or, simply, that wide sidewalk that runs on either side of Clinton Parkway) and screamed, “GET OFF THE $%&ING ROAD, #$$^#*@!”

A couple of hours later, as I was riding home on the MUT, I came up behind a man and a woman walking a dog. I didn’t want to startle them, and nearby traffic was loud enough to prevent them from hearing my approach, so I slowed to a crawl, waited for the din to pass, then politely said, “Pardon me.”

The woman glanced up and snarled, “You can go around.”

I said that’s what I was trying to do.

She glared, but yielded a couple of inches for me to pass.

The dog nipped at me as I went by, and I thought the two same-day instances fitting for my feelings about the MUT. Walkers, runners and inline skaters don’t want bikes on the MUT, but cars don’t want bikes on the road.

In theory, the path is a nice idea. It provides a traffic-free place for the self-propelled to self-propel.

Trouble is, it’s not so traffic-free, especially along Clinton Parkway, where the MUT intersects with streets, driveways and parking lots nearly every block.

And I’ve had more near-death experiences at those zones of interaction than any place I’ve shared the road.

Part of the problem is, I never can decide on which side to ride.

On the road, legally I have to ride with traffic as far as practicable to the right (whatever that means). On the MUT, however, I’ve ridden on the right-hand path (with traffic) and the left (against it), and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Riding to the right seems most like riding in the road, but too often a car will pass on the street and turn right across the path. It’s almost as if the cyclist has ridden into the driver’s blind spot, and sometimes there just isn’t time to react.

Riding to the left makes cyclists more visible to oncoming traffic, but I don’t think drivers are used to seeing oncoming traffic to their left and right.

That said, I see the MUT as something of a necessary evil, especially on the stretch of Clinton Parkway from Iowa to Wakarusa. The road is 45 mph and narrow, with a median instead of a suicide turn lane in the center to allow leeway for passing cars.

So I jump, reluctantly, on the MUT and hope for the best — keeping my fingers on the brake levers the whole time.


gsxr600 8 years, 11 months ago

Is there really that much traffic on that sidewalk? When I drive by, sure I see people, but it's not anything crazy. I've never seen more than 2 people max on that sidewalk together.

Ken Harris 8 years, 11 months ago

I use the MUT between Iowa and Wakarusa. There are some spots to watch out for, sure, but it is nowhere near as bad as trying to traverse 23rd street east of Iowa. I've not had any problems with people on the sidewalk, as it is pretty wide...

For some reason, bells get heard on all the trails around town. Doesn't matter how loud I yell 'on your left', they never seem to hear me. One or two dings with the bell and they notice me pretty quickly and moved to the right...

mrbig 8 years, 11 months ago

Just stay off of 2 lane highways where there is no shoulder. Too many of you bike out on 1000 Road where there is NO PLACE FOR YOU! You make cars nearly hit you just to not hit an oncoming car. It's an accident waiting to happen! Get off the road.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 11 months ago

so, is this column actually for Andrew's pet peeves? the problems that are dogging him? the troubles that he encounters on his path through life?

you know Andrew, this blog could be summed quite simply: there ain't no cure for stupid! you got stupid driver. you got stupid walkeer. suppose there's stupid bikers too?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.