Friday, October 1, 2010

Accident on the Katy Trail

Accident on the Katy Trail

The Friends of the Katy Trail is saddened to hear about the tragic accident on the Katy Trail Thursday night (Sept. 30) involving a jogger and a bicyclist. It was an unfortunate reminder that those on the Trail must be alert to other users for everyone’s well being.

Here are a few guidelines to follow to make the Katy Trail a safe and enjoyable place:

Keep to the right.
Announce “passing on left” when passing someone in front of you.
Always look both ways before moving across the Trail.
Maintain a safe speed and remain in control at all times.
Watch children carefully.
If using headphones, turn the volume down so that you can hear those behind you. Keep pets on a short leash.
Stop and look for traffic before crossing at Knox and Harvard streets

27 comments:

Lindsey said...

I think part of the danger on Katy Trail are the people on road bikes going at high speeds. The path is not a wide area and not every biker alerts you that they are coming up from behind. I don't have a problem with bikers on the trail but I have a problem with people going at high speeds on the trail. Go to White Rock Lake or somewhere with less pedestrians if you want to go at a higher speed!

Anonymous said...

I am frustrated with everyone's comment about the use of headphones. I was on the trail the other day after the accident and kept my headphones off to see if I could hear a bike approaching.
You cannot hear a bike until it's right up on you. The main problem is bikers riding at high speeds and being reckless. They fly in between and weave in and out of pedestrians. Katy trail has always been an accident waiting to happen. Sadly it had to take someone's life

Anonymous said...

Would it make sense for the Katy trail to replace the pavement with fine gravel, just like the trails that surround the lakes in Austin?
This would slow down the bikers, provide cushioning for the joggers knees, discourage graffiti, ease maintenance, and provide a more natural scenery.

Anonymous said...

Get the fast bikes off the trail. They make the trail dangerous. Kids, dogs, strollers. How many more must die or be injured. Why do we need to accommodate militant bicyclist, it does not sense for them to be on a 3 mile trail. There are many miles of Highland Park streets that they can go on, that are not compatible for the majority that use Katy Trail. Remove fast bikers and the problem is immediately solved.

Anonymous said...

Get the fast bikes off the trail. They make the trail dangerous. Kids, dogs, strollers. How many more must die or be injured. Why do we need to accommodate militant bicyclist, it does not sense for them to be on a 3 mile trail. There are many miles of Highland Park streets that they can go on, that are not compatible for the majority that use Katy Trail. We do not need the constant yelling of "on your left" or whatever, why can't we listen to headphones, why does it need to be like walking on a freeway. Remove fast bikers and the problem is immediately solved.

Anonymous said...

Neither cyclists NOR joggers would have a problem if everyone would just be aware of their surroundings and look around before turning or passing! I don't think it has anything to do w/ headphones - just realize you're sharing the track w/ people who are slower or faster than you and use caution.

Anonymous said...

What does it take to get the bicycles off the trail? It is too small to accomidate the speeds that they travel while people are walking babies, dogs and teaching young children to ride their bikes. IT is soooo sad that somone had to lose their life to bring this to light. I was out their yesterday (Sunday) and no one has slowed down. Is it the City of Dallas that would outlaw bicyclists? It needs to happen.

Clint said...

I am an avid runner and biker on the Katy Trail.

I feel that both people were at fault here.

The runner and all users of the trail need to be aware of their surroundings, look before making unpredictable direction changes and if using a portable music player, be extra aware of your surroundings.

The cyclist should have reduced speed when passing someone who is clearly not aware of them and be aware that their bike could be considered a weapon when used in an unsafe manner.

That being said, I think that the Friends of Katy should consider extending the runner path along the entire length of the Katy Trail. This would help to separate runners and walkers from people on roller-blades and bikers.

In addition, people walking with dogs, strollers or friends need to be aware of runners and bikers and keep to the right. Just as on the street, slow traffic needs to keep far right and doggies should be closely controlled.

I have almost been tripped while running by an inattentive woman on her cell phone with her dog on one of those retractable leashes, when her dog decided to cut across the trail right in front of me.

Let's not run, walk or ride like we drive in Dallas - Like we are the only person in the whole world.

Kisses, Clint

Anonymous said...

I'm a biker on the Katy Trail. The trail is supposed to be for everyone. I ride in the low 2nd gear and have high pedal reps to keep my heart rate up. This speed is not reckless. I also announce when I'm coming. The problem are the people on the trail who are unaware. I have had walkers/runners abruptly turn around without first looking. I have yelled multiple times of my coming, but their headphones are turned up so high they can't hear me. Don't blame the cyclist. The girl unfortunately, turned into him because she didn't look first.

Anonymous said...

