Amelia: Letter

Blog Editor's note: We have chosen to repost this comment in entirety so that our readers and participants might re-read this without staff writer commentary.

"Personally, I have had trouble with boarders almost hitting me or flying past me in close range and w/o slowing down at all. As a person who uses a guide dog to navigate campus and all of Boulder and the surrounding cities, I'd like to add something from the perspective of someone who cannot see. I am one of the people who ends up being a pedestrian in the bicycle lanes. A guide dog cannot read signs or symbols, even though they are awesome animals in so many ways. They are trained to basically travel in a straight line, to choose the most obvious paths unless given a different direction, and to keep the person they guide away from obstacles. As a result, most guide dogs like to hug the left side of a sidewalk, a hall, and a path. Personally, I have trained my dog, more or less, to stay to the right side of the bike paths, because I understand that being on the left side of most paths or hallways means going against the flow of traffic. However, knowing which parts of a path are for pedestrians and which are for wheels is sort of hard to tell. I have had cyclists shout at me as they ride past me, but I ddon't really know what a good solution is. I am happy to stay in pedestrian areas, but if you can't see lines painted on the ground, you can't really do much. Furthermore, if someone is using a cane, they have reasons for sometimes hugging the left side of a path. For example, if they have a left turn coming up, they will follow the left of a sidewalk so as to find the space where the turn is. If there are over hanging tree branches or traffic polles or parking meters on the right side of the path, it just makes more sense to stick to the side of the path w/o regular obstacles. If cyclists would like to ride quickly, I would ask them to stay on the streets. There are traffic laws surrounding how cars need to interact with cyclists. If I were able to doo so, I would love to ride my bike around town, but I have not yet trained my dog to steer a bike. So, I sympathize with the frustrations cyclists feel towards pedestrians, but please keep in mind that some of us are limited in our options. Thanks."


  1. I'm sorry to hear that cyclists are shouting at someone who clearly has no way of seeing which lane she's in (and just a moment's reflection will tell you that yeah, it'd be kind of hard to tell when all the lane markers are purely visual). That's not appropriate behavior at all.

    Someone in another thread mentioned the possibility of putting curbs between the bike and walking lanes, which I think could also help with this issue (assuming there were bumps or something installed on the ground at the entrances to the bike lane so blind pedestrians could tell which was which). How much do those bumps on ramps and other sidewalk entrances help, by the way, and alternatively, would simply putting a line of those down between the bike and walking lanes help you out?

  2. I understand that sometimes accidents to happen, i understand that there are certain individuals are jerks and/or out of control, but for the most part people just need to get over it. I skateboard through crowds of people every single day and have been for four years, i have had maybe two incidents and both were caused by pedestrians. Not trying to be a jerk but people walking through campus and not paying attention because they are too busy texting or something is the main reason why there are accidents. Don't get mad cause pedestrians are dumb. Again, i do understand that there are a few jerks out there who may have hurt people or animals but the majority of us do not and are having to suffer the consequences....DIRC 4 LIFE

  3. Zach, with all due respect, did you read the letter you responded to - Amelia is not being careless or not paying attention, but she is limited in how much "attention" she can pay to boarders and bicyclists (as well as posted visual signs/lane markings). I sincerely hope that you don't hit someone like her while you're skateboarding through crowds.

    I think that the best bet for helping Amelia and people with similar situations is for the school to work to education students more about the fact that bikers/boarders need to take care around pedestrians and especially those with guide dogs and/or canes. I've seen far too many bicyclists and skateboarders zip right by someone with a guide dog. This education needs to be for pedestrians as well though too because I've seen far too many pedestrians cut right in front of someone who is clearly being guided.