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Etiquette for shared paths

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
2019
My daughter and I have just completed the Camino Portuguese Coastal route. A delightful walk apart from expected foot troubles.
Met some lovely pilgrims walking the path. However, our experience with cyclists who may or may not have been pilgrims was not so great.

Many, but not all behaved as if they owned the paths.

These are shared paths where most pilgrims are walkers. The “guilty” cyclists rode two abreast at speeds which intimidated the walkers and were dangerous.

Please cyclists remember you are sharing the path. Slow down when you encounter walkers and ring your bell so we know you are coming. We are happy to move over so you can pass.
 

runner

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1, 2019
My daughter and I have just completed the Camino Portuguese Coastal route. A delightful walk apart from expected foot troubles.
Met some lovely pilgrims walking the path. However, our experience with cyclists who may or may not have been pilgrims was not so great.

Many, but not all behaved as if they owned the paths.

These are shared paths where most pilgrims are walkers. The “guilty” cyclists rode two abreast at speeds which intimidated the walkers and were dangerous.

Please cyclists remember you are sharing the path. Slow down when you encounter walkers and ring your bell so we know you are coming. We are happy to move over so you can pass.
Thank you for sharing this information. I agree and on two occasions I had to jump off the trail so they would not hit me. Towards the end of my walk I had had enough and was yelling at them!!! I think there should be another path for cyclists. I will never do the Camino France again!!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I largely agree with this post. I just completed the CF and found cyclists to be a mixed bag in behavior. Few used bells to announce themselves, but many used a hearty hello or Buen Camino to make themselves know. Others were completely silent as they came toward walkers and took them by surprise. Most disturbing was the speed of many cyclists who did not slow down at all and seemed to expect walkers to jump out of the way and into the bushes. Scary behavior given the harm that could result from a collision.
My daughter and I have just completed the Camino Portuguese Coastal route. A delightful walk apart from expected foot troubles.
Met some lovely pilgrims walking the path. However, our experience with cyclists who may or may not have been pilgrims was not so great.

Many, but not all behaved as if they owned the paths.

These are shared paths where most pilgrims are walkers. The “guilty” cyclists rode two abreast at speeds which intimidated the walkers and were dangerous.

Please cyclists remember you are sharing the path. Slow down when you encounter walkers and ring your bell so we know you are coming. We are happy to move over so you can pass.
My daughter and I have just completed the Camino Portuguese Coastal route. A delightful walk apart from expected foot troubles.
Met some lovely pilgrims walking the path. However, our experience with cyclists who may or may not have been pilgrims was not so great.

Many, but not all behaved as if they owned the paths.

These are shared paths where most pilgrims are walkers. The “guilty” cyclists rode two abreast at speeds which intimidated the walkers and were dangerous.

Please cyclists remember you are sharing the path. Slow down when you encounter walkers and ring your bell so we know you are coming. We are happy to move over so you can pass.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Etiquette is as is the case for moving sidewalks, and indeed any shared walkway.

Stand to the right, walk / pass to the left. My Commonwealth friends may need a rubber band on their left wrist, but you get the idea. My pet peeve is moving sidewalks in large airports when I have a tight connection... like at T-4 at Madrid. Same construct, same solution...

Walking on a path, slower traffic should ALWAYS keep to the right and allow faster moving people or bicycles and horses, etc. to pass on the left. A group, should ALWAYS walk "indian file / single file" when on a narrow bit (usually all of a country path).

NEVER walk or ride so as to block the path for folks seeking to pass to the LEFT.

My practice is to shout out a greeting in advance, then utter "beep-beep" aloud as I approach from behind and to the left. Everyone understand "beep - beep" as a horn to get your attention. Anyway, it works for me. if they are wearing earbuds, then you DO have a problem. That's what long hiking sticks are for... tap a rucksack to get their attention.

ALWAYS utter THANK YOU / GRACIAS when passing to the left to let them know you appreciate their consideration in moving over to allow you to pass, even if the path hogs we being total butt-h**es. This always works well for me.

Hope this helps.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
I am not a cyclist. I find the antipathy to cyclists and others quite extraordinary especially from people on a spiritual/religous/faith endeavour such as a Camino, surely the point of a camino is to learn who to deal with yourself and others? Weren't the original pilgrims sent on a camino as a pennace to absolve them of their sins? Embarking on a pilgrimage voluntarily indicates to me that the pilgrim recognises that they are not 100% blameless or in the right, I walked mine to do a personall account of my actions to wards others, I know I am not perfect nor is everyone else, but I try to give others the benefit of the doubt, unlike


I agree...most were ignorant peasants disdainful of mere walkers
In my experience cyclist do not respect anyone,they treat the road as their own
Surely forgiveness and understanding are worth more than any inconvenience caused.
In life annoyances happen, deal with it.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I am not a cyclist. I find the antipathy to cyclists and others quite extraordinary especially from people on a spiritual/religous/faith endeavour such as a Camino, surely the point of a camino is to learn who to deal with yourself and others? Weren't the original pilgrims sent on a camino as a pennace to absolve them of their sins? Embarking on a pilgrimage voluntarily indicates to me that the pilgrim recognises that they are not 100% blameless or in the right, I walked mine to do a personall account of my actions to wards others, I know I am not perfect nor is everyone else, but I try to give others the benefit of the doubt, unlike





Surely forgiveness and understanding are worth more than any inconvenience caused.
In life annoyances happen, deal with it.
The "inconvenience" might be being hit by a cyclist coming from behind with no warning whilst. in a foreign country "forgiveness and understanding " wouldn't be my first reaction
 

Galloglaigh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Member of the Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (2020)
I think you may be confusing pilgrims who are cycling with the local cyclists who use the paths week in and week out. Certainly on the CF last year and the year before, I was often passed by MTB'ers at speed and without concern for pilgrims - however they travelled.

The issue appears to be the belief that the paths are for the exclusive use of walkers. So your comments come as a warning to future walkers not to make that assumption.
 

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
"...ring your bell..."
Very few cyclists have a bell on their bikes now, mores the pity.
 

Evvie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
I am not a cyclist. I find the antipathy to cyclists and others quite extraordinary especially from people on a spiritual/religous/faith endeavour such as a Camino, surely the point of a camino is to learn who to deal with yourself and others? Weren't the original pilgrims sent on a camino as a pennace to absolve them of their sins? Embarking on a pilgrimage voluntarily indicates to me that the pilgrim recognises that they are not 100% blameless or in the right, I walked mine to do a personall account of my actions to wards others, I know I am not perfect nor is everyone else, but I try to give others the benefit of the doubt, unlike





Surely forgiveness and understanding are worth more than any inconvenience caused.
In life annoyances happen, deal with it.
That's all well and good until you get hit and are injured by an inconsiderate cyclist, thereby ruining your Camino. Walkers should use caution, not expect courtesy from cyclists, and be grateful when you do. A "Thank You" goes a long way, too.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The antipathy for cyclists is one of the Camino's age-old issues. However, until some really heinous accident or other very nasty incident occurs, nothing will change. NO organization or authority will intervene. Cyclists will continue to share / hog the sendas...whatever your perspective.

I do not like it either. All one can do is keep your head on a swivel and pay attention to your surroundings at all times.

While I may have the right of way, relative to a person on a bicycle, I cannot argue that point if I am unconscious or worse at the bottom of a hill, in a ditch, or smeared against some wall. I assume the responsibility for my own safety when I am on Camino, or anywhere else for that matter. So, it is very much caveat emptor...that's life...

At least we do not have roving bands of brigands attacking us, robbing, beating or killing us as in medieval times. This is why the Knights Templar were commissioned by the Pope at the time to protect pilgrims on their way to Santiago. They previously had engaged in protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land / Jerusalem. Hmmm. there's an idea... Camino Cops...

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
I believe that we all understand walking to the right and passing on the left. Unfortunately it is not always that simple. Given the choice between walking in deep mud on the right and a dry part on the left, I will take the dry path. So far I have been OK but have watched a few cyclists racing into a collision!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I am not a cyclist. I find the antipathy to cyclists and others quite extraordinary especially from people on a spiritual/religous/faith endeavour such as a Camino, surely the point of a camino is to learn who to deal with yourself and others? Weren't the original pilgrims sent on a camino as a pennace to absolve them of their sins? Embarking on a pilgrimage voluntarily indicates to me that the pilgrim recognises that they are not 100% blameless or in the right, I walked mine to do a personall account of my actions to wards others, I know I am not perfect nor is everyone else, but I try to give others the benefit of the doubt, unlike

Surely forgiveness and understanding are worth more than any inconvenience caused.
In life annoyances happen, deal with it.
On the meseta last October, on a long, flat stretch of dirt farm road that was exceptionally wide, I had the fun experience of being knocked down by a cyclist when I was all the way to the right. There was a lot of space on the road, and the guilty cyclist's buddies were all to the left as they passed giving me lots of room.

These were local cyclists, I think, because I was about 8 km out of a town, the guys were dressed in some serious and colorful lycra, and they had no other bags or panniers, etc.

The contact with me knocked the cyclist down about 6 feet from where I was piking myself up. The cyclist was yelling at me in Spanish and started walking toward me in an aggressive manner. I apologized Lo Siento multiple times, even though I was blameless, and he kept approaching til one of his cycling group interceded.

His buddy looked upset at the at-fault cyclist, looked at me and asked - I think - if I was alright. He apologized as he escorted his friend back to his bike.

It was apparent to me that that cyclist was seeing how close he could get to get a reaction of some kind; perhaps he hated pilgrim walkers. Or maybe he was blind. He was probably trying to be funny for his friends. I was thankful no one, especially me, was hurt. It was no big deal, especially after the Burgos incident, and I just shrugged it off.

In any case, this is one of many examples that I could offer of why I do not like sharing space with cyclists, and why there is a reason for pedestrian pilgrims to feel negativity and even anger. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling angry and upset. It is HOW one handles being angry and upset which makes a difference. To me, this Forum represents a space where expressing negative feelings and venting is acceptable can be cathartic. :)

Just my two cents.
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
I'm happy to share the trail with bikers. What does this mean? If they give me some warning I will hug the right side of the trail or even step off of it if very narrow to give the biker all the room possible to pass safely and easily.

Bikers say they are "happy to share" the trail with walkers. What do they mean? Walkers must get off the trail when bikers approach, even if the biker gives no warning, so as not to slow down the biker. I don't see much sharing here from the biker, it is pretty one sided regarding the sacrifice.

As as walker, unfortunately, you must look behind you before taking a step to the left to smell a flower or step to the right to avoid a stone or puddle. If you do not look behind you first you risk a collision with a bike where you could get injured and your Camino could be over in a moment. It's too bad we have to walk with that caution in our head at all times. I agree a walker has to be even more cautious and diligent about deviating even a foot off the right side of the path without looking behind you when listening to music or a podcast. If you choose to turn off one of your senses (hearing) to the environment around you then a collision with a bike overtaking you is much greater as is your responsibility for the collision.

Bikers could do two things to be better citizens on the trail with the walkers. The first big thing is the rate of overtaking...how fast a biker passes a walker. I don't care how fast a biker travels when walkers are not around them....go 100 miles/hr...I don't care. If a biker could find the patience and compassion to overtake walkers at a rate of 2 miles/hr, that would be wonderful. If walkers are going 2 miles/hr and the biker passes/overtakes at 4 miles/hr, the overtaking rate of 2 miles per hour significantly lessens the danger of injury if there is a collision. It also reduces the startle factor which is very annoying and even if the biker gives no warning by voice or bell, there is a better chance the walker will hear the noise from the bike (tires/chain) before the bike is on top of them if they are overtaking at this lower speed. Is it too much to ask bikers when they overtake a hiker to do it slowly and then they can speed up again after passing the hikers?