Cyclists and Roller Bladers should not be on the trail. They go WAY too fast to be heard even without headphones. Unfortunately its now been proven that this area is too small for so many different types of traffic. I think it should be kept to pedestrians - walkers and runners alike for everyone's safety.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised accidents like this are not more common

Recent data points: cyclist nearly gets crushed by a skater making an unannounced, high speed 180 degree turn at WRL. DPD investigates incident on KT where a cyclist hit a tree trying to avoid a pedestrian making an unannounced 180 turn. Cyclist got to fix his bike and bandage multiple wounds. Cyclist stop on trail to avoid being clotheslined by a dog leash strung across full width of the trail with 1/2 mile + visibility. 6 year old drives me into the bridge railing to T-bone.

Partitioning bikes and pedestrians seems like the obvious answer but few pedestrians on Katy Trail use the pedestrian only section of the trail. On the E side of WRL where the trail is partitioned, I routinely see pedistrains in the bike-only partition riding their "invisible bicycles". Same phenomena occurs in Cali. Point: you claim you want separation from cyclist but in at least 3 cases you don’t use it or abuse it.

I get that pedestrians don't want to share the trail with cyclist at either WRL or KT - it's obvious in everything you do: from stairs-only access points to KT; your unannounced u-turns into trailing traffic; the way you traverse trails and roads without ever looking back to see if the lane is clear; to walking 2-6 abreast which forces faster runners, skaters and cyclist behind you directly into the opposite direction walkers, runners, skaters and cyclist on the other side of the road / trail.

The really gifted pedestrians can consume an entire 1/2 of the trail at either WRL or KT that can easily accommodate a single-file cyclist and pedestrian with room to spare. I *luv* the 3-6 abreast crowd? Did you not see the 10-20-car / bicycle backup on E. Lawther or KT?

And where the law recommends that pedestrians walk opposite direction on a road-way, why would you ever think that it’s a good idea to concurrently walk both directions on the same side of the road 2-6 abreast?

You wield your “I’m a pedestrian” right-of-way like a sword in parking lots, while crossing or travelling on streets and on multi-use trails like KT / WRL. It’s your world boss (but you’re putting everyone else, including yourselves, at risk).

The car -> bike / pedestrian interaction works better because the cars generally follow rules.

As a car driver, cyclist and walker, I notice that pedestrians in particular do anything they want, anywhere they want and follow no rules.

Anonymous said...

walking and speeding objects don't mix. The high speed road bikes are going way too fast. A suggestion might be to have specific times of day for walking only and cycling only. My guess is that the bikes wont slow down and you will expect that the walkers "need to be aware of their surroundings" as the bikes fly by at 30-40 mph. I pray no one else dies while the Friends of the Katy Trail try to please everyone. The board of the Katy Trail should attend the funeral and then meet afterwards to fix the problem. Decide what the trail is for and enforce it.

Anonymous said...

I am a friend of the Katy Trail, but if the board members do not step up and do something to regulate the outrageous high speeds of cyclists on the trail, then I may not be a friend much longer. The speeds at which these cyclist ride are ridiculous; there needs to be a speed limit. Just as driving, there are rules of the road - SPEED LIMITS. We don't want drivers getting out of control. The same should be done on the Katy Trail.

This trail should be used for joggers, walkers, skaters, and LEISURELY cyclists. If you are a cyclist and want to act like you are training for the Tour de France GO TO WHITE ROCK LAKE. My husband is a cyclist, so I am not against cyclists...there is just a time & place. The Katy Trail is not it.

The board puts out these 'rules', so cavalier. Go to the funeral of this young girl; think of the life the cyclist who killed her has to live...then hopefully you'll be compelled to make changes.

Your rules say to 'watch children carefully'; are we now supposed to put our young children on a leash; gosh forbid they should stray & be run over & killed.

Finally, I have participated in the 5k fund raiser for years...but board, why is it called the 'The Michelob Ultra No. 12 Katy 5K Run-Walk-Skate' Do you see a place for cyclist? NO.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the Katy Trail and have biked it, ran it, and walked it over 10 years. It is less than a mile from where I live. When discussion here addresses usage policies on the KT, I think that this terrible accident should be considered in light of the experiences of many tens of thousands of people over more than 10 years of Katy Trail usage, which as far as I know does not include other accidents such as this. I think this is very significant considering the heavy usage of the trail over such a long time, and I think it would still be significant even if there have been some other accidents such as this.

Several accounts in these comments demonstrate great care and consideration on the part of cyclists. In my own riding, I’ve also seen a relative lack of awareness of pedestrians compared to cyclists, and I have had some near mishaps in compensating for that. Contrary to what one of the above comments claims, cyclists are not moving at 30-40 miles an hour.

