- Camino(s) past & future
- Camino Frances May/June 2015, via the Atlantic Cycle Route
And back at ya, Dave! I was expecting to get flamed for that post! I appreciate the respectful response, and hope to now reply in as respectful a manner...You have some interesting and valid points, Flatlander, and I appreciate your taking time to post them.
This is where I have an issue. While the routes may have become packed with pedestrians, that doesn't necessarily mean they are meant for pedestrians.I humbly but vehemently disagree that those pedestrians who are on pilgrimage should avoid being 'lost in thought' while walking Camino, or that it can be defined as "risky behavior". Let me explain.
One of the primary purposes of a pilgrimage is to be lost in meditative thought as one walks. In fact, it is commonly said that each step while walking Camino is a prayer. The entire act of walking, for most, is to have the prolonged opportunity to delve introspectively into those issues and struggles and decisions which was the nexus of motivation for walking Camino. Many engage in prayer and inner communion and dialogue with their spiritual needs while walking. It is unreasonable to define that which is the norm, and which is reasonable and expected behavior as "risky" in order to attenuate the responsibility for yielding -- and for pedestrian safety --- off of the shoulders of those cyclists who wish to "share" the routes which are clearly meant for pedestrians to safely walk.
No issue, except to add that falling from a bike, even at low speed can be risky - for the cyclist.It is the discrepancy of weight, speed, and size of riders on bicycles and pedestrians which create the risks of serious injuries, or more. It is that discrepancy of momentum and weight of the bicycle which creates the risk, not the pedestrian.
Sorry, Dave, I'm not aware of transferring the onus to pedestrians. If my comments gave that impression, I apologise and want to set that record straight.In many nations there are codified and defined rules governing the requirements for yielding the Rights of Way as it concerns autos, bicyclists, and pedestrians. These are logically based on the sound notion that those conveyance categories which have a far greater weight and speed advantage, must yield to those conveyances which are much lighter and slower. Autos must yield to bicycles and pedestrians -- bicycles must yield to pedestrians and horses.
The argument that public paths somehow subvert the oneous of the bicyclist to do what is necessary to protect pedestrians is not convincing. To then extend that argument to the Camino, which is primarily a pedestrian and introspective activity, makes no sense.
I'm fully aware of the risk to myself and others when I hop on my bike. I expect to be courteous and would like the same in return. I don't expect others to jump out of my way, but when there is an opportunity to move over, then that is the courteous thing to do.
Let me be clear. In a bicycle vs pedestrian situation, both parties have a responsibility for their actions, and depending on the situation, that responsibility can vary from one party to the other. However at no point is one party 100% responsible...or not.
Also, be careful what you wish for.
In a rush to codify the Camino, it may not stop at regulating bicycles. I can easiy see the Health & Welfare people taking full control and everybody walking on concrete the whole way!
With all respect Dave, I'm not sure where the hyper vigilance is coming from?I understand that hypervigilance against inconsiderate, uncaring, and dangerous behavior is a defensive action to help protect oneself. Defensive driving is an example of this practice. And if I decide to walk on a motorway that has no segregated area for a pedestrian I will be hypervigilant and not lost in my own thoughts. That is one reason why bicycle lanes from motorized traffic were developed for bicyclists, to provide a way to remove the unsafe discrepancies between bicycle and car so that a bicyclist can focus on riding the bike.
The same for the Camino. While shared, the primary default lies with the pedestrian and not the bicyclist. That means that it has to be the total responsibility of the biker to yield and be hypervigilant around the pedestrian, not the other way around.
If my being hypervigilant for bicyclists and having to forego introspective thinking while walking on Camino, then there is little purpose for doing a Camino. I -- and most others -- do not do it because of the physical aspects, it is because of its spiritual and religious and mental activity accompanied by its physical nature.
What's wrong with regular, normal vigilance?
I'm not asking you, or any other pilgrim to be hyper vigilant, just simply to be aware of your sorroundings.
Finally, I understand the desire, the urge and the need to be contemplative. The last thing I would want to do would be to interrupt someone's contemplations unnecessarily. But pilgrims who want to walk in this fashion are engaging in risky behaviour for the simple reason that most (if not all?) of the Camino paths are public. The romantic notion of an 800 km walk where people can find themselves and correct all the ills in their lives is all well and good. Unfortunately, it is not the reality. There are times and places where walking in a bubble is not advised.
What is needed is a little communication, a little education (on both sides of the debate) and a large dollop of the Camino spirit.
I joined this thread because someone took the case of an endurance cyclist racing to Santiago in less than 24 hours as a reason to remove cyclists from the same paths as themselves.
No nuance, no subtlety, no meeting in the middle. Just get rid of them cyclists.
Building a "third way" for cyclists - not walking, not on roads is impractical - who's going to pay for it? and ignores the fact that the paths currently used are pubic and will result in locals being banned from their own paths.
Stop for a moment.
Local people cannot go from A to B on a bike.
It strikes me that advocating the Juan cannot ride his bike anymore from here to there so that I can indulge my need for contemplation without facing any risks is pretty much as far from the Camino spirit as can be.
Finally, Human nature being what it is, you can be sure that walkers will pick and choose which paths they will follow on a specific day, given the conditions, so these separate bike paths will end of conveying walkers anyway. And we're back to square one!