The second big thing is the warning to hikers from the biker that he is coming up from behind. Please give loud warnings, get a bell and ring it before and during your pass. Look ahead for some sign that the hikers are receiving your warning (they look behind, they move over to the edge, they raise a hand acknowledging your warning). These are two "sharing" behaviors the bikers could easily do while the walker's sharing behavior of moving over to allow an easy pass equalizes the sacrifice so both groups are giving, making an effort to accommodate the other.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I have had many experiences of fast-moving Spanish cyclists whizzing past me. None connected and I just kept right and continued to walk. I have also had a few closer encounters when on the trail. The first was with a man from Ireland, who had started his camino that same day at St Jean and had reached Zariquiegui, just before the Alto de Perdon, late in the day in a state of collapse. He was trying to cycle the camino in one week, and was exhausted at the end of his first day. Another cyclist stopped along the camino Frances when I was walking my second camino. He was tired out, and shared his situation. He was English speaking and had paid to join a commercial group which was bicycling the camino, in the hope of losing some weight. But he was exhausted and having trouble keeping up. I shared a snack and some water with him, and after a rest he was able to go on: both were typical camino encounters, to my mind. Another encounter was with a group of fast-moving Spanish cyclists, who had stopped briefly just off the trail. I was having a problem with my rain poncho, which had blown up over my head and was in a tangle. When she understood my problem, one of the cyclists helped me sort it out. This was also a typical camino encounter. And I experienced other similar encounters in pilgrim hostels while walking the VdlP. The challenge is that the majority of cyclists seem to be local groups whose speed and behaviour on the trails threaten walking pilgrims. So many pilgrims walk with others, which means that often they occupy more of the trail, which is a limited shared space. I prefer to think of anyone on the trail in an acceptable mode (foot, bike, horse) as primarily another pilgrim. We share the space and we care for one another. Perhaps the cyclists find the increasing number of walkers on their local trails impeding their exercise as much of a challenge as we sometimes find them. But, with current practice and regulations, the trails belong to all of us and we must learn to share.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I am waiting for the day that a walking pilgrim accidentally hoists an aggressive overtaking bicyclist on a pointy hiking pole. All you have do is turn around with your pole raised... as if you were surprised... and presto... “shish kabob” biker.

Then, the organizations and authorities with jurisdiction will take action.

I hope this never happens. But, statistically it will, one day. As the 2021 Holy Year approaches, increased traffic on the Camino Frances increases the likelihood of such an accidental situation.
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
I believe that we all understand walking to the right and passing on the left. Unfortunately it is not always that simple. Given the choice between walking in deep mud on the right and a dry part on the left, I will take the dry path. So far I have been OK but have watched a few cyclists racing into a collision!
My humble view is that possession is near enough to 100% of the law...

Cyclists are welcome to go around me, but should not expect me to get off my line to accommodate them. If I have the only dry part of the path, that is their problem, not mine.

And, in case you are wondering, many many cyclists between Sarria and SJdC last year showed no consideration, riding at speed through walking pilgrims, not announcing their impending arrival, and ignoring a perfectly good roadway just feet away.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
As I said earlier on in this thread, this is not going to change any time soon. My personal solution is to post international traffic signs on the walking Camino section (those that are NOT paved) that depict a bicycle in a red circle with a diagonal line through it.

This clearly means “No Bicycles.” Police should issue summonses and impound bikes to enforce the rule. I know, I am dreaming...

Another sign, just below it would direct bikers left or right, to the adjacent, usually parallel paved surface far more appropriate for a bicycle. These routes are there for cyclists NOW. They are highlighted in Camino route guides for bicyclists.

These bicycle friendly need to be better marked, as well as the pedestrian paths. Until this bifurcated, parallel route marking system is in general use, there is no likelihood of relief for walkers, at least IMHO.

Ironically, when I speak with bikers and ask them why they persist in riding off-road, I get ONLY three replies:

1. “Riding off road is more fun” - this is mostly the mountain bikers... Highly selfish IMHO.

2. “Riding on a proper roads is dangerous. The drivers don’t respect us...” WELL WHAT THE HECK IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THEM MAKING THE WALKING PATHS HAZARDOUS?

3. “I did not know there was a separate, clearly signed road network, I thought only the unpaved path was the Camino.” IMHO, stupid should be painful.... but I do grass. Clearly this person never heard of Google Maps. You can use this, pressing the bike icon to get a road route from village to village on the Camino.

#3 is the funniest in my view. Historically, national routes like the N-120 and N-550 ARE the original Camino path. Much of this was cobbled / paved originally Roman road. Over the centuries they got paved. The Romans built straight, direct roads. What we know as the Camino (especially the Camino Frances) was largely cobbled together in recent decades.

Conversely, the present day Camino paths are usually old farm roads (some old Roman routes), forest paths, or rarely used local toads that PARALLEL and post-date the original Roman roads that became the original Camino, and later the Spanish national road system.

Hope this helps the dialog.
 
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Texas Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017 summer)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
The other scary thing bike riders do sometimes is stop looking where they are going to check their phone. :mad: One was coming at me on a dead-interception course last year--I happened to be looking back and saw him coming. A couple rather-loud holas got his attention and after a second to mentally process the obstacle he went around. Thank heavens.

It's just as bad for a moving bike rider to be on his phone as for the driver of a moving car to be on his phone.
 

CAJohn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
I have heard the anectdotes, but I have to wonder what the statistics are for pedestrians struck by bicycles on the Camino Frances. I don't know if anyone keeps track. A serious collision resulting in bodily harm would probably involve the police. The police might have some statistics. I wonder if despite the hair raising experiences people have had, that the actual number of serious accidents is low.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2012
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
Hi all, I realise this issue has been flogged to death on this forum, but if I may express a minority view as one who has biked the Camino Frances. I think its important to distinguish between the bicigrinos who are carrying panniers on the back of the bike, doing the pilgrimage and battling the hills just like any other pilgrim. Then there are the Spanish speedsters out on a 10km mountain bike ride / day trip dressed in lycra with no packs and flying down the trails. I too was pushed out of the way on a trail when I was riding the bike and unable to use an equivalent route on a road.

Just to clarify, I don't think anybody doing a camino on a bike wants to battle the crowds on the trails, but in some places they are unavoidable. You learn fairly quickly that the pilgrim trails require about 20% to 30% more energy to ride over than on the road, so most of us use the roads whenever we can. As for the Spanish day trippers, I don't think you are going to change their attitude on this forum.

Cheers M
 

Vendee52

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's planned April-May 2019
Just back from Camino Francés - I am usually a cyclist BUT my experience of cyclists along the way left me incensed! Reflection on my feelings calmly leaves me with the following:
Using a bell on a bike when managing ascents or descents is difficult since you need all your control on the handlebars for gears and brakes
However a loud shouted ding ding ding or bike coming through would do
Staying on the right as a walker is not always the best route and “weaving” is normal
Walkers have heavy back packs and cannot move fast - instability can happen fast
I saw many bikes - heavy laden - on tracks that were wildly unsuitable or dangerous for bikes eg up to Foncebadon- up from Pamplona - totally hazardous for everyone

Perhaps cycling pilgrims should be issued with additional safety information by the pilgrim offices eg St Jean about conduct and route ?
Trying to be level and calm but difficult!
Life changing Camino for me despite it all 🌈
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Perhaps the cyclists find the increasing number of walkers on their local trails impeding their exercise as much of a challenge as we sometimes find them
Thank you for pointing this out.

While I recognize the challenges of sharing a path between walkers and cyclists, there might be also a cultural thing involved. I live in a country with more bicycles than people (the Netherlands) and I am rather used to the co-existence between walkers and cyclists. Maybe the same applies for Spain (as compared to some otther countries) For this reason, cyclists behaviour on the camino usually appears rather normal to me - nothing to get too frustrated about.

In fact it might well be that some tourists walking through Amsterdam experience my cycling behaviour as dangerous and annoying, while for me, well..... I'm just riding my bike: I speed past them but I know I won't hit them.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
59795
Didn't mind sharing the road with this guy mounted on a handsome horse! Photo taken on Route Frances
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I am waiting for the day that a walking pilgrim accidentally hoists an aggressive overtaking bicyclist on a pointy hiking pole. All you have do is turn around with your pole raised... as if you were surprised... and presto... “shish kabob” biker.
My Dear t2andreo, I pray you honestly do not wish for such an event for it would result in your poor pilgrim facing murder or manslaughter charges and many years in a Spanish jail.

As one who has both cycled and walked the Frances i do understand those pilgrims who get "p*ss off" at the unthinking, uncaring cyclists. But the walkers are not always "blameless". My bike has the loudest bell - easily heard at 50 / 75 metres, but I had a pilgrim with her earbuds so far in her ears and the music so loud I could hear it. Luckily for us both I had slowed right down as she wandered left and right without any thought to other pilgrims (walkers or cyclists). But I think the most idiotic pilgrim was the one who stepped directly into my road as I came down that steep hill after to Monte Gozo, luckily for him (and me) one of this friends pull out of my way as I was doing 30km and as its an official road I was legal. I hate to think of the result if he had not been moved.
To close - with care for each of our fellow pilgrims I believe that there is room on most camino sections for both walking pilgrims and those on bikes.
 

Galloglaigh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Member of the Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (2020)
We could complain and continue to suffer or we could lobby the "authorities" on the issue.

The Via Francigena has at least 4 different routes - walkers, cyclists, cars (yes cars) and horses. Some paths are shared. Some run parallel. But most are different.

Who do we have to contact to get different official routes?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Hi all, I realise this issue has been flogged to death on this forum, but if I may express a minority view as one who has biked the Camino Frances. I think its important to distinguish between the bicigrinos who are carrying panniers on the back of the bike, doing the pilgrimage and battling the hills just like any other pilgrim. Then there are the Spanish speedsters out on a 10km mountain bike ride / day trip dressed in lycra with no packs and flying down the trails. I too was pushed out of the way on a trail when I was riding the bike and unable to use an equivalent route on a road.

Just to clarify, I don't think anybody doing a camino on a bike wants to battle the crowds on the trails, but in some places they are unavoidable. You learn fairly quickly that the pilgrim trails require about 20% to 30% more energy to ride over than on the road, so most of us use the roads whenever we can. As for the Spanish day trippers, I don't think you are going to change their attitude on this forum.

Cheers M
In 2013, on my first Camino, I was forced off the Camino Frances path by two such fast moving, silent speedsters in lycra. They had driven to the top of the hill, and launched their bikes on a very fast ride to the bottom, downhill on the Camino path.

Only the last moment effort by the second biker saved me from near certain death. His partner forced me to dive head-long off the trail. Except there was no there - there. It was a steep drop-off just before the Alto de Perdon summit. In 2013 and 2014, there was no cable safety line. There is now. Like I said earlier, it usually takes something really bad to happen before action is taken.

FYI, people who fall more than a couple of meters with a rucksack on frequently break their necks. This drop-off was about 15-20 meters IIRC.

I dug my hiking pole in as a brake, but was headed over the edge into space, when the second biker ditched his bike and grabbed my left-side mochila strap just as I was going over. I was told this later that day by a colleague, as I only remember retching my guts up on my knees in the mud.

So, yes, I have a personal dislike of both bikers and hikers sharing the same paths, especially when there is no need to do so. I do understand and respect the bikers. But unfortunately, they do not all reciprocate this respect and consideration.

IMHO, Given this pattern of behavior by too many in the group, the cyclists needs to be segregated from the other, the pedestrians. If not, and mark my words, we will be doing more regretful, sympathetic posting during 2021.

Hope this helps the dialog.
 

edumad

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Português '12 '14 (Rates), '18 (Ponte de Lima)
Interior '15 (Vila Real)
Francês '16 (Ponferrada).
I am a mountainbiker. I have done the Portuguese Camino 3 times (from Rates), the Interior (from Vila Real) once and the French (from Ponteferrada).
I've only had the pleasure of walking it once (from Ponte de Lima).
I have biked, on training rides and day trips, sections of central route several times between Rates and Valença.
I have also many friends, MTBiking enthusiasts who have done the camino, and I frequent a portuguese MTB forum where people share chronicles of their Caminho rides.
So my experience has been more on the bike side.

I think splitting the camino is a bad idea and goes against one of the reasons I keep wanting to get back on it: it brings people together.
For us it may be the camino, but for many MTBers its their local routes.

An issue with "bicigrinos" I know, is that they are rushing through the camino. It has become common, with the rise of MTBiking in Portugal for groups to do Caminos or the pilgrimage to Fátima. It s for the challenge and the group experience, and in my view, detached from any camino spirit.
Too often this means doing lots of kms per day. Its not for me, if I want to do an endurance ride I'll do somewhere else.
Most enthusiast MTBers I think are used to navigating the trails and passing through tight spots, so in many cases they neglect that for walkers it will feel different. As I've posted on MTB forum, a bell should be taken and used or call people out with a greeting, slow down for crossings, and give thanks if people had to free space for you. Its simple common courtesy.

