Bad ideas, the world is full of them. Simple fixes have unintended and unforeseen consequences. As an example, NFL owners wanted less interceptions thrown, so they decided to penalize quarterbacks with monetary penalties for throwing interception passes. The result – quarterbacks didn’t throw the ball, they ran it.
In the lovely picture above, another bad idea is at work. Can you guess what it is? Take a minute then scroll down to find out.
The Bad Idea Is
If you guessed that the trash can is on the wrong side of the path, then you deserve a big pat on the back. Originally, the concrete trash cans were replaced with these bolt-in cans to prevent the cans from tipping over and rolling down the street into cars and garage doors. Yes, it happened. But when they were replaced they were placed on the “biking” side of the path. Seems logical, but when you start to study human behavior you quickly learn that this was one bad idea.
Bikers are typically traveling at a high rate of speed as they cruise down the bike path. Additionally, bikers don’t have things to throw away while in route. So, if bikers don’t have trash to dispose of, who does? Pedestrians and dog walkers do.
As you will notice in this picture, the walking path is on the far left of the image. The center and right lanes are for bikers. If you were to watch people use this path, you would notice that dog walkers and pedestrians cross the bike lane often to throw away doggie waste and beverage containers. This causes bike and pedestrian collisions, as well as irritates the heck out of bikers who have to slow down, not to mention I have witnessed several dog leashes get tangled up with bicyclists.
So the bad idea was to place the trash can on the biking side of the path instead of the pedestrian side of the path. A simple decision, without much thought, that is causing all kinds of havoc among pathway users and ultimately will end up in a claim. Way to go bad idea!