I sense that pedestrian and cyclist approaches to the KT from Dallas streets are far more dangerous treks than the KT itself ever is — whatever KT walkers think of KT cyclists, pedestrians and cyclists are both virtually invisible to the typical Dallas driver. So the suggestion that cyclists should content themselves w/ long drives to White Rock Lake or the streets of Highland Park is in part an unknowing advocacy for more accidents.

I feel that consideration of any usage policies on the KT needs to be well-situated in the broader context of that shows this terrible accident to be an exception, and in the context of a city that is largely inhospitable to both pedestrians and cyclists.

Anonymous said...

The trail is not the place for road cyclists who want to go fast. The trail is not the place for walkers to let their small children run free.

The trail can be shared by cyclists going slowly and by joggers who will not stop on the trail.

S.M. Malloy said...

I am so sorry to hear of this accident.

For safety purposes, small children, walkers, joggers, and dogs should not be allowed to come within 100 yards of the trail. They should just stay in their neighborhoods and walk on the sidewalks, since they're not going to get much distance anyway. You could let rabbits on the trail because they are very fast.

The trail should mainly be for speed biking and perhaps some types of mopeds (as long as they don't go more than 50 mph- this is a nature trail, after all). I am tired of the dirty looks I get as I zoom past joggers on my motor scooter, which I have never crashed, not even once, while sober.

If people follow these guidelines we can all enjoy the trail in peace without having to worry about injuring another careless pedestrian.

Again, my heart goes out to all involved in this tragic accident.

Anonymous said...

Starter set of rules for WRL / KT.

Get rid of the exceptions for pedestrian travel on roads co-located in Dallas parks like WRL. We need 1 set of rules as the risks exists on both park and public roads.

20 MPH speed limit on trail (State law in Colorado)

Announce passing to the left (State law in Colorado)

*All* trail users should remain single file to the right most side of trail except when passing (just like state auto rule and the also ignored sign on the SE corner of WRL that reads "all trail users single file". There is no provision for going opposite direction on any of the trails. Bidirection traffic in the same lane doubles the # of conflicts.

Clear the traffic behind you prior to changing "lanes" in the trail(just like driving)

Where cyclist / pedestrian partitions exist at WRL and hopefully KT, respect the partition

When walking, jogging, riding on the road, should uniformly walk opposite direction single-file only

If a sidewalk/ trail exist near the road, use the sidewalk / trail (state or Dallas law for pedestrians). PS: When did pedestrains get too good to walk on the sidewalk anyway?

No dogs or dogs on a very short leash. (we already have dedicated dog parks and other alternatives)

WRL + KT is not the place to bring your child unless they can hold their line on the trail.

Get *OFF* the trail to fix your shoe, talk on the phone, have a drink, have a conversation, or fix your bike, especially at night or when opposite direction traffic faces a low rising / setting sun. Rule of common sense but rarely followed.

When cycling on the road, ride single file, same direction unless you are making the speed limit (Tx state law. For example, 20 on E. Lawther + school zones, 25 on W. Lawther, 30+ everywhere else). Hint: 99% of you can't do it and should be single file when cars are present. Why 4-12 mph pedestrians travel > than 1 abreast and bi-directional on same side of road when traffic exists in same lane is beyond me as it creates conflict for all other road users.

Night ops:

Pedestrian trail users need at least rear lights that can be seen by faster same direction traffic when trail lights are off or non-functioning

Cyclist need front + rear lights when riding road or trail @ night when trail lights are off or non-functioning.

Pedestrians walking opposite direction on road need a front light. No one can give you your right of way if you can't be seen.

Anonymous said...

I think common sense and common courtesy would go a very long way in preventing any more tragic accidents on the trail. Pedestrians should stay towards the right, using no more than 1/2 the lane on their side, and look where they are going. Comparing this to driving - you shouldn't drive down the middle of a two way street, you shouldn't block more than your lane of traffic, you shouldn't change lanes without signaling and checking your blind spot, you shouldn't cross the street without looking both ways, the left is for faster traffic and passing - the same goes for jogging and biking on a shared trail. Apply common sense and some courtesy and we should all be able to safely use the trail.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of angry comments against some cyclists. Anyone know how fast some of these cyclist are riding on that trail? 10? 15 mph?

Anonymous said...

regulating speeds for bikes good idea. HP and Dallas cops with radar guns and a ticket book would slow things down. hate to get the cops involved but my speeding ticket slowed me way down. the safety of all is worth it.

Anonymous said...

Fundamental question: Do pedestrians get walk / run 2, 3 and 4 abreast on KT and WRT so that all faster traffic has to pass in oposing lane?

Do pedestrians get to concurrently walk both directions on the same side of a trail or roadway at KT or WRT and other roads in Dallas?

If pedestrians can walk opposite direction down a trail, can cyclist ride opposide direction?

If there is a sidewalk adjacent to a roadway, should pedestrians use that sidewalk (a dallas law) or is it preferred to walk 2-3 abreast down the street?