I will say in "defense" of my fellow MTBers is that we don't have the monopoly in lacking common courtesy, as I'm sure many will attest from less than pleasant encounters in albergues.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
So, yes, I have a personal dislike of both bikers and hikers sharing the same paths, especially when there is no need to do so.
I understand your position, particularly given your experiences. Still the issue remains that a lot of non-paved paths (that for us is the camino) are also local roads, used by local people, for example to ride their mountain bikes. You may consider that local Spaniards have no need to do this, as they could cycle somewhere else,
but this is all very subjective. And maybe a bit inappropriate - after all we are guests in a country where we choose to walk on paths that are also used by local cyclists and local mountain bikers - and according to Spanish legislation they are allowed to do so - us walkers do not "need" to walk these paths.

For us it may be the camino, but for many MTBers its their local routes.
Exactly.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
In my experience cyclist do not respect anyone,they treat the road as their own
Please don't tar us all with the same brush. I cycle regularly and I get sick of being called all sort of names even when I am riding with care. Equally, some pedestrians on shared paths seem to think that they own the path and regard cyclists as a nuisance. I've had walkers step straight in front of me without looking, and amble along in a big bunch and move aside with very bad grace and a lot of tutting when cycles want to come past.

Shared paths are that, shared. I dislike shared paths as both a pedestrian and a biker, but they are a reality and we all need to be both alert and considerate.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
I am waiting for the day that a walking pilgrim accidentally hoists an aggressive overtaking bicyclist on a pointy hiking pole. All you have do is turn around with your pole raised... as if you were surprised... and presto... “shish kabob” biker.
That isn't even slightly funny or appropriate. I am frankkly disgusted that someone here should post that sort of thing. What you are joking about (I am giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that it is a joke) is killing someone who has as much right to be there as you do. Please think about what you are saying.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Of course it was offered humorously, by way of explaining clearly and in an unambiguous manner the sort of tragedy that will likely have to occur before someone in charge actually does something.

I do not for a moment advocate any violence of any sort...PERIOD!

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
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My Dear t2andreo, I pray you honestly do not wish for such an event for it would result in your poor pilgrim facing murder or manslaughter charges and many years in a Spanish jail.

As one who has both cycled and walked the Frances i do understand those pilgrims who get "p*ss off" at the unthinking, uncaring cyclists. But the walkers are not always "blameless". My bike has the loudest bell - easily heard at 50 / 75 metres, but I had a pilgrim with her earbuds so far in her ears and the music so loud I could hear it. Luckily for us both I had slowed right down as she wandered left and right without any thought to other pilgrims (walkers or cyclists). But I think the most idiotic pilgrim was the one who stepped directly into my road as I came down that steep hill after to Monte Gozo, luckily for him (and me) one of this friends pull out of my way as I was doing 30km and as its an official road I was legal. I hate to think of the result if he had not been moved.
To close - with care for each of our fellow pilgrims I believe that there is room on most camino sections for both walking pilgrims and those on bikes.
I am NOT advocating violence. I used this an example of the sort of unfortunate accident that could well occur if traffic densities continues to increase, both for hikers and bikers, and if nothing is done to separate or police the two sparring factions. I do not for a moment think they are ever going to just get along. Please do not misunderstand my purpose.

Yes, there are many bikers who are very considerate. However, we have all encountered the relatively few but outstanding, selfish, boorish, aggressive folks while walking our Caminos. Unfortunately, the few 'bad apples' usually spoil things for the larger group. That, is the human group dynamic.

It is also true that perhaps too many walking pilgrims do wear earbuds or are otherwise distracted. I am not making excuses for them. They are not completely blameless. However, and logically, if the hikers and bikers were mostly on two separate "trails" the chance of unfortunate encounters is vastly minimized. think that at least on the Camino Frances, this will have to be done one day soon.

I think I was stating the obvious fact, that it is statistically probable that a startled hiking pilgrim could turn around with a pole raise and accidentally skewer an oncoming biker. I was going to also mention the highly illegal and intentional poking of a hiking pole through moving spokes... But THAT would be too close to advocating violence. I NEVER advocate violence or direct action of any kind. So I pulled back... Still, some did not understand ... So I do appreciate the opportunity to clarify my earlier example. Thank you for that chance.

I AM NOT ADVOCATING THIS FOR ONE MOMENT. But, it did get everyone's attention, and likely got some folks to think... yeah, you know that COULD well happen and easily. SOMEONE has to verbalize the concern. I did. I consider it like a boil that needs lancing. Everyone has been whining about this situation. I put a real face on the coming problems as this eternal spat progresses.

IMHO:

The first step is awareness that there is a problem.

The second step would be to discuss and develop meaningful alternative methods for mitigating the chance of unfortunate accidents.

The third step would be to channel the awareness into some sort of creative action, moving forward to avoid such a negative situation.

I do not have the answers. But I can stimulate the discussion. I think I have poked the hornet's nest enough...

Hope this clarifies and assists in understand that we have a real and growing problem. We should not hide from the issue, but discuss and solve it. Vilifying me will not accomplish anything. I do accept creative criticism. But, do try not to make it a personal attack.
 
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alhartman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
Real and growing problem, it most certainly is. But it will take some higher authority to set out the rules. Just like with skateboards in city streets and motorcycle dirt bikes in the 'wilderness, and cell phone use in motor vehicles. Common sense/courtesy is not so common!
But each of us needs to take care of ourselves. Beware of earbuds, beware of walking in clusters that block the trail.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
I am NOT advocating violence.
No worries Tom. At least I did not perceive your post as a serious advocation of violence. But I also think you were not villified. Just think the wording of your post was unfortunate - which we all occasionally do on this forum (and then we receive a bit of stick for this, and then get on with it).

However. I do think there is an underlying disagreement in this thread about the scale of "the problem". It is clear that you perceive the mixed paths as a big problem that will inevitably lead to serious accidents. Others may agree with you. Others may make a different risk-assessment.

And you use some pretty strong words, now you're talking about "separating and policing two sparring faction who not ever are going to get along" and claim that "everyone has been whining about this situation" and saying that "the eternal spat progresses". Imho you are loosing a bit of perspective here. Certainly not everyone has been whining about this situation - at least, i never heard anyone whining about this during my camino's.

As to the question whether mixed paths are a growing problem, I checked some statistics. Since 2012 the number of pilgrims that arrives in Santiago by bike has decreased from 14 % (of the total arrivals) in 2012 to 6 % in 2018. In total numbers this means that the number of pilgrims arriving by bicycle in Santiago has decreased from 26.880 in 2012 to 19.620 in 2018. So if there is a growing problem, this does not seem to be caused by a growing number of cyclists, but maybe by the growing number of walkers not used to sharing paths with cyclists (I know this conclusion is very tentative). Consequently a fair solution may be to introduce quota for the numbers of people allowed to walk the Frances.:)
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Each year, while working at the Pilgrim Office I take note of the broken bones of walking pilgrims forced off the paths by cyclists. The walking pilgrims show up for their Compstelas in all manner of arm, wrist, and ankle casts, braces and splints.

I rarely, if ever, have seen a "broken biker." However, I do allow that it can happen, but likely of their own doing, and not the result of a collision with a walking pilgrim.

In any altercation between a walking pilgrim and a biker, the walking pilgrim is likely to have greater injuries, at least in my observation.

Some walking pilgrims simply lost their footing while trying to avoid a bike. Others were literally surprised and forced into a ditch or off the path. A few, even one is too many, have been intentionally forced to leap out of the way of an oncoming bicycle. I have heard the stories. My personal experience is with the third category...almost losing my life being forced to leap off the path into thin air.

While statistics regarding total numbers are interesting, we can all agree that even one accident is one too many. I am NOT saying that ALL Camino routes need to be segregated. I AM SUGGESTING that the Camino Frances, or at least the heaviest trafficked portions of it, DOES need to be split into walking and riding routes to avoid increased accidents, injuries and physical altercations. I believe the pressure is building toward confrontation. The question remains, what is to be done?

I continue to believe that the volume will build each year, and will likely increase some 50% just from 2020 to 2021. This is about DOUBLE the volume in 2018. That has been the historic increase in immediate year before a Holy Year, to the Holy Year.

Thanks again for the robust discussion.
 
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simply B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
I would like their to be a respectful balance of opinions between cyclists and walkers but I do not believe that it is going to happen. Not even in part. Ever.

Sunday, October 22, 2017 .... walking down from Riego de Ambros toward Molinaseca. You experienced walkers know the early stretch as perhaps 24-30 inches wide for much of the first few kms. Deeply rutted, rocky as heck, and in many places there is nowhere to "stand to the right".

A group of peregrinas had left Riego about 10 minutes before me. I'm perhaps 500 meters into the descent when the local Lycra-clad tribe showed up, two whizzing past as I scrambled uphill out of the way. (I'm old but yet capable of producing adrenaline.) I started waving at the bunch following, yelling,"Peregrinos abajo!" They never even slowed and just moments later came the screams chased by the noise of mechanical clatter.

When I came to the scene, one of the peregrinas was down, moaning. I did as much aid as possible after verifying that the emergency number had been called.

Senor "Don't I look great in Spandex" was inspecting his bike in miniscule detail. Yep, his bike!

That stretch is a "walking trail" - totally unsuited for any other endeavor. A walker is no match for a cyclist moving in excess of 45 km/hr.

The woman, according to the "Pilgrim telegraph", was evacuated to hospital shortly after my departure with a preliminary assessment of a broken ankle.

Perhaps I could dialogue with some cyclists. Not these idiots. They lack the common sense possessed by most tea cloths.

B
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I've often wondered if bike bells were sold in Europe. I have no problem with bikers as long as they use their bells or somehow otherwise warn of their approach. All the more reason not to wear headsets while hiking.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
As to the question whether mixed paths are a growing problem, I checked some statistics. Since 2012 the number of pilgrims that arrives in Santiago by bike has decreased from 14 % (of the total arrivals) in 2012 to 6 % in 2018. In total numbers this means that the number of pilgrims arriving by bicycle in Santiago has decreased from 26.880 in 2012 to 19.620 in 2018. So if there is a growing problem, this does not seem to be caused by a growing number of cyclists
I have never had problems sharing the path with bicycle pilgrims, as I indicate in my previous post. But no one is talking about pilgrims here, rather the bicycle clubs that use the pilgrim routes for their off-road cycling, often at considerable speeds. At present, this is hazardous for all concerned.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
It all comes down to the simple fact that the path is simply not large enough, wide enough or designed to have walkers and bicyclists on it. Bicycles simply have no business being on the path and shouldn't be there. It has nothing to do with any spirit of the Camino or the like. More a matter of physics involving mass, velocity and energy transfer when the larger, heavier, faster mass strikes the smaller, lighter, sometimes even stationary mass.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
But no one is talking about pilgrims here, rather the bicycle clubs that use the pilgrim routes for their off-road cycling, often at considerable speeds. At present, this is hazardous for all concerned.
I am not sure that no one is talking about pilgrims here as I have read some general rants against cyclists.

Some posts have pointed out that what for us is a pilgrim route, is actually also a local path being used by locals (on mountain bikes). I agree this the situation may be hazardous, but I disagree with the presumption that walking pilgrims have more "right" to walk there, than local bike clubs have the "right" to cycle there. In fact they may have cycled there before "us", and before the camino got popular. But I keep reading posts about cyclists "that simply shouldn't be there". This seems a bit odd. Why should foreign people tell local Spanish people where to ride their bike ? But well, there seem to be some misunderstandings going in this thread...

I quoted the statistics to "lighten up the discussion" a bit and proposed an unortodhox and 'out of the box' solution. But I probably failed here - I will re-evaluate my sense of irony :)
 
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lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
If bikers who are pilgrims can't find bells for their bikes, then surely they can keep a whistle between their teeth when they are ascending or descending or going around blind corners. With people more and more using bag transits, how would know that bikers without packs aren't pilgrims who just don't want to be weighed down anymore than the pilgrims that use bag transit?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I am not sure that no one is talking about pilgrims here as I have read some general rants against cyclists.

Some posts have pointed out that what for us is a pilgrim route, is actually also a local path being used by locals (on mountain bikes). I agree this the situation may be hazardous, but I disagree with the presumption that walking pilgrims have more "right" to walk there, than local bike clubs have the "right" to cycle there. In fact they may have cycled there before "us", and before the camino got popular. But I keep reading posts about cyclists "that simply shouldn't be there". This seems a bit odd. But well, there seem to be some misunderstandings going in this thread...

