Author Topic: Keep left or keep right?  (Read 1366 times)

WhitstableDave

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Keep left or keep right?
« on: 12:13:57, 20/03/21 »
We've just returned from a trail run/walk in our local woods. A gravelly track called the Crab and Winkle Way passes through the woods and it's both a designated cycle route and a PRoW footpath.

We were heading along a short section of the track, keeping to the right in single file (we'd just passed a walker), when I saw a couple of cyclists coming towards us on the same side of the track as us.

I decided to 'stand my ground' and the cyclists swerved sharply around us at the last moment. The lead one shouted at me that we should be keeping to the left. I shouted back that we shouldn't, and that cyclists should always give way to pedestrians.

I know that there is no actual rule about which side of a path to walk or run on. However, I always face oncoming traffic on a road (except at blind bends) and it's become a habit that I carry over onto paths - including those shared with cyclists.

Of course, cyclists are used to keeping left on roads, so I can see things from their point of view too.

So my question is... do you keep to the right as I do? Or do you do pass oncoming cyclists (and pedestrians) on the left?

ninthace

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #1 on: 12:23:27, 20/03/21 »
I do as you do.  Also, if there is any doubt they have seen me or are going to me enough clearance I make myself wider (another use of walking poles).  So far I have resisted the temptation to give an offending cyclist a pole assisted dismount.
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shortwalker

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #2 on: 12:25:14, 20/03/21 »
As I do most of my walking with poles, I tend to keep to the middle, and then move left or right when I see people. Obviously, those that come up from behind me will need to make me aware and then I can move for them. Have had a couple of cyclists almost end up in the canal as they wouldn't slow down or stop.
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ninthace

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #3 on: 12:27:40, 20/03/21 »
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richardh1905

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #4 on: 12:38:26, 20/03/21 »
I tend to gravitate towards the left when walking. But the cyclists should ALWAYS give way to pedestrians on a path or bridleway, irrespective of what side of the path you are on - they are at fault.
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WhitstableDave

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #5 on: 12:55:22, 20/03/21 »
Phew, I'm quite relieved that I'm not alone on this.  :)

I now feel sufficiently emboldened to move on to oncoming runners. I admit to being a runner of sorts myself, but I've had a couple of run-ins with runners while I've been walking.

I believe (and I could be wrong) that with runners and walkers, it's a bit like steam and sail. The one moving faster should give way to the other. I'm also old enough (and presumably not 'modern' enough) to believe that young people should give way to old people (like me!).

I've had two significant incidents of angry exchanges with runners. One was when I was walking along a concrete promenade by the edge where there's a drop to the beach below. An oncoming runner also wanted to use the edge. I didn't give way, instead stopping dead to admire the view with her still a few yards from me. She had no choice but to swerve around me - shouting abuse. Presumably, she thought that she was the serious exerciser and that I, as a casual stroller, should make way. (Other second incident was similar.)  >:(

Eyelet

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #6 on: 13:04:19, 20/03/21 »
I mountain bike as well as walk and believe in consideration for other path users at all times by both hikers and cyclists. I tend to walk or ride on the left, but will change as circumstances dictate e.g. large puddles, mud, more room on one side than the other because of bushes, configuration of the walking party etc.

On my bike, I always slow down for walkers, especially if they have dogs or kids with them and let then know I'm there if I'm coming up behind them and agree with Richard that pedestrians have priority. As a walker I am happy to give cyclists an earful if they don't show me the same respect.

IMHO Sustrans have it about right: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/get-active/2019/everyday-walking-and-cycling/advice-on-using-shared-use-paths

BuzyG

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #7 on: 13:18:48, 20/03/21 »
Too hilly around here for cyclists.  I stopped cycling after we moved here.  More likely to meet horses coming the other way.

GoneWest

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #8 on: 13:27:42, 20/03/21 »
...it's a bit like steam and sail. The one moving faster should give way to the other...

Power-driven vessels of any kind must indeed give way to vessels under sail, except in certain specific circumstances, but it's nothing to do with their respective speeds. Here's an extract from the ColRegs, Rule 18:


Except where Rules 9,10 and 13 otherwise require:
 (a) A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of: (i) a vessel not under command; (ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre; (iii) a vessel engaged in fishing; (iv) a sailing vessel.
 (b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of: (i) a vessel not under command; (ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre; (iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.

