Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fears and Anxieties On the Lakefront Path

It's a beautiful sunny day. You're on the lakefront path. Maybe you are biking or maybe you're jogging or maybe you're walking. You are most definitely not alone. And if you are relaxing then you are in danger.

Anytime while biking and you pass a walker you could find yourself sprawled on top of them because they have taken a single step to the side. It's a constant fear.

Regularly while walking a bike will whiz past you unseen until you feel the rush of air as they pass inches to your side. It's a constant fear.

As a walker you don't see them coming and as a biker you know they can't see you coming.

The solution is separate paths. Sure, just as soon as the millions of dollars are organized and committed the Park District will get right on it.

But in the meantime, how's about spending a few thousand dollars and plant some signs that would create a self-reinforcing cultural change whereby the walkers and joggers shift to the other side of the path?

It's not like we haven't had it drilled into us since toddler-hood that on a road without sidewalks we walk on the left facing the oncoming car traffic. It would become self-regulating. If you forget, the dirty looks from walkers doing it correctly, the ones that you have to move out of their way, would quickly serve as a reminder to shift to the other side. Or maybe you would get lucky and it would be a friendly smiling word of reminder.

Is it needed? Damn straight it is. In the last five years there has been at least one civil lawsuit won by a victim of a walker/biker crash on the lakefront path. Tens of thousands of dollars passed hands. Even if it was insurance money it's a big deal. The fact that I don't even remember which party sued is irrelevant. It could have gone either way.

Really it is the Park District that maybe should get sued for not pursing this SIMPLE, CHEAP and DOABLE improvement to our enjoyment of our lakefront path.