I quoted the statistics to "lighten up the discussion" a bit and proposed an unortodhox and 'out of the box' solution. But I probably failed here - I will re-evaluate my sense of irony :)
I do not disagree with what you say. True also, I did not get the irony, as my view is skewed by my personal, near-death experience at the hand of one of the Lycra-tribe.

My only other reaction to what you wrote is to agree that the bikers DO have a right to be there, on the Camino senda or trail. My concern is necessary due to the building volume of traffic on some segments of at least one Camino route.

However, when a person on a bicycle and a walker share the same road (or path) the faster moving cyclist must ALWAYS yield to the slower moving pedestrian. This is among the basic rules of the road, at least in every country that I have operated a vehicle in.

Motor vehicles must yield to farm machinery, animals (horses & carts) and pedestrians. The yield paradigm extends downward, with the faster “vehicle” always yielding to the slower and less maneuverable conveyance or person.

This, while bicycles and pedestrians do share the Camino, the biker has the greater duty of avoidance. If these altercations and failure to yield occurred on proper roads, the police would easily know who to assess blame to.

Hope this helps.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Why should foreign people tell local Spanish people where to ride their bike ? But well, there seem to be some misunderstandings going in this thread...
In the case of the incident that @simply B described, I don't think there's any misunderstanding. It's a narrow rocky path, carrying thousands of pedestrians every year, Spanish and otherwise. If local people want to ride their mountain bikes on technical trails, there are plenty of other options in that area. It's more a matter of common sense: why be stupid and try to ride where all the walkers are?
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I am not sure that no one is talking about pilgrims here as I have read some general rants against cyclists.

Some posts have pointed out that what for us is a pilgrim route, is actually also a local path being used by locals (on mountain bikes). I agree this the situation may be hazardous, but I disagree with the presumption that walking pilgrims have more "right" to walk there, than local bike clubs have the "right" to cycle there. In fact they may have been there before "us", and before the camino got popular. But I keep reading posts about cyclists "that simply shouldn't be there". This seems a bit odd. But well, there seem to be some misunderstandings going in this thread...

I quoted the statistics to "lighten up the discussion" a bit and proposed an unortodhox and 'out of the box' solution. But I probably failed here - I will re-evaluate my sense of irony :)
You do bring up some points of worthwhile consideration :).

I do not imagine that you are meaning to say that bicycles have been in existence as long as pedestrians. I would argue that pedestrians ARE, in fact, the 'legacy' users of the Camino pathways (farm roads, etc), although horses also share that distinction even though infrequently seen outside of the O Cebreiro section.

I would also argue that even in the modern revival of Camino, that IF bicycles were used in the early days, that they would have NOT have been the types of bicycles (trail bikes, etc) which would have allowed the speeds and dangerous practices that put pedestrians at risk, which cyclists now are engaged in.

Aside from all of that, there are some things that are part of Spanish law regarding bicycles.

Legally, a large percentage of cyclists (not all) that I have encountered, are in violation of Spain's cycling laws and regulations. For example:
  • In Spain, pedestrians always have the right of way, or priority, over cyclists on trails or other shared paths.
  • The speed limit is limited at all times to no more than 18 miles per hour/ 30km/h.
  • When pedestrians are present cyclists are required, by law, to approach with caution and slow down to speeds no higher than 6 miles per hour / 10km/h. The exception to the speed limit is if participating in sanctioned racing events.
  • Cyclists are not to wear earphones of other distracting devices which can create a hazard to pedestrians.
There has also been notice taken, by various local jurisdictions, of the large number of complaints by Camino walkers about cyclists (I cannot find those news articles right now, maybe someone can locate the source). From my recollection, the discussions revolved around whether to officially ban bicycles from certain narrow sections of paths and trails on the Camino Frances.

I do not think cyclists are aware that their access to all of the Camino Frances is being put at risk due to their own behaviors.

For the present, despite the risks to pedestrians posed by some cyclists, the Camino pathways are to be shared but with preference and priority of the path given to the pedestrian when regarding safety. That is a given.

While I recognize the necessity to share the pathways, I do not have to like it. In fact, I can despise it and become angry when I am needlessly put at risk by a cyclist. I say this advisedly, as I have lent a hand to bicycling pilgrims as they have pushed their heavy bikes up hills, and have sat and chatted with biking pilgrims in the shade of trees during a break.

I developed a great friendship with a bicycling pilgrim from Massachusetts that I met during a shuttle ride from Biarritz last mid-September when I began my last Camino. We got to know each other during the afternoon and evening while walking and sight seeing around SJPdP. Clovis also joined me during the next day's walk to Roncesvalles where he picked up his bicycle rental and gear the next morning. With a couple of other pilgrims we met at the albergue, we had dinner together that evening and attended the wonderful Pilgrim Mass at the chapel. After that, we kept touch with each other's progress on the Camino at the end of each day. We still chat from time-to-time to this day.

We can recognize there are those who are safe with a bicycle, and who are cognizant of THEIR need to share the Camino pathways with pedestrians, and who are not a danger or problem. But that still leaves a large percentage of dangerous cyclists, many who are probably local and club riders that are residents of Spain, who do act in a manner that is careless and poses a danger to Camino pedestrians.
 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
It's more a matter of common sense: why be stupid and try to ride where all the walkers are?
I could turn your argument around: why walk on an local mountain bike trail where people have rode their mountain bike for ages, particularly when there are other options to walk to Molinaseca ? But this would be pedantic. Not intending to re-enact the Monthy Python Argument sketch here....

I agree that it is common sense not to bike certain parts of the camino, given the amount of people walking. I think I am triggered by some comments in this thread, making some wild generalisations about cyclistst and expressing some kind of 'ownership' of the paths we happen to walk on. I also do think that part of the problem is that some walkers are not used to share paths with cyclists (so there is a responsibility for walkers to consider if they are up for this this)
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
why walk on an local mountain bike trail where people have rode their mountain bike for ages, particularly when there are other options to walk to Molinaseca ?
Because people have been doing that for millenia, whereas the bikes are the newbies? It's not as though mountain bikers have no other options. But there's a single Camino Francés, carrying a huge number of pilgrims.

I understand being triggered by gross generalizations, Marc - and yet. @davebugg's post spells out the basic reality of the law here. And intentional disregard of the safety of others is never justifiable. I hope the people who cause broken pilgrim bones reap legal consequences, because that's the only thing that will put the brakes on the recklessness.
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
A quick change from commiserating to practical advice for bikers and hikers. (I enjoy doing both)

If you are about to walk your first camino:

A camino ending Injury from collision with a bike is highest while walking downhill & at the bottom of the hill (usually on a narrow dirt road or wide dirt path). Due to the hill and gravity, this is when the bikers are traveling very fast relative to your slow walking pace. Due to their speed they may not be able to react to a change you make in your direction of walking. If the surface has loose rock or is wet/slippery they cannot use their brakes at these higher speeds without making the situation even worse. The majority of these riders are experienced and skilled at navigating this terrain at this speed. If every walker on the camino was a non communicating Robot, walking a predictable "line" and never deviating from it, the Robots would mostly be safe. But we are humans; spontaneous, emotional, engaged, talking and laughing and sharing the camaraderie of the Camino. These precious times are better shared shoulder to shoulder (across the path) in groups of 3, 4 or 5 and not single file like a forced prison march. For your own safety, when walking down the hills described above, check over your shoulder every 5 - 10 seconds for a biker coming down the hill. Alert your walking companions of the approaching biker, move to right in single file and as he gets close, if he is going at a speed that you could not absorb without injury, step off the trail and stop moving giving him as much room as possible. This advice is about self preservation. It's not a rule. I wish it was unnecessary.

Ear buds / head phones: You only have two senses to warn you that a biker is approaching from behind. The first one, Vision is covered above. If you are listening to music/audio book/podcast you have eliminated half of your senses, half of your abilities to avoid a potential problem coming from behind without warning. Pull the earbuds out while walking downhill. If you choose not to remove the earbuds, hug the right side of the walking surface and walk down that hill like a robot...on a fixed line with no deviations unless you first check behind you. You are still vulnerable to injury from a biker who loses control and plows over you. If you are not stopped watching the biker, as he passes, you cannot take a last second evasive action.

If you are riding your Mountain Bike:

After all that work pedaling up a hill in hot weather there is nothing like the feeling of racing down it, feeling that wind in your face cooling your hot sweaty body, exercising your skills while laser focused on the ruts and rocks and surface changes that could crash you if you did not give it the respect and attention it deserved. If you are loaded up with saddles bags, you don't even want to ride at the edge of your abilities but you also don't want to descend riding your brakes at 5 mph and miss the cooling breeze from this lovely downhill you worked so hard to get to. If the descent has hikers on it don't deprive yourself of a fun downhill run. Get off the bike, take a break, have a snack and some water and wait until the hill is free of hikers. If you can't/won't wait for it to be completely cleared, then time it so there are only a few hikers on the hill and yell and scream like a crazy person the whole way down so people are aware of a potentially dangerous crazy out of control biker coming from behind. Or, consider sacrificing your cool breezy descent for a low speed ride and verbally warn hikers ahead that you are approaching. Use your bell. If you have it mounted properly you can easily diddle it while keeping a grip on your handle bars. If you can't safely ring your bell, that is a sign you are going to fast for the conditions while people are present. And the "weight" factor of a bill doesn't even deserve a mention.

Traveling on the flat land:

(assume hikers travel at 2 mph and bikers travel at 10 mph on the flat, 5 times faster than walkers)
Bikers, while riding on dirt roads or dirt paths how often are you checking over your shoulder for an object overtaking you at 5 times the speed (50 mph) you are traveling? Would it be disconcerting to know this was going to happen with some frequency during your camino at times when you are not expecting it (while on farmer dirt roads, or dirt paths where a large motorcycle is not expected to be). Is it relaxing to know that you are in danger of this at any moment if you deviate from the line you are riding without first looking behind you? If you have not thought about it, this is what it is like for walkers dealing with bikers. [In the downhill scenario where you are riding at 20 mph, (10x faster than hiker) the equivalent is a big motorcycle passing you at (10 x 20 mph = 200 mph.]

Hikers, how does it feel when you are driving on a highway with a 65 mph speed limit and that is the speed you want to travel at because the road and weather conditions make it perfectly safe. But, on this 2 lane divided highway, you are blocked by a slow truck in the right lane going 50 mph and an elderly distracted driver going 50 mph in the passing lane? You cannot get by them. This is how it feels for the Bikers when the walkers take up the whole path oblivious to anything happening behind them. I have even felt this way as a solo walker trying to get past a large babbling group of slower walkers that took up every inch of a wide path. It required some loud and persistent Holas and Buen Caminos to claw through them.

Until there are separate and exclusive paths for camino hikers and camino bikers we need to empathize with the frustrations we cause each other and then actively try to minimize those behaviors.

The local Mt. Biking Spaniards on the Camino trails (who are riding the most aggressively because they are not carrying extra weight) deserve a place to ride and understandably feel this Spanish dirt is much more "theirs" than the pilgrims. Perhaps the fee for a pilgrim credential is raised by $1 to $3 and that $1 goes to making new local Mt. Biking trails for them.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
The local Mt. Biking Spaniards on the Camino trails (who are riding the most aggressively because they are not carrying extra weight) deserve a place to ride and understandably feel this Spanish dirt is much more "theirs" than the pilgrims. Perhaps the fee for a pilgrim credential is raised by $1 to $3 and that $1 goes to making new local Mt. Biking trails for them.
I liked your post a lot, til I got to this part, @twh.
There are LOTS of other places to ride. And a significant part of the pilgrim population is Spanish, too. Not all mountain bikers are reckless idiots. But the ones who are need to grow up and think of others.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
WOW - a real can of worms has been opened.
If you care to search the page of the cycle pilgrims you will find my report on my experiences of the Frances in 2015. Without having seen this Camino before hand I did (foolishly) attempt sectors that really were, or should be "walkers only". From Day 2 I only rode the pilgrims way were it was clearly a marked "local road". When I walked in 2017 I saw the sections I had avoided, yet here I encountered cyclists who rode these "walkers only" sectors without any consideration of those on foot.

The question of separation is more an issue for the local Spanish authorities, but I doubt there will be any action to dedicate sectors as "walkers only" unless, or until there is a fatality (whether accidental or deliberate).
Sectors that I have in mind as "walkers only" include the Alto del Perdon, between Cizur Menor and Obanos; Cruz de Ferro/Manjarin to Molinaseca. (No doubt others will have their own sectors to exclude).