If a runner can cause the same injury to a pedestrian as what happened to Ms. Huddleston on KT, will trail users seek to ban fast running on KT and WRT as is currently being suggested with cyclist?

If a pedestrian walks into a cyclist, is the cyclist ALWAYS wrong

If a child / dog accompanied by a parent drives faster passing traffic in the opposite lane off the road and into harms way, is the faster still wrong or should children / dog have to hold a constant line, otherwise find an alternative venue that doesn't put both parties at risk?

Where cyclist are said to be swerving down the trail, what is the root cause? Are the cyclist incapable of holding a constant line or are they having to avoid other trail users walking 2-3 abreast or solo users walking dead center down a lane?

Blondie said...

I run no the trail regularly and the bikers ARE a problem. The thing is, headphones or not, if I trip while running or get a cramp in my leg or whatever else, the bikers ride so fast that they do not have time to react. While some bikers are responsible, many of them are not. Just a week after the accident, I saw at least 6 or 7 guys ramping up the speed on the trail when it was already dark!! I mean, come on. There are too many people, kids, dogs and runners/walkers on the trail for biking at high speeds to be safe.

Melody said...

Almost three month later and the bikes are still flying. I would love to see the trail become strictly pedestrian. I'm amazed at how often a biker will pass pedestrians when opposite lane pedestrians are RIGHT THERE. I'm a biker and I go to White Rock Trail to do my biking. On Katy Trail, I still have to be overly cautious going southbound to cross over to the pedestrian lanes. There's little kids and dogs who don't think before they cross. They shouldn't have to worry about some biker hitting them.

Anonymous said...

Pedestrians and bike traffic needs to be partitioned on the trail.

Draw a center-line down the middle of the trail. This line may have to be moved 6 inches to 1 foot to the east of actual trail centerline of the common trail.

Divide the west 1/2 of the trail in half. Assign north and south bound cyclists to the two west-most lanes.

Divide the east side of the trail in half. Assign north and south-bound cyclists to the two east-most lanes.

Traffic could be segmented in one of two ways depending on how you wanted pedestrian traffic to transition between the common and pedestrian-only lanes.

Option A

?? ped-only section
???? common section of trail
PPBB P = ped, B = bike
1234 Lane #

Option B

?? ped-only section
???? common section of trail
PPCC P = ped, B = bike
1234 Lane #

Option A has lanes 2 and 3 running in the same direction which reduces the # times slower traffic in lane 2 is passed by faster traffic in lane 3

Option B has lanes 2 and 3 running in the opposite direction which lets lane 2 see faster oncoming traffic + has all traffic running on the right (U.S. style) side of their respective lanes.

Assumptions & Challenges:

All traffic would have to roll single-file except when passing, just like you were taught to drive.

Skaters seem to barely fit on one side of the trail.

Where White Rock trail is partioned to ped and cylist only lanes, peds are routinely in the bike-only lanes, are walking / running bi-directional on the same side of E. + W. Lawther, are walking on the wrong direction of the trail.

If a 10 MPH speed limit gets passed, will runners be subject to the same speed limit?

Anonymous said...

Trying again...

Traffic could be segmented in one of two ways depending on how you wanted pedestrian traffic to transition between the common and pedestrian-only lanes.

Option A

↑↓ ped-only section
↑↓↑↓ common section of trail
PPBB P = ped, B = bike
1234 Lane #

Option B

↓↑ ped-only section
↓↑↓↑ common section of trail
PPCC P = ped, B = bike
1234 Lane #

Option A has lanes 2 and 3 running in the same direction which reduces the # times slower traffic in lane 2 is passed by faster traffic in lane 3

Option B has lanes 2 and 3 running in the opposite direction which lets lane 2 see faster oncoming traffic + has all traffic running on the right (U.S. style) side of their respective lanes.

Anonymous said...

Rode White Rock twice this week.

1st ride has two differt groups of runners walking 2 abreast on the opposide side of the multi-use trail.

On day two, I saw two runners in the bike-only lanes on S.E. Lawther.

Q.>Do you know you running in the bike-only line?

A.>Yes.

Q.>Why is that?

A.>Because the trail is big enough for everyone to get by


One of the dominant comments on this blog is that (1.) pedestrians want to be segmented from bikes and (2.) faster cyclist should go to White Rock.

And yet when you get to White Rock, pedestrians are in the bike-only lanes. This drives all faster traffic into the backs of runners in right-most lane or into oncoming traffic in opposite lane.

Where are bikes supposed to go if bi-direction pedestrain traffic consume the full width of each lane on E. Lawther between the two boat clubs, the bike only lanes on S.E. Lawther, and same direction traffic on both sides of the multi-use trail?

Carol said...

Great tips! I think anywhere we go, one should respect everyone's space. And it's not just for safety reasons.