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Monday, June 19, 2006

Grand Illinois Trails...

We spent most of the GITAP ride on roads, but some of it was on trails and bike paths. Just a statistical reality: the people who had accidents had them on the paths. There was a runner-rider collision when the rider called out "on your left" - and the runners went right and left, respectively. Crash. Injuries.
Another incident (pictures will follow) - the path was a sidewalk, with a crack down the middle, parallel to the pathway direction. There was a 3/4" difference in height from one panel to the other: enough to quickly and efficiently dump a bike wheel. The bike went ninety degrees and right into the nice little "Jersey wall" kind of thing, which was adorned with protruding metal oak leaves (to discourage skateboarders, I believe). A precise encounter with the protrusion and the wheel stopped the bike cold and propelled the rider and bike neatly over the wall into the grass. No injuries to rider (amazing... without the oak leaf probably a lot of wall-induced road rash) but the wheel was totalled.
There were a few other road rash issues - none as serious as these - which could have happened on road or path (getting bottle with right hand and braking hard with left, clipout issues...) but the two biggies were on the paths and wouldn't have happened on the road.
Gary Cziko's analogy of paths being rather like parking lots is a good one... more hazards, more conflicts, a necessary thing sometimes but to be avoided when there are better alternatives - and when they're being designed, it should be with the idea to make them as little like parking lots as possible.

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