I don't think this is the appropriate forum to lobby for such government action when we have people (even tongue in cheek) suggesting actions that would, imho, result in the major injury or even death to the cyclist .
Will close here and withdraw from this discussion,. A very safe and happy Buen Camino to all!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I could turn your argument around: why walk on an local mountain bike trail where people have rode their mountain bike for ages, particularly when there are other options to walk to Molinaseca ? But this would be pedantic. Not intending to re-enact the Monthy Python Argument sketch here....

I agree that it is common sense not to bike certain parts of the camino, given the amount of people walking. I think I am triggered by some comments in this thread, making some wild generalisations about cyclistst and expressing some kind of 'ownership' of the paths we happen to walk on. I also do think that part of the problem is that some walkers are not used to share paths with cyclists (so there is a responsibility for walkers to consider if they are up for this this)
Rode their mountain bikes for "ages"? What, like thirty years or so? lol
I believe the walking pilgrims have been plodding the paths for a lot longer than that. What, about a thousand years or so?
I like riding mountain bikes, but I would never ride, nor would I enjoy riding one where I have to share the path with so many people walking. The walkers were there first and aren't going anywhere, so I would either ride somewhere else or ride when most of the walkers have finished for the day.
Bikes and walkers simply do not mix. There is no coming to a compromise. It just does not work, and I think it is pointless to expect walkers to walk in a constant high level of alert to the prospect of a high velocity aluminium, lycra, gore-tex and rubber, large projectile bearing down upon them. There are more walkers than bikers, so like so many things in life, majority rules. The old bit Mr Spock on Star Trek used to say...the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or something like that.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
@davebugg Thank you for pointing out Spain's cycling laws and regulations. I hadn't taken these in consideration yet, which I should have. (maybe because Amsterdam cyclists behave like anarchists and ignore any kind of cycling regulations).

We can recognize there are those who are safe with a bicycle, and who are cognizant of THEIR need to share the Camino pathways with pedestrians, and who are not a danger or problem. But that still leaves a large percentage of dangerous cyclists, many who are probably local and club riders that are residents of Spain, who do act in a manner that is careless and poses a danger to Camino pedestrians.
I mainly agree with this, but the disagreement is probably in the assesment of how large the percentage of dangerous cyclists actually is. We all have our anecdotical evidence. It's just that in my experience I do not remember that much dangerous behaviour by cyclists. Overall, I do not conclude that - because there are cyclists that violate the law - cyclists should be banned from all mixed paths (a sentiment that has been expressed in this thread).

I do not imagine that you are meaning to say that bicycles have been in existence as long as pedestrians. I would argue that pedestrians ARE, in fact, the 'legacy' users of the Camino pathways (farm roads, etc), although horses also share that distinction even though infrequently seen outside of the O Cebreiro section.
Not sure about where a discussion about the concept of 'legacy users of the Camino would lead us to - although it is an interesting discussion. One could argue that pedestrians form the only category of people that can be called legacy users. But one could also argue that legacy users can be catholics only, or Europeans only, because they were the categories of people walking the camino in the middle ages.

Then there is the question as to what the legacy use of camino pathways actually means. We may consider the farmroads we walk on as camino pathways, but we may also consider them as just farm roads, because that's what they were during the time that hardly any pilgrims walked the camino (and for the last century they were farmroads partially used by local cyclists). If we literally want to be legacy users of the camino pathways, we would have probably have to walk on the highway and main roads (because this is where the middle age pilgrims walked).

So I am not sure if the concept of the legacy user is getting us anywhere here. We may also see the camino as an entity that has changed over time, and when it got popular again in the 80's it was a fact that bicycles were existent. Similarly, smartphones are existent now, and it would be harsh to conclude that a walking pilgrim with a smartphone can not be a legacy user.

Sorry, I am maybe going little off topic here. But thank you and Tom for your posts, it given me some food for thought.

PS Just to be clear. I have never cycled the camino, and I have no intention to do so. Don't understand why people would like to cycle through a crowd of walkers. Still, I defend their right to do so.
 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Rode their mountain bikes for "ages"? What, like thirty years or so? lol
This is actually what I meant to say: some (20 or 30) years. I wrote 'ages', which apparently is not correct as I now realize that 'ages' means something else than years (which I meant to say). Please remember English is not my first language, and this forum is not for native English speakers only. You could try to be aware of this. And thus you could try to react in a different way instead of "laughing out loud".

"Bikes and walkers simply do not mix. There is no coming to a compromise. It just does not work."
Lots of opinions. Hardly any arguments. But I admit you speak better English than me. :)
 
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simply B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
I could turn your argument around: why walk on an local mountain bike trail where people have rode their mountain bike for ages, particularly when there are other options to walk to Molinaseca ? But this would be pedantic. Not intending to re-enact the Monthy Python Argument sketch here....

I agree that it is common sense not to bike certain parts of the camino, given the amount of people walking. I think I am triggered by some comments in this thread, making some wild generalisations about cyclistst and expressing some kind of 'ownership' of the paths we happen to walk on. I also do think that part of the problem is that some walkers are not used to share paths with cyclists (so there is a responsibility for walkers to consider if they are up for this this)
The only other path down to Molinaseca, as far as I am aware, is the road. I would advise against!

Descent against traffic is often walking a narrow strip abutted on one's left by a rock face. To make it worse, there are intrusions of the rock to the very edge of the traveled road. One must take a quick glance around the rock face to check before scooting safely to the other side. I remember some pretty short sight lines back in 2014.

Has it been improved? Or is there now a new, non-road option?

B
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
I do not think a solution to this problem is on the horizon. Spain has the laws, but it also has no enforcement. My ears point forward, so bells are of no value to me. Roads parallel almost the entire Camino, but many cyclists do not want to use them. Since the problem is between the ears of the bicyclists, the solution will need to be found there.:(
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
So I am not sure if the concept of the legacy user is getting us anywhere here.
'Legacy user" is another way of saying who was here first, historically: pedestrians or cyclists. As the context of what I wrote intended to indicate, it was responsive to your statement, " In fact they may have cycled there before "us", and before the camino got popular."

Since THAT (bike vs pedestrian) is the basis for this thread topic, and not other categories like countries of origin or religious affiliations, then my argument is, I think, appropriately focused.

I mainly agree with this, but the disagreement is probably in the assesment of how large the percentage of dangerous cyclists actually is.
I would agree with you, if the claim was made that these were statements of an entire cohort of cyclists to ever use the Camino. What I am reading is what each individual has assessed based on their unique experience with bicyclists.

One is able to assess an approximate portion of bicyclists that you, as an individual, feel has put you at risk - - a lot, a few, none, a couple, etc. Just because they are anecdotal occurrences does not mean they haven't occurred. Anecdotal information is the basis from which arises the need to objectively quantify the extent of the problem as it exists for the total user population. It must be remembered that an anecdotal recalling of an incident IS an event which has taken place.

In accident and injury prevention, regulations are not constructed only because of the frequency of incidents. They are often implemented because of the possibility of an incident occurring + the potential severity of injury that can result if an incident occurs. For example, seat belt laws are enacted not because vehicle accidents are frequent in relation to the total number of vehicle miles driven; they exist because in the small percentage of times that accidents DO occur, a seat belt may reduce the risk for morbidity or mortality.
 

Mugatu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
Publication of general trail etiquette needs to be disseminated in one form or the other to rule out ignorance, in the addition to trail signs depicting right of way. Whether Im foot or on bike, I see infractions on both sides:

Bikers: who don't consider hikers given their age may be hard of hearing, not waiting for trail clearance before decent, etc

Hikers: walking a breast and not choosing a lane, failing to yield properly to uphill hikers..

At any rate I won't hesitate to confront anyone who puts my safety at risk with actions that may have life long consequences and neither should you.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Publication of general trail etiquette needs to be disseminated in one form or the other to rule out ignorance, in the addition to trail signs depicting right of way. Whether Im foot or on bike, I see infractions on both sides:

Bikers: who don't consider hikers given their age may be hard of hearing, not waiting for trail clearance before decent, etc

Hikers: walking a breast and not choosing a lane, failing to yield properly to uphill hikers..

At any rate I won't hesitate to confront anyone who puts my safety at risk with actions that may have life long consequences and neither should you.
I am not aware of any legislatively enacted pedestrian regulations, except for those in urban environments pertaining to such things as crosswalks and lights, etc., and that pedestrians must yield to a horse. :) You are correct that there are unofficially-official (commonly) recognized hiker rights-of-way standards, including the one you mentioned of a hiker going downhill yields the right-of-way to a hiker walking uphill.

In any case, even if pedestrians are stupidly out of a lane of travel and blocking a wide path, bicyclists are required to always yield to pedestrians and horses. And pedestrians must yield to horses.

I am not arguing that walkers should disregard a cyclist's need to continue unimpeded, courtesy should be extended as is reasonable. What I am stating is that bicyclist's cannot force a right-of-way that does not exist, against a pedestrian(s).
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Hikers: walking a breast and not choosing a lane, failing to yield properly to uphill hikers..
The walking pilgrims will never adhere to some type of "lane" technique when on the Camino, which is varied in its surface, width, surrounding environment etc. Simply put, there are no lanes on it and it is nothing like an actual path in a city designed for bicycles and walkers with designated lanes marked for such. I could not imagine groups of pilgrims marching single file on the Camino in their designated lane calling cadence "hup two three four, watch out for the lycra clad corps"......
Pilgrims walk in large groups sometimes, two or three across, two or three deep, engrossed in conversation, taking in the scenery, enjoying their walk etc. To expect them to be on high alert, constantly scanning the area for bicyclists is unreasonable and frankly unrealistic and not what walking a pilgrimage is about.
The Way is and was always a path for walking pilgrims. The bicyclists are invasive upon the walkers. The walkers are not invasive upon the bicyclists.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
This is actually what I meant to say: some (20 or 30) years. I wrote 'ages', which apparently is not correct as I now realize that 'ages' means something else than years (which I meant to say). Please remember English is not my first language, and this forum is not for native English speakers only. You could try to be aware of this. And thus you could try to react in a different way instead of "laughing out loud".

"Bikes and walkers simply do not mix. There is no coming to a compromise. It just does not work."
Lots of opinions. Hardly any arguments. But I admit you speak better English than me. :)
My intent was not to ridicule. My apologies if that is how it came across.
 

alhartman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
I cannot tar all cyclists with the same brush. At Poblacion about 12 Ukrainian cyclists camped in the yard and shared food with us all; sadly never part of camino family since they moved so fast. And I walked an injured French cyclist from the road where he fell and broke a hip in front of Ave Fenix to the Jatos and helped pack his panniers for shipping as Jose got him off to a hospital.

But these were pilgrims and not the Lycra clad locals that I have feared on descents in the last few years: I do not think they have credencials or are working to becoming statistics for a compostela. It is just this small group of mountain bikers that create a safety problem--and it is the same problem here in the Cascades with hikers and bikers sharing the same space--they really do not mix well. And IMO, this has no solution except legal rules and enforcement--and setting aside some public space for mountain bikes only.
But I value my aging body enough to keep the earbuds out, stay single file to the right, and do periodic shoulder checks.
 

RobertS26

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2013)
Camino Frances, (2014)
Camino Frances, (2015)
If you have walked the Camino Frances between Villafranca and St. Juan, you know that this segment works it way through a forest. At some points, the path is literally 100 meters wide (it's a fire break).

In 2015, as I was walking this section, I was thinking about how pleasant it was to be on such a wide path without any worries about bicyclists. Just then a dude on a bicycle hit me from behind. Again, the path is literally 100 meters wide at this point and this clown somehow managed to knock me down.

He was apologetic, but he seemed more concerned about the damage to his bike. As I limped the rest of the way into St. Juan, I wondered how dangerous this guy was when the path is only a meter wide.
 

DBride

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Burgos April 2019
When I walked Camino Frances I have almost same problem. Im half deaf so after Sarria to Santiago I can't hear the coming bicycles. They were so fast that for sure they could hurt me if I was on their side of the road. So from Sarria because of the crowd I begin to walk not in the middle of the road.
 