Many of the maritime rules are based on arbitrary conventions but this bit of the document is clearly based on "common sense", which, as many others have remarked, is not actually very common. This deficiency evidently applies to some pedestrians and cyclists, too!
« Last Edit: 13:49:32, 20/03/21 by GoneWest »

gunwharfman

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #9 on: 13:39:56, 20/03/21 »
I tend to go to the left if on a footpath, but on the right when on a wider walking track, a dedicated cycle track, or a road. My objective is to face the cyclists and cars coming at me so they have to 'curve' around me. I feel it's useful to make them think about what they are doing, or should be doing and I believe I'm that much safer, and I like to look at them straight in the eye. But I wouldn't bet my life on it though!

If I'm on the left and cyclists or cars are coming towards me then I think, that if they believe that they can just carry on driving in a straight line they might not give me a thought? I do however change sides on some bends, especially those with high hedges.

I experience this 'problem' every day that I run, all of my routes also have one short distance on a narrow tarmac road. On one steep straight(ish) sunken section, however, I run in the middle of the road to force cars (in particular) and cyclists to slow down as they see me ahead. Nothing worse than the fast ones who think they drive better than Lewis Hamilton, for example, one small bridge at the bottom of this section has been demolished by these fantastic drivers 4 times in 2020!

The only time I notice that people can get really confused is on a shared pedestrian/cyclist pavement, some go left some go right, my instinct is to keep left.

 

Skip

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #10 on: 13:44:13, 20/03/21 »
Highway Code Rules for Pedestrians - Rule 2
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-pedestrians-1-to-35

Exactly!

If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic.

Don't get me started on pushbikes! :(   It's very flat round here which probably explains why we walkers have been plagued by lycra louts since the pandemic arrived >:(
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ninthace

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #11 on: 14:21:14, 20/03/21 »
Power-driven vessels of any kind must indeed give way to vessels under sail, except in certain specific circumstances, but it's nothing to do with their respective speeds. Here's an extract from the ColRegs, Rule 18:


Except where Rules 9,10 and 13 otherwise require:
 (a) A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of: (i) a vessel not under command; (ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre; (iii) a vessel engaged in fishing; (iv) a sailing vessel.
 (b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of: (i) a vessel not under command; (ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre; (iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.

Many of the maritime rules are based on arbitrary conventions but this bit of the document is clearly based on "common sense", which, as many others have remarked, is not actually very common. This deficiency evidently applies to some pedestrians and cyclists, too!
  When I went through Dartmouth, all Rules had one additional exception not quoted in the above - the Isle of Wight Ferry
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rural roamer

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #12 on: 14:35:07, 20/03/21 »
We always keep to the right when walking on roads, unless a sharp bend is coming up. So therefore we do the same on paths too. The worst culprits are the walkers who seem oblivious to fact that you are there at all and continue to walk two abreast along the path as though they own it forcing you to the very edge of the path. This happened to us on Offa’s Dyke up on Hatterall Ridge when we were forced almost into the bog  >:(

WhitstableDave

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #13 on: 15:01:35, 20/03/21 »
We always keep to the right when walking on roads, unless a sharp bend is coming up. So therefore we do the same on paths too. The worst culprits are the walkers who seem oblivious to fact that you are there at all and continue to walk two abreast along the path as though they own it forcing you to the very edge of the path. This happened to us on Offa’s Dyke up on Hatterall Ridge when we were forced almost into the bog  >:(

I couldn't agree more! These inconsiderate (oblivious) walkers have been the reason why I've actually avoided the main tracks through our local woods (tracks that would normally be deserted at this time of the year).

A little while ago, I was walking along a narrow country lane when I caught up with two people, each with a dog on a lead. They were keeping a 2m distance from each other by walking on either side of the lane. I let them know I was coming up behind them and they both stopped - fully expecting me to squeeze between them. I stopped and looked at them, thinking that one would move to the same side as the other so as to allow me to pass at a suitable distance. Nothing happened and we all stood still for a moment. So I had to ask that one of them move out of the way and let me pass. Thankfully, one did...

Eyelet

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Re: Keep left or keep right?
« Reply #14 on: 18:11:49, 20/03/21 »