You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 7 a.m.

Walking on paths in Gallup Park a dangerous undertaking with bicyclists zooming by

By Letters to the Editor

As everyone who was in this area knows, Sunday, March 11, was a beautiful spring day. Not surprisingly, hundreds of people of all ages flocked to our wonderful Gallup Park to walk, jog, roller blade, and bike along its trails. We walked mainly on the busiest trail, the paved pedestrian/bike path that is a section of the border-to-border trail.

Unfortunately, we were reminded again and again of the potential danger of mixing pedestrians with high-speed bicycle traffic on the same relatively narrow path.


A jogger makes her way along a trail at Ann Arbor's Gallup Park.

File photo |

Fortunately, we did not witness any accidents, but we were often unpleasantly startled by bicycles zooming past us from behind without warning. How can they know when a pedestrian (especially a child) might decide to stop going straight ahead and move across the path to the left (to view a plant or a bird or whatever reason)? We are very concerned that sooner or later there is going to be a serious bicycle-pedestrian accident in Gallup Park.

We realize that it would be inappropriate to recommend the elimination of bicycles from Gallup Park. However, we do think the mixing of pedestrians and bicycles could be made safer if certain rules for bicycles were prominently posted at various access points.

Specifically, we think that bicyclists should be told to cycle cautiously and always to call out a loud warning and slow down (at least to not more than 10 mph) when passing pedestrians from behind. Some of the bicyclists who passed us did call out before passing us (usually just "on your left"), and we always thanked them when they did so, but even they rarely slowed down unless there happened to be a bunch of pedestrians that they had to thread their way through.

Personally we prefer the warning "bike on your left" so that it is clear what is coming past us.

We hope that the Park Department and the Park Advisory Council will discuss this problem, and that something like we have suggested will be done in the near future to reduce the likelihood of a serious bicyclist-pedestrian accident in our much-valued Gallup Park.

Art and Shirley Wolfe
Ann Arbor



Tue, Apr 3, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

Since moving to Ann Arbor 6 years ago I have been mystified by the accepted arrangement that pedestrians walk on paths and sidewalks at their own risk and are expected to yield to moving vehicles barreling up behind them. In one case I know of a pedestrian was successfully sued by a bicyclist who came up behind them and ran over their dog. Ann Arbor bicyclists are the reason I am glad I no longer have a dog. Until bicyclists in Ann Arbor show some respect for their fellow citizens and take the trouble to learn common rules of the road I am certainly not going to move an inch to make life easier for them.


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

Truth: Human beings resist having their personal behavior adjusted in any way. But they're always miffed because OTHERS are equally resistant to having their personal behavior adjusted in any way. (We are a doomed species.) Border to Border Trails FAQ: The greatest contribution to the creation of Border to Border Trails has always been from: CYCLISTS. League of American Bicyclists, League of Michigan Bicyclists as well as the Washtenaw BIKING & WALKING Coalition have been championing B to B Trails from the beginning. So you uninformed pedestrians can get off your high horses as of now and get your feet back on the ground. Question to Startled Pedestrians: Where did you learn that there's never any reason to be aware of what's BEHIND you?? Just because you passed an area, doesn't mean it suddenly ceases to exist. There is no freedom to NOT look behind you, it's not a right. Also, if your life is so fraught with worries, then find your own Fortress of Solitude to think about it. A PUBLIC place is not a Fortress of Solitude: just thought you should know.

Sandy Castle

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

It sounds to me like the writer is new to this park. I am a frequent user of Gallup Park. Sometimes on a bike, but often running or walking. BE AWARE! Whether you are a biker or a pedestrian running or walking, be aware of yourself and those around you. It's quite apparent that this path is open to everyone. If you have little kids or dogs that wander to the wrong side of the path, keep ahold of them. Practice courtesy. If you walk or run, stay on your side of the path and look behind you before you pass. When you bike, announce your presence, either by voice or by bell, when you come upon pedestrians. It's pretty simple and we've been practicing it there for years.

Jake C

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

In my opinion, many people seem to think "own the road" (or bike path) in this town. Drivers think they own the road because they have a big giant car so everyone else should get out of the way. People who walk 3-4 wide on the sidewalk downtown at a snail's pace so no one can get around them. Cyclists who are focused more on their heart rate than on what's going on around them. Dog walkers who let little Fido just zip around wherever he wants. It's not about whether you're using a bike or a car or your feet, just use some common sense, pay attention to what's going on around you, and have some courtesy. Thank you, and good day.

Ron Granger

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Have you ever encountered those walkers who walk shoulder to shoulder, blocking the entire path? It does not matter whether it is a park or a sidewalk downtown. Some of them don't even feel the need to make room for someone walking in the opposite direction. How about the dog owners who don't control their dogs and allow them to jump on you, with their muddy paws and slobber? I like dogs, but I prefer to initiate the contact.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Here's a thought. Walkers, get out of town to walk. Go to one of the wonderful nearby Nature Areas that the County has provided. Actually see nature instead of people and bikes and grass and groomed whatever. Get away from the mayhem to where the bikes can't go, or at least aren't supposed to. When mountain bikes first came on the scene way back when, we had the same problem on the Potowatami trail. We were scared to walk there because of fear of being hit by a bike zooming over a hill. We found places to walk where they aren't allowed. I can't see Ann Arbor banning bikes on your Gallup Park WALKWAYS. They love their bikes too much. They don't even enforce the laws pertaining to bikes, like stopping at lights and stop signs.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

About that "walkway" thing, from the Gallup Park section on the city website: "and over three miles of asphalt trails that are popular for biking, rollerblading, walking and running."