Mugatu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
The walking pilgrims will never adhere to some type of "lane" technique when on the Camino, which is varied in its surface, width, surrounding environment etc. Simply put, there are no lanes on it and it is nothing like an actual path in a city designed for bicycles and walkers with designated lanes marked for such. I could not imagine groups of pilgrims marching single file on the Camino in their designated lane calling cadence "hup two three four, watch out for the lycra clad corps"......
Pilgrims walk in large groups sometimes, two or three across, two or three deep, engrossed in conversation, taking in the scenery, enjoying their walk etc. To expect them to be on high alert, constantly scanning the area for bicyclists is unreasonable and frankly unrealistic and not what walking a pilgrimage is about.
The Way is and was always a path for walking pilgrims. The bicyclists are invasive upon the walkers. The walkers are not invasive upon the bicyclists.
Maybe I’m just assuming that people understand shared spaces/trails and trail etiquette is universal regardless of continent. I’m m sure the way has been a walking path devoid of horses mules camels and any other live stock past pilgrims have used to hasten their journey 🤔.

Btw I’m a hiker, biker, surfer, snowboarder... and each discipline requires a certain universal etiquette.

To expect less of people on the Camino is absurd. On a bike or on foot you need to be alert, for your safety and the safety of others... its not unrealistic to hold people and educate them on proper use of shared spaces. If youre hiking and listening to music and not aware of your environment and can’t hear a cyclist bell or call “Left” that’s your mistake. If you and your friends want to walk side by side and don’t give way when people have given you fair warning to pass... you’re inconsiderate and have a false perception, thinking this path is for you and you alone.

HYOH
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Maybe I’m just assuming that people understand shared spaces/trails and trail etiquette is universal regardless of continent. I’m m sure I he way has been a walking path devoid of horses mules camels and any other live stock past pilgrims have used to hasten their journey 🤔.

Btw I’m a hiker, biker, surfer, snowboarder... and each discipline requires a certain universal etiquette.

To expect less of people on the Camino is absurd. On a bike or on foot you need to be alert, for your safety and the safety of others... its not unrealistic to hold people and educate them on proper use of shared spaces. If youre hiking and listening to music and not aware of your environment and can’t hear a cyclist bell or call “Left” that’s your mistake. If you and your friends want to walk side by side and don’t give way when people have given you fair warning to pass... you’re inconsiderate and have a false perception, thinking this path is for you and you alone.

HYOH
Let me argue the opposite case :)

Pedestrian "etiquette" are not laws or regulations, it is a self-imposed observation of courtesies. Conversely, cyclists DO have laws and regulations dictating required behavior. There is NO equivalency between how bicycles are to behave when encountering pedestrians, vs how pedestrians are required to behave.

This isn't a matter of the path "belonging" to pedestrians, it is a matter of the cyclist being under a legal obligation to yield the right-of-way.

Practically speaking, I am under NO obligation to be aware of a cyclist. An argument made that I must dilute my experience as a hiker in order to heighten the experience of a cyclist, is one I flatly reject. I will not be on alert for cyclists; I will not spoil my Camino or backpacking trip to do so. That is not what the law requires, nor is it incumbent on me to make a cyclist's life easier.

I won't purposefully hinder a cyclist, but I will not subjugate MY needs to his/her desires. There is no such thing as a cyclist giving a "fair warning", which suggests that I am under an obligation to behave in a required manner when a cyclist is present.

As a subsection of all walkers are those who have hearing difficulties. It is also a fact that it is NORMAL for walkers to be inward focused. It is not THEIR mistake for not hearing a bicycle. I would point out that the cyclist is supposed to already be prepared for such issues, and in fact are required by law to act and ride in such a manner.

Amplifying this a bit further, using the word 'mistake' is an assessment of liability. Since there are no laws or regulations which dictate how pedestrians must walk on shared paths -- but which do exist for bicycles -- the liability issues (mistakes) fall to the cyclist to avoid. If a bicycle vs pedestrian accident occurs, the liability or mistake will likely be on the head of the cyclist.

So bottom line: based on the law, if anyone needs to be alert to shared path use, it is the cyclist. Pedestrians should be courteous if they are aware of a cyclist's presence, but it is the responsibility of the cyclist to adapt to shared use with pedestrians, not the other way around.
 
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omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Of course it was offered humorously, by way of explaining clearly and in an unambiguous manner the sort of tragedy that will likely have to occur before someone in charge actually does something.

I do not for a moment advocate any violence of any sort...PERIOD!

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.
It's a shame you have to tell someone it was meant in jest ,pretty obvious really...and no oneseems have taken it any other way
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Over the years, I have learned that there are a fair number of hyper-sensitive forum members, easily offended by nearly anything. One learns to accept and just deal with it with as much grace as possible...
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
'Legacy user" is another way of saying who was here first, historically: pedestrians or cyclists. As the context of what I wrote intended to indicate, it was responsive to your statement, " In fact they may have cycled there before "us", and before the camino got popular."
@davebugg Did not get back to this yet because your post made me wonder about subjects like legacy and heritage in general, and I drifted off to the UNESCO website to get an idea of what actually is considered 'the heritage' while recognizing the Camino as world heritage. Interesting stuff, maybe worth another thread some time.:)

As to the point you made. The question "who was here first, historically ?" - it may seem a simple question, but I think it is not, as it very much depends on which "benchmark" (if this is the correct word) one uses, and what we mean with "here".

With "here" I tend to refer to the paths we walk nowadays, and these are for a large part existing paths and roads that were redesigned as the Camino Frances during the 80's. The current CF paths are mostly not the paths that were walked by pilgrims in the middle ages., the medieval footpaths are often now roads. So when us modern-day walkers claim we were "here" first, we actually mean our 'predecessors' were "over there" first : somewhere where there is now a road or highway". I have read people giving the argument "that we have been walking here for centuries". This is factually not true.

Using the 80's camino revival (and the establishment of the current path) as a benchmark, I conclude that both walking and cycling pilgrims were "here" first - as a substantial number of pilgrims since the 80s' are cyclists. In addition to that, and presuming local Spaniards rode their bikes along country paths in the 70's (also on the paths that were designed as the CF in the 80's) one could argue that they were the ones that were "here" first. You are probably right that mountain bikes were not in use in the 80's though.

I wrote that "they may have cycled here before us", to put into context someone's assumption that us walkers were here first. However, I did not intend to promote the legacy argument as a major argument in this discussion about etiquette on shared paths. I actually find the legacy argument rather uncomfortable in general, as arguments about ownership of territories and claimed historic rights often lead to polarisation and have been the subject of some rather nasty political conflicts all over the world.

I would agree with you, if the claim was made that these were statements of an entire cohort of cyclists to ever use the Camino. What I am reading is what each individual has assessed based on their unique experience with bicyclists.
Not sure if I full grasp what you meant to say. But - back to the subject of this thread (how we can all behave senisbly on a mixed path). Let me just make clear that I do not deny that accidents happen and friction exists. And I do acknowledge there are cyclists/bikers that behave dangerously. And I do think a risk assesment is advicable for certain stretches of the Camino which are narrow. And I do agree that anecdotical evidence could be helpful in this assessment. Of course then we may disagree about which level of risk is acceptable, and what are effective, necessary and proportional measure to reduce the risks.

It would make sense if local cyclists & cycling associations are to be involved in this process of risk assessment. In fact I stumbled upon a Spanish cycling site, that advices cyclists to follow the main road from Riego de Ambros to Molineseca as it considers cycling this stretch as potentially dangerous. Maybe the relevant authorities should decide that this is a stretch that should no longer be used as a mixed path. But imho NOT because pilgrims have walked this particular stretch for centuries as has been mentioned in one post (it is more likely that medieval pilgrims followed the road close to the camino path), but because it is the best safety option given the current situation on such a stretch, which could justify a general infringement on the rights of cyclists on this particular stretch as being proportional. In principal I do not see a reason why this should automatically imply that, on this stretch, all cyclists should cycle somewhere else - we could also walk somewhere else. I actually walked this part on the road (as I found the camino path too busy with walkers), no big deal. However, when large numbers of people start walking on this road, this would possibly lead to new safety issues.
 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Let me argue the opposite case :)

Pedestrian "etiquette" are not laws or regulations, it is a self-imposed observation of courtesies. Conversely, cyclists DO have laws and regulations dictating required behavior. There is NO equivalency between how bicycles are to behave when encountering pedestrians, vs how pedestrians are required to behave.

This isn't a matter of the path "belonging" to pedestrians, it is a matter of the cyclist being under a legal obligation to yield the right-of-way.

Practically speaking, I am under NO obligation to be aware of a cyclist. An argument made that I must dilute my experience as a hiker in order to heighten the experience of a cyclist, is one I flatly reject. I will not be on alert for cyclists; I will not spoil my Camino or backpacking trip to do so. That is not what the law requires, nor is it incumbent on me to make a cyclist's life easier.

I won't purposefully hinder a cyclist, but I will not subjugate MY needs to his/her desires. There is no such thing as a cyclist giving a "fair warning", which suggests that I am under an obligation to behave in a required manner when a cyclist is present.

As a subsection of all walkers are those who have hearing difficulties. It is also a fact that it is NORMAL for walkers to be inward focused. It is not THEIR mistake for not hearing a bicycle. I would point out that the cyclist is supposed to already be prepared for such issues, and in fact are required by law to act and ride in such a manner.

Amplifying this a bit further, using the word 'mistake' is an assessment of liability. Since there are no laws or regulations which dictate how pedestrians must walk on shared paths -- but which do exist for bicycles -- the liability issues (mistakes) fall to the cyclist to avoid. If a bicycle vs pedestrian accident occurs, the liability or mistake will likely be on the head of the cyclist.

So bottom line: based on the law, if anyone needs to be alert to shared path use, it is the cyclist. Pedestrians should be courteous if they are aware of a cyclist's presence, but it is the responsibility of the cyclist to adapt to shared use with pedestrians, not the other way around.
Thank you for arguing the opposite, it sharpens the thoughts.:) I am not sure if its normal for walkers to be inward focused. When walking the CF, I sometimes wish some were a bit more inward focused. But when you say that "Practically speaking, I am under NO obligation to be aware of a cyclist."and "Since there are no laws or regulations which dictate how pedestrians must walk on shared paths" I do wonder which law you are referring to: to Spanish legislation ?

I think that in the Netherlands for example legislation partially covers pedestrians as well. Depending on where they walk. For example, Dutch law (Wegenverkeerswet) does not require pedestrians to walk either on the left or the right of a road shared with cars and / or bicycles - but when pedestrians walk in groups there is an obligation to walk right. Most importantly, it is also forbidden by Dutch law for everybody (including pedestrians) to behave in any such way which endangers other traffic. If Spanish legislation has a similar provision (which I do not know) it seems to me also pedestrians have some legal obligations, at least on the parts of the camino that fall under the jurisdiction of the Spanish equivalent of the Wegenverkeerswet. Or am I wrong here ?
 
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Galloglaigh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Member of the Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (2020)
Moreover, it is also forbidden by Dutch law for everybody (including pedestrians) to behave in any such way which endangers other traffic. If Spanish legislation has a similar provision (which I do not know) it seems to me also pedestrians have some legal obligations. Or am I wrong here ?
Don't go there. It's a minefield as you'll end up debating European laws based on the Code Napoléon in contrast to the common law jurisdictions of the US and the Anglo-Saxon realms. They just don't mix.

Just stick to common sense. Be aware of your surroundings and take care whether by foot, car, bike, horse or other forms of transport.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Don't go there.
Hmmm. Common sense is always a good idea. But I just thought @davebugg raised some interesting points which deserve further exploration. If this leads to comparing laws in different countries, I find this interesting (although all what really matters here is Spanish legislation) - and it is in line with thread subject - in fact understanding that we all come from different backgrounds, with different legislation on this subject, and a different culture about the place of bicycles in the public space - this may make it easier to get to a common etiquette for shared paths.

It honestly did not cross my mind how my post could possibly be interpreted as controversial or potentially provocative. But if I am breaching forum rules here, then I will soon find out and apologize.
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I do wonder which law you are referring to: to Spanish legislation ?
Yes, I am referring to Spanish legislation because we are focused on Camino de Santiago routes in Spain :) I posted a summary of the various aspects of the legislation previously. I also summarized that there are no similar legal requirements for pedestrian behavior on shared pathways, outside of signals and crosswalks within urban traffic areas.

Therefore it is not helpful to talk about pedestrian expectations in other nations as a practical application to walking in Spain.

I have also argued for observing reasonable levels of courtesy and other practices of etiquette. My central thesis, however, is that as pedestrians on Camino, walkers/hikers are NOT responsible for making the cyclist's recreational pursuits easier, more pleasant, or fun, or otherwise fulfilling.

