Sometimes the Panhandle Path works well for everyone.
Walkers, joggers, and parents with kids in strollers sometimes choose the southern path instead.
Ongoing tensions between people walking and bicycling on the multiple-use Panhandle Path erupted into a skirmish Sunday morning, June 6th, after a racing cyclist smacked against a baby stroller. The father pushing the carriage and the cyclist started yelling at each other. Pushing and swinging blows followed until others on the path pulled the two men apart.
North Panhandle neighbor Jim Allen told BIKE NOPA Monday morning about the incident he witnessed the day before. "I was walking westbound about 30 yards behind the father and his infant in the stroller who were about 40 yards from Stanyan Street. There was another couple walking past the stroller and they may have temporarily crossed into the eastbound lane. Right then a biker swooped onto the Path after crossing the street (Stanyan) and tried to squeeze between the walkers and the dad with a stroller. He whacked the stroller pretty hard and then cursed the dad for blocking the path."
Allen said the skirmish lasted only for a minute before he and others on the path pulled the two men apart. The father was shaken by the experience, although the stroller was not overturned, and no one was injured. The bicyclist mounted his bike and rode off.
Allen and several other neighbors have complained about the hazards of the multi-use path, especially as the good weather brings out more people walking and biking. He noted that the situation is particularly hazardous for parents with strollers and for elderly people from Mercy Terrace (located at Baker and Fell Street) who use the path daily.
Several observers have called for posting signs to "Share the Path" and "Slow Down for Walkers." That strategy might influence some bicyclists to reduce their speed, but it is unlikely to have the hoped-for impact on those who already ride too fast.
Others have proposed a bike lane along Fell Street from Baker to Stanyan Streets, situated between the parked cars and the park. That option might offer riders a place to travel at higher speeds and a more predictable cross-town commute, while improving safety and comfort for people walking on the path and getting a casual bike ride.