Tintin Milou

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

We should enforce a speed limit that is typical for residential neighborhoods with playing kids on the street: 25 mph. Sounds good?


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

A bike zipping by you at 25 mph is too fast. No reaction time in case the person steps to the left or right.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:47 a.m.

Cyclist seem to think they own the road and walking path in this town..its a shame we don't have the police force to dish out some tickets to these fools. .


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

If you have ever been on a road bike, you would know that it has very skinny tires. These tires are so skinny that you need to stay on pavement or risk falling on unstable ground. Just like driving a car, walkers should stay to the right and not block the whole path. If you are a frequent park goer, you should know that bicycles are much faster than walkers, so give them some space and stop acting surprised every time one passes you.

Homeland Conspiracy

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Ban all bikes..."Think Of The Children"


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Wheels = tools of the devil! (in Ann Arbor, at least)


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

I'm outraged!!! We built all these beautiful pedestrian crossings around the city and the walkers don't use them? Now they go to the parks?

Dog Guy

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

You pleasure walkers please have some understanding for cyclists. Many of them must rely on their bicycles for transportation since their DUI convictions.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

Give cyclist an IQ test and there would be far less of them on the roads and walks!


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Actually, pass a law to remove warning labels from household products. The problem will solve itself.

Ryan Bowles

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

It sounds like the essence of the problem is too much demand for high quality recreational opportunities and not enough supply.

Berda Green

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

ppl with bikes need to say excuse me can i get by and stop being rude


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

now you know what cars feel like with bike paths in the street. expecially when you have two side by side.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

yes so have i. but i have seen way way more bikers. example yesterday i went down stadium blvd. two bikers side by side over the line. nothing against bikers but they need to think about others. i like the posting about a bell. that is the way to go.

Stephen Landes

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

I'm seeing runners in the bike lanes even when there are sidewalks.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

As both, an avid walker and cyclist here are a few basic rules we should all remember in order to have a safe and enjoyable time doing either activity. 1. If you are walking, walk to the right side of the path. 2. If you are cycling, stay to the left side of the path. 3. If you are cycling and you encounter a group walkers ahead of you, sound your bell or alert the folks of your presence and your intention to pass them on the left or right. 4. If you are walking a dog off a lead, don't. It is just flat out rude to both cyclists and walkers. Let's share the paths and be safe.

Jake C

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Would love to see those guidelines on some signs around Gallup park and other multi-use nature paths.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

This is almost a non story. It is good to point out some of the dangers but common sense is needed. No remedy except a little cooperation and patience. It is kind of like driving during the peak of rush hour in bad weather. The bike path is narrow. It needs to be twice as wide and as some suggested, a dotted line in the middle. The city should forgo the art projects and look into widening the Gallup Park bike path...that's another story. Be safe to one and all.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

In full agreement with everything you said but would take it a step further. Cyclists and walkers/joggers simply don't mix. Sooner or later someone is going to get seriously injured. The bikes need to go somewhere else. Go Green Go White


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Use common sense, bring your patience. Green trees and whitewater streams.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Can we talk about "Dog People" too? You know the type....they bring their dogs to the park.....grrrrrr!


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

In Southern California, where the traffic is absurd along the beach [bike]path, police enforce bicycle speed no differently than a motorized vehicle moving violation. On the other hand, any avid cyclist avoids these congested areas anyways. I'd agree with other posters that an "on your left" often results in an increased likelihood that a pedestrian will be startled and jump into ones path, or perhaps even have a heartattack.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

I don't think any of this goes far enough. I'm sure you're all familiar with insects and falling leaves whizzing past as you walk with no regard to you whatsoever! I've even been hit before!Since, like cyclists, leaves and insects don't have eyes, I propose installing alarms on all of them or banning them from the parks outright. Dogs without leashes however, are very cute.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Really, though, this is one of the most hilarious opinion pieces ever.

Richard Wickboldt

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

We are paying plenty of tax money to have bike paths on many of our roads. These bike paths are being installed just for bicyclist. Their very own special space to be safe in. So let's ban bikes from park paths so the bike paths can get full use. The park paths should be the very special dedicated safe places for pedestrians. We pedestrians need our own special dedicated walking space! Walking in a park is supposed to be a delightful, stress free and relaxing experience. Why should we break that serenity by making pedestrians worry if they are going to get run down by bikes in a park. I say again ban bikes altogether from park paths!

John Q

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 4:16 a.m.

Following Richard's logic, since pedestrians have sidewalks throughout the city, they too should be banned from the park paths?


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

So our tax dollars don't pay for parks?