Their is no legal, ethical, or moral argument that will persuade me to lessen MY reasons for walking on the Camino just so a cyclist can freely engage in unimpeded recreation. In other words, I will occupy my mind with whatever I wish to as I am walking. I will converse with others. I will walk on a part of a pathway that makes MY walking less hazardous or easier.

I will not lessen my normal expectations and experiences in order to heighten the experience of the cyclist. What I will do is make reasonable accommodation and share the pathway IF I am aware of an approaching cyclist. It is up to the cyclist to safely make himself known to me, it is NOT up to me to devote time or effort at being aware of when a cyclist is approaching.

If this might be seen by a cyclist as a frustration, or disrespect, or other bad thing is not MY problem, it is his.

Overall, my totality of experiences with Camino cyclists have been positive, and I sense that most bicyclists try to be respectful of the shared pathway.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
@davebugg Did not get back to this yet because your post made me wonder about subjects like legacy and heritage in general, and I drifted off to the UNESCO website to get an idea of what actually is considered 'the heritage' while recognizing the Camino as world heritage. Interesting stuff, maybe worth another thread some time.:)

As to the point you made. The question "who was here first, historically ?" - it may seem a simple question, but I think it is not, as it very much depends on which "benchmark" (if this is the correct word) one uses, and what we mean with "here".

With "here" I tend to refer to the paths we walk nowadays, and these are for a large part existing paths and roads that were redesigned as the Camino Frances during the 80's. The current CF paths are mostly not the paths that were walked by pilgrims in the middle ages., the medieval footpaths are often now roads. So when us modern-day walkers claim we were "here" first, we actually mean our 'predecessors' were "over there" first : somewhere where there is now a road or highway". I have read people giving the argument "that we have been walking here for centuries". This is factually not true.

Using the 80's camino revival (and the establishment of the current path) as a benchmark, I conclude that both walking and cycling pilgrims were "here" first - as a substantial number of pilgrims since the 80s' are cyclists. In addition to that, and presuming local Spaniards rode their bikes along country paths in the 70's (also on the paths that were designed as the CF in the 80's) one could argue that they were the ones that were "here" first. You are probably right that mountain bikes were not in use in the 80's though.

I wrote that "they may have cycled here before us", to put into context someone's assumption that us walkers were here first. However, I did not intend to promote the legacy argument as a major argument in this discussion about etiquette on shared paths. I actually find the legacy argument rather uncomfortable in general, as arguments about ownership of territories and claimed historic rights often lead to polarisation and have been the subject of some rather nasty political conflicts all over the world.



Not sure if I full grasp what you meant to say. But - back to the subject of this thread (how we can all behave senisbly on a mixed path). Let me just make clear that I do not deny that accidents happen and friction exists. And I do acknowledge there are cyclists/bikers that behave dangerously. And I do think a risk assesment is advicable for certain stretches of the Camino which are narrow. And I do agree that anecdotical evidence could be helpful in this assessment. Of course then we may disagree about which level of risk is acceptable, and what are effective, necessary and proportional measure to reduce the risks.

It would make sense if local cyclists & cycling associations are to be involved in this process of risk assessment. In fact I stumbled upon a Spanish cycling site, that advices cyclists to follow the main road from Riego de Ambros to Molineseca as it considers cycling this stretch as potentially dangerous. Maybe the relevant authorities should decide that this is a stretch that should no longer be used as a mixed path. But imho NOT because pilgrims have walked this particular stretch for centuries as has been mentioned in one post (it is more likely that medieval pilgrims followed the road close to the camino path), but because it is the best safety option given the current situation on such a stretch, which could justify a general infringement on the rights of cyclists on this particular stretch as being proportional. In principal I do not see a reason why this should automatically imply that, on this stretch, all cyclists should cycle somewhere else - we could also walk somewhere else. I actually walked this part on the road (as I found the camino path too busy with walkers), no big deal. However, when large numbers of people start walking on this road, this would possibly lead to new safety issues.
Sorry, Marc, but this is getting into a bit of a circular argument. :)

Again, I am not defending a position where pedestrians should be the only users of Camino pathways, because that is not relevant; cyclists ARE allowed to share the Camino. My argument is that pedestrians have no obligation to do anything to allow unimpeded or easier passage of a cyclist. It is, by law and regulation, the cyclist who must respond to the pedestrian's presence, not the other way around.

I say the above fully aware that courteous behavior and etiquette and commonsense are things which are good to practice. Their practice, however, is based on KNOWING that a cyclist is present. My position is that I do not need to make MYSELF aware of an approaching cyclist. . .it is the approaching cyclist who has the total responsibility for making me aware of his presence. If the cyclist makes an effort to make me aware he is coming, yet I do not respond for whatever reason, the cyclist is then required to react accordingly and yield the right of way.

As to history, or who was there first - - bicycles or pedestrians, or whether mountain biking existed prior in the 1980 to any extent on the Camino. . . one can rationalize minutiae to death in support of an argument but what actually has occurred is far more important, should one care to argue such things.

My work in public health incorporated assignments in State level agencies with regard to injury prevention. Developing evaluations, assessment methodologies, and then making determinations of suggested legislation or regulations that may be useful to risk reduction is not simple. And it is typically not just focused on the number of actual occurrences, but also on the their severity. Because of this, I look at the role of anecdotal statistics a bit differently from how you are looking at them.

I do not think we disagree with the issue of bicycles on Camino.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Sorry, Marc, but this is getting into a bit of a circular argument. :)
Agree Dave. Maybe I sometimes argue for the sake of the argument. Hope you don't mind. Let's leave it at this - I appreciate your arguments though.

I do not think we disagree with the issue of bicycles on Camino.
Agree.
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Agree Dave. Maybe I sometimes argue for the sake of the argument. Hope you don't mind . Let's leave it at this - I appreciate your arguments though.



Agree.

Your arguments made excellent points. :) I was just finding myself lacking anything unique to add as the thread progressed.
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
Yes, I am referring to Spanish legislation because we are focused on Camino de Santiago routes in Spain :) I posted a summary of the various aspects of the legislation previously. I also summarized that there are no similar legal requirements for pedestrian behavior on shared pathways, outside of signals and crosswalks within urban traffic areas.

Therefore it is not helpful to talk about pedestrian expectations in other nations as a practical application to walking in Spain.

I have also argued for observing reasonable levels of courtesy and other practices of etiquette. My central thesis, however, is that as pedestrians on Camino, walkers/hikers are NOT responsible for making the cyclist's recreational pursuits easier, more pleasant, or fun, or otherwise fulfilling.

Their is no legal, ethical, or moral argument that will persuade me to lessen MY reasons for walking on the Camino just so a cyclist can freely engage in unimpeded recreation. In other words, I will occupy my mind with whatever I wish to as I am walking. I will converse with others. I will walk on a part of a pathway that makes MY walking less hazardous or easier.

I will not lessen my normal expectations and experiences in order to heighten the experience of the cyclist. What I will do is make reasonable accommodation and share the pathway IF I am aware of an approaching cyclist. It is up to the cyclist to safely make himself known to me, it is NOT up to me to devote time or effort at being aware of when a cyclist is approaching.

If this might be seen by a cyclist as a frustration, or disrespect, or other bad thing is not MY problem, it is his.

Overall, my totality of experiences with Camino cyclists have been positive, and I sense that most bicyclists try to be respectful of the shared pathway.

Amen Davebugg

I could not agree more.

For self preservation I will be checking over my shoulder with frequency on the downhills.

On the flats I will not and if a time comes when I feel this is necessary, I will either walk the more remote routes or spend my time and money pilgriming in another country. I predict this situation will only get worse. Laws without enforcement or consequences are just suggestions. As stated earlier, it will take a tragedy or two before bikes are banned and there is real enforcement and consequences. When people will not police themselves, eventually someone else (government) will do it for them. In a free society the few with poor selfish behavior always ruin things (force more regulation) for the many with good, respectful behavior.

I recently downloaded the Alert Cops App designed for Spaniards and available to anyone while in Spain. It looks like a great tool. Maybe some day one of the selections will be "Report Biker on Camino".

fullsizeoutput_8a0.jpeg
 

mjal

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
@davebugg I say the above fully aware that courteous behavior and etiquette and commonsense are things which are good to practice. Their practice, however, is based on KNOWING that a cyclist is present. My position is that I do not need to make MYSELF aware of an approaching cyclist. . .it is the approaching cyclist who has the total responsibility for making me aware of his presence. If the cyclist makes an effort to make me aware he is coming, yet I do not respond for whatever reason, the cyclist is then required to react accordingly and yield the right of way.
I have hesitated to write on this thread as I really thought that we said it all in August 2018 , rather confusingly under the title "Cycling Roncesvalles to Santiago in under 24 hours".
However....I really cannot allow the above to be posted without comment.

Dave,
I am sure that your behaviour on Camino is courteous in the extreme but you seem to be coming dangerously close to encouraging others to apply a lower standard.
Do you really believe that it is appropriate that you have no need to respond "for whatever reason" and therefore the cyclist is entirely responsible for managing the situation? Does this give a pedestrian licence to simply ignore the bell or call by the cyclist? Is the walker allowed to wander around on the path, at will, paying no attention to anyone arriving from behind, whether on foot or bike?

I might also take issue with your version (upthread) of Spanish cycling rules. It is difficult to find these (in English) but your insistence upon a 10km/hr speed when pedestrians are present seems to me to apply in the special circumstance where cyclists are being allowed (unusually) to ride on sidewalks, in public parks etc. I can find no evidence that this is the legal situation on trails in the countryside. I rather think that I made a similar point in the discussions last year.
As before, I write as someone who has both biked and walked significant distances on the CF.

Mike.
 
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mjal

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
@davebugg
Apologies : my editing removed Dave's identity in the above quote.

Now rectified!
 

MartinPE

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Done : Le Puy to Saint Jean ( June 2017)
Planning: Saint Jean to Santiago (June 2018)
My daughter and I have just completed the Camino Portuguese Coastal route. A delightful walk apart from expected foot troubles.
Met some lovely pilgrims walking the path. However, our experience with cyclists who may or may not have been pilgrims was not so great.

Many, but not all behaved as if they owned the paths.

These are shared paths where most pilgrims are walkers. The “guilty” cyclists rode two abreast at speeds which intimidated the walkers and were dangerous.

Please cyclists remember you are sharing the path. Slow down when you encounter walkers and ring your bell so we know you are coming. We are happy to move over so you can pass.
I have done the French Way by bike and now the Norte by foot.

Firstly.. like the song... “let it be...”

As cyclist the most dangerous is a walking Pilgrim with earphones... not hearing the bell ... and inevitably jumping right in front of the bike ...( also walking two or three abreast.. leaving no way to pass and not concerned with other users of the path.
I also don’t understand why cycling pilgrims not use proper bells and be more courteous.. it’s hard and embarrassing to fall and damage your panniers ..

Let it be ... live in the moment and don’t lose your joy ...
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I am sure that your behaviour on Camino is courteous in the extreme but you seem to be coming dangerously close to encouraging others to apply a lower standard.
I take issue with this because you have clearly misrepresented what I have posted if read for both content and context. ASIDE from that, "Courtesy" is not a standard, and therein lies the fallacy of your contention that I am encouraging a low standard. If something is a "standard" that implies it is a regulated or required behavior. The normal behavior of a hiker is to NOT be focused on bicyclists, but on their own recreational needs.

My posting is predicated around one primary consideration in Spanish law: Who is required to yield to whom. There is no exception given that pedestrians are required to yield to bicycles, but it is required for bicycles to yield to pedestrians.

Because of that legal standard, all of your points focusing on pedestrian responsibilities or obligations to a bicycle is moot, there are none. The bottom line to this is that if a cyclist hits a pedestrian, the primary fault lies with the cyclist.

Let me again make clear: how a pedestrian behaves should be considerate as much as is reasonable.

Do you really believe that it is appropriate that you have no need to respond "for whatever reason" and therefore the cyclist is entirely responsible for managing the situation? Does this give a pedestrian licence to simply ignore the bell or call by the cyclist? Is the walker allowed to wander around on the path, at will, paying no attention to anyone arriving from behind, whether on foot or bike?
Appropriate? That is a question for the legislator's to decide. The issue is what the law states, not what I subjectively think is good courtesy. The lack of pedestrian courtesy does not change the rights-of-way laws. And YES, the cyclist is required to deal with it if it occurs.

I might also take issue with your version (upthread) of Spanish cycling rules. It is difficult to find these (in English) but your insistence upon a 10km/hr speed when pedestrians are present seems to me to apply in the special circumstance where cyclists are being allowed (unusually) to ride on sidewalks, in public parks etc. I can find no evidence that this is the legal situation on trails in the countryside. I rather think that I made a similar point in the discussions last year.
What does "taking issue" mean? The postings of the laws were researched from a number of sources, some of which are listed below. You are attempting to create an exception for countryside and wildland trails, but those are defined as shared spaces and fall under the same rules as any other shared pathways.

 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
Yes, I am referring to Spanish legislation because we are focused on Camino de Santiago routes in Spain :) I posted a summary of the various aspects of the legislation previously. I also summarized that there are no similar legal requirements for pedestrian behavior on shared pathways, outside of signals and crosswalks within urban traffic areas.
I have read that summary, and I read it as a usefull summary of legal requirements for cyclists. Instead of asking the rather stupidly formulated question (if you based yourself on Spanish legislation) I meant to ask whether - apart from legal requirements for cyclists- there are separate legal requirements or obligations for pedestrians (apart from signals and crosswalks). But apparently there are not.

Thank you for the including the links (some of them I had found by googling also). Sure you have also used some Spanish sources and Spanish law texts. Anyway, I am reaching the limits of my linguistic skills in this part of the thread. Discussing the details of legal matters is hard enough in my own language, so I'd better not further attempt in English.
 
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Ivan_Prada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés-(septiembre 2018)
Portugués-(en planes 2021)
My daughter and I have just completed the Camino Portuguese Coastal route. A delightful walk apart from expected foot troubles.
Met some lovely pilgrims walking the path. However, our experience with cyclists who may or may not have been pilgrims was not so great.

Many, but not all behaved as if they owned the paths.

These are shared paths where most pilgrims are walkers. The “guilty” cyclists rode two abreast at speeds which intimidated the walkers and were dangerous.

Please cyclists remember you are sharing the path. Slow down when you encounter walkers and ring your bell so we know you are coming. We are happy to move over so you can pass.
Hello All Members:


Let me give my experience with bikers in Spain.

I do have mixed experiences; in Burgos on the sidewalk in front on the cathedral, is marked with lanes for bicycles. Not usual here in Florida, where the bicycles are considered vehicles, and as such; “should” ride on the streets. In most areas bikes have dedicated lanes and so posted.

Well, in Burgos, I had an encounter with a biker. Happens that I was eating a snack and spotted the trash can at the edge on the street, crossed the “bike lanes” and deposited my trash in the can. When returning to my wife, looked to my left and close was a biker who slowed down allowing me to cross the first part of the bike lanes; then suddenly, a biker (all dressed up in biker gear) came so fast from a curve, he managed to yell to catch my attention but too late, because of the speed he was traveling, I had no time to skip him. My reaction was to turn and place my right shoulder in him direction, then he hit me. Wow! What a sight, the biker went flying over the bike, me just a little scratch on my calf but remained standing. Helped the biker onto his feet, asked him if he was OK or needed medical assistance.
His reaction was to yell me to be more aware of the bike lanes. Seen the situation, bystanders that witnessed the incident also approached and toll the biker that he shouldn’t by riding at the speed he was, specially in that tourist area. The biker fixed his helmet got on the bike and left.

On the CF last September, had different experience. The bikers usually let us know they were approaching by yelling “Bici, Bici”, as courtesy and common sense, we stood to the side and gave free way to the biker.

The key in this situation is not place blame on either the walking or the biker. It is a compromise on both parts. Use of common sense (sometimes the lesser of the senses) and courtesy, will be a solution to the situation. Everyone should be aware of the environment around us; let’s say for example crossing a narrow bridge over a creek (several times on CF) the person walking sees a biker approaching head on, is IMHO, to let the biker cross first. On the other hand, if on a descend, the biker sees plenty on people walking, won’t it be prudent to watch the speed and extra careful?

So, let’s compromise and have Buen Camino…….
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Thank you for sharing this information. I agree and on two occasions I had to jump off the trail so they would not hit me. Towards the end of my walk I had had enough and was yelling at them!!! I think there should be another path for cyclists. I will never do the Camino France again!!!!
I think the original poster was talking about the Camino Portugues rather than the Camino Frances. I found many cyclists to be considerate on both caminos, although inconsiderate ones can really dominate your memories.
 

Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011
Stand to the right, walk / pass to the left. My Commonwealth friends may need a rubber band on their left wrist, but you get the idea. My pet peeve is moving sidewalks in large airports when I have a tight connection... like at T-4 at Madrid. Same construct, same solution...
A gentle FYI, the Commonwealth includes Canada, where we drive and walk on the right.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Yes, I am referring to Spanish legislation because we are focused on Camino de Santiago routes in Spain :)
Although, I point out that this discussion is in the Camino Portugues forum and was initiated by a comment of someone's experience on the Camino Portugues, much as it may now be more properly situated on the Camino Frances forum. :)
 
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freeflyer123

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
www.cyclingsofties.blog
Camino de Santiago, 2013
On the meseta last October, on a long, flat stretch of dirt farm road that was exceptionally wide, I had the fun experience of being knocked down by a cyclist when I was all the way to the right. There was a lot of space on the road, and the guilty cyclist's buddies were all to the left as they passed giving me lots of room.

These were local cyclists, I think, because I was about 8 km out of a town, the guys were dressed in some serious and colorful lycra, and they had no other bags or panniers, etc.

The contact with me knocked the cyclist down about 6 feet from where I was piking myself up. The cyclist was yelling at me in Spanish and started walking toward me in an aggressive manner. I apologized Lo Siento multiple times, even though I was blameless, and he kept approaching til one of his cycling group interceded.

His buddy looked upset at the at-fault cyclist, looked at me and asked - I think - if I was alright. He apologized as he escorted his friend back to his bike.

It was apparent to me that that cyclist was seeing how close he could get to get a reaction of some kind; perhaps he hated pilgrim walkers. Or maybe he was blind. He was probably trying to be funny for his friends. I was thankful no one, especially me, was hurt. It was no big deal, especially after the Burgos incident, and I just shrugged it off.

In any case, this is one of many examples that I could offer of why I do not like sharing space with cyclists, and why there is a reason for pedestrian pilgrims to feel negativity and even anger. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling angry and upset. It is HOW one handles being angry and upset which makes a difference. To me, this Forum represents a space where expressing negative feelings and venting is acceptable can be cathartic. :)

Just my two cents.
Please, please don't make the assumption that all cyclists are as rude and opinionated as the cyclist who ran you down. His behaviour is appalling. To be honest, I cannot understand why a path frequented mostly by pilgrims who are walking is used by anyone on a bike. But then I'm thinking of conventional bikes, rather than mountain bikes. I rode the Camino back in 2013 with my husband and we stuck mainly to the roads. On the rare occasions when the path ran parallel to a very busy main road, we would resort to using it, but generally there was plenty of room for everyone and we always rang our bells to warn of our approach. Slowing down to make sure you passed them without any trauma on either side meant that all of us would reach our destinations safely.

With regard to bell ringing, I always thought bikes these days came with bells attached! Indeed, it should be against the law (as cycle helmets are) not to have one and it should be used when necessary. We often came across pilgrims walking and in a world of their own so at these times we never rode passed them until we had made them aware that we were behind. Sometimes if they had headphones on, this would prove to be quite difficult but patience and perseverance always won the day.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Primitivo, Oct 2019
I'm reading about people keeping to the right side of the road. I always thought that walkers should always be facing traffic, which in Spain would mean walking on the left.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Primitivo, Oct 2019
Please, please don't make the assumption that all cyclists are as rude and opinionated as the cyclist who ran you down. His behaviour is appalling. To be honest, I cannot understand why a path frequented mostly by pilgrims who are walking is used by anyone on a bike. But then I'm thinking of conventional bikes, rather than mountain bikes. I rode the Camino back in 2013 with my husband and we stuck mainly to the roads. On the rare occasions when the path ran parallel to a very busy main road, we would resort to using it, but generally there was plenty of room for everyone and we always rang our bells to warn of our approach. Slowing down to make sure you passed them without any trauma on either side meant that all of us would reach our destinations safely.

With regard to bell ringing, I always thought bikes these days came with bells attached! Indeed, it should be against the law (as cycle helmets are) not to have one and it should be used when necessary. We often came across pilgrims walking and in a world of their own so at these times we never rode passed them until we had made them aware that we were behind. Sometimes if they had headphones on, this would prove to be quite difficult but patience and perseverance always won the day.
Come to think of it, I don't think mountain bikes come with bells attached.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Primitivo, Oct 2019
I have read that summary, and I read it as a usefull summary of legal requirements for cyclists. Instead of asking the rather stupidly formulated question (if you based yourself on Spanish legislation) I meant to ask whether - apart from legal requirements for cyclists- there are separate legal requirements or obligations for pedestrians (apart from signals and crosswalks). But apparently there are not.

Thank you for the including the links (some of them I had found by googling also). Sure you have also used some Spanish sources and Spanish law texts. Anyway, I am reaching the limits of my linguistic skills in this part of the thread. Discussing the details of legal matters is hard enough in my own language, so I'd better not further attempt in English.
Don't know about Spain, but in the US and the UK, in the absence of signals and crosswalks, the pedestrian always has the right of way, Cycles are considered to be vehicles, and must be used as such.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Please, please don't make the assumption that all cyclists are as rude and opinionated as the cyclist who ran you down.
I have not made such a generalization or assumption. I even pointed out that everyone else in that mini-peloton were passing with care, and that one of the group even apologized.

If you are referring to my statement that I do not like sharing hiking trails and paths with bikes, I would argue that my statement is not a generalized condemnation. It is the recognition of a reality for potential conflict which periodically creates injury, and tension, and a loss of enjoyment due to the need to worry about what a cyclist might do.

Bells, horns, hollering, buzzers, or other warning noisemakers, are not an absolution or a solution for those with hearing loss. Even with normal hearing, it is difficult to hear bikes approaching from behind. Those with normal hearing and who are in a world of their own are engaged in perfectly normal behavior for hikers.

You, yourself, are doing what is required of bikers, but which many cyclists ignore: you slow down when approaching pedestrians, make sure they are aware of your presence and act in a manner to increase everyone's safety. That is commendable, and I have seen a lot of bicycle pilgrims do the same.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I'm reading about people keeping to the right side of the road. I always thought that walkers should always be facing traffic, which in Spain would mean walking on the left.
I think the difference between a road and a path is significant here. "Road" being for motorized vehicles; path being for pedestrians and possibly cyclists.

When you are walking on a road for motorized vehicles, the general "rule of thumb" is to walk facing traffic (in Spain and Portugal, on the left). I say "rule of thumb" because common sense is to be exercised. If it is a busy road without intersections and stop signs, and I am joining on the right side, and am leaving it fairly soon on the right side, I may stay on the right side, figuring that the risk of being hit walking there is less than the risk of being hit trying to cross the road twice. Similarly, heading into a blind curve or up a steep hill, I am going to walk on the side that gives approaching traffic the best chance of seeing me before hitting me.

When you are on a footpath, you are the traffic. As such, the general expectation is that you will behave as the way people are used to traffic behaving (keep to the right, pass to the left, etc.).
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Don't know about Spain, but in the US and the UK, in the absence of signals and crosswalks, the pedestrian always has the right of way, Cycles are considered to be vehicles, and must be used as such.
I believe in Canada (at least, the part where I live), there are also rules for pedestrians on roads (hence jaywalking by-laws). For example, pedestrians can cross streets not at a corner/stop sign/traffic light but must do so in a way and at a time that won't obstruct traffic. You can't just step out into a busy street with oncoming traffic and expect them to stop, claiming "right of way". So the slower moving/less powered = always right of way isn't universally applied here. Which isn't to say that I don't think it stands as a general principle, just that there are exceptions.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Primitivo, Oct 2019
I believe in Canada (at least, the part where I live), there are also rules for pedestrians on roads (hence jaywalking by-laws). For example, pedestrians can cross streets not at a corner/stop sign/traffic light but must do so in a way and at a time that won't obstruct traffic. You can't just step out into a busy street with oncoming traffic and expect them to stop, claiming "right of way". So the slower moving/less powered = always right of way isn't universally applied here. Which isn't to say that I don't think it stands as a general principle, just that there are exceptions.
All true, I think I was referring to hikers on the roads outside of towns in terms of “right of way”. Walking in/near towns is another matter. I’ve always walked/cycled defensively, as you can never depend on the common sense of others.
 
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