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

"Bike" lanes on roads are anything but, witness the lanes used: as a cab stand at Hill Auditorium; as a loading zone on Division near Liberty; for postal and parcel delivery parking everywhere; as the private domain of moving vans (don't call A^2 police, they won't bother); for motorbikes and skaters and skateboarders; for trash totes; for church parking; for lawn waste; etc. Let's call the lanes more correctly "utility areas" in line with current rule enforcement.

steve h

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

And while we're at it, darn kids! Stay off my lawn!


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Not going to happen. The Gallup trail is also the Border to Border trail which encourages cycling. I simply ride the path early in the morning and never when there are lots of people on it.

peg dash fab

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

i agree


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

A dividing pavement line would be helpful. I ring my bell all day, most people ignore it. So I'm going to step it up a notch.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

I'm a frequent cyclist, in-line skater, and runner in Gallup and I simply don't see any way to avoid these congestion problems other than the common sense of slowing down when it's crowded. Especially when I'm on wheels, I'm met with more dirty looks and frustration when I DO announce myself with "on your left" than when I don't. I also echo another poster's comment that when I yell, it's a 50/50 shot that the person ahead of me will jump to their left instead of their right. In the end I'm equally annoyed by walkers (esp. dog walkers) who take up the entire path, and walk two or more abreast, sometimes with leashes extending a couple feet or more. Why don't we all stay on the right when moving, and only cross into the left when passing? It might be amazing what a little personal responsibility will accomplish.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

It boils down to too many people trying to occupy a small given area. My advice, which I also follow, go to Gallup either early or late and avoid peak times.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

"In the end I'm equally annoyed by walkers (esp. dog walkers) who take up the entire path, and walk two or more abreast..." I feel the same way about bicyclists that ride two or three abreast on a road, blocking a lane of traffic. What goes around comes around.

Richard Wickboldt

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

So on a nice fine day. A day the park was made for. A day when the vast majority of the park users are walking pedestrians. A day when they have come to relax, get some exercise, enjoy the scenery their taxes have paid for, be in a space with little worries, get away from the M-F rat race. You want them to rigidly follow very special rules making them basically march down the paths as if on military drill. Let's get real. Parks are really designed and made for walking. Keep the bikes out! Use the street bike paths we are paying with taxes.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.



Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

I ride through Gallup Park occasionally. I do slow down, but I don't always announce myself because I've had near misses when startled pedestrians (kids in particular) do, sudden random things. "On your left" can be especially bad when the person you're approaching happens to 'spatially challenged' -- which you don't discover until they suddenly jump *to* the left. Usually, I try to pass by getting off the paved path completely. And what is it with groups of pedestrians walking down the *bike path* three or four abreast, blocking the entire path?

Jake C

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

Why do you call it a "bike path"? How about a non-motorized path that people of all kinds can use -- walkers, runners, cyclers, rollerbladers, dog-walkers and kids.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

I've seen cyclists flying down the path and have never understood why -- it's too crowded with inexperienced people with dogs, kids, etc. Why any experienced cyclist would want to ride a tempo ride in that environment baffles me. You might as well try to ride 20+ mph on a downtown sidewalk. Dangerous for both parties but an experienced cyclist should know better.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

"On your left" is sufficient everywhere else I've been. Would it really help you that much to know *what* is coming on your left? And really, just how many possibilities are there? If it has wheels it is bad. Welcome to Ann Arbor.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

I'm fixing up a nice big bowl of popcorn to watch his one unfold....


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.


Sandy Castle

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

You can't pay for entertainment better than this! LOL

Silly Sally

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

A dotted line down the middle would help. Some feel that they should walk 4 abreast. So Silly. Also silly, actually dangerous is passing a group of walkers at a high speed. I always slow down to a modest speed, even slower if there are preschoolers around. My front brake makes a noise, which is very useful in announcing my arrival as I slow down. It is a shared pathway, to be used by walkers and bikers together. Its safe to go 30 MPH at times and at other times on the exact same part of a pathway, when there are walkers, it might be safe to go only 10 MPH. Some college campuses have bike cops, does this author want this?


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

Good perspective. I agree with your point about 4 people walking abreast. That makes it even difficult for a runner to pass by them. I try to run on the far right at all times. Basically, good judgement is needed but that is easier said than done.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Sounds like your bike might need a tune-up.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

a problem is that there is no universally used or understood warning yell / signal cyclists use. "track": "comin up behind you"; "watch out"; "get the f..out of the way" ; ring a bell etc are all too ambiguous as to where the pedestrian should step. given that a speeding bike is the more dangerous element in the walker/biker equation , cyclists need to simply slow down even if it means lowering their target heart rate during a workout.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

"track" means to get out of lane one and move to your right, not ambiguous at all ! Go Green Go White

Silly Sally

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

They would actually raise it getting back up to the pace or desired speed.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

I use a bell on my bike to announce myself (or, at times, when without a bell, I announce, "On your left"), and I slow down. I don't understand the mentality of some bicyclists on those paths. I assume most are riding for the exercise. Slowing down and accelerating back to speed is more exercise. Embrace it--and safety. A dashed line down the middle of the paths, as they have on paths at metroparks, might help.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

Any cyclist who is "speeding" needs to be on a road, not on a path.