On your left!

I hate when I’m walking down the sidewalk and some insane bi-cyclist comes whaling silently up behind me and — at the very last possible nanosecond — says, “on your left!” In the first place, it scares the beejabbers right smack outta me. In the second place, it is dangereuse! I mean, do you really think that I am going to be able to process “on your left!” in a split-second? Hmm. Which direction is left? Which hand do I write with? Which way do I jump to get outta your way? Do *I* go to the left? Or do *you* go to my left? Or. Or. Sorry, guys but it is not enough. I am all for bicycling and I don’t even mind if some of it happens on the sidewalk. God knows, the streets are like a raceway around here. Mouse rides her bike downtown a lot and I want her and all other cyclists to be safe. But if you want to share the sidewalk with me, you need to either slow down to a crawl and pass me carefully (or even walk your bike by me), or get yourself an old-fashioned bell and start ringing it about a half a block away. You know, just like the five-year-olds do. jingle jingle jingle ring ring ring jingle jingle jingle. Be as obnoxious as you can.

Fortunately, the cyclist I ran into (or [fortunately] not) in the dark this morning was a knight in comparison to the “on your left” folks. I love when my morning walk is in the dark but every fall it takes just a bit of time to get used to it again. Who is that person looming out of the shadows? Is it one of my fellow walkers? What kind of aminal made that quick movement? Does it spray? This fall, I frequently encounter a guy on a bike commuting to work. He swoops down from somewhere up in my neighborhood at a great rate of speed. He has a strobe light on his handlebars so he’s pretty easy to see. But being a bicyclist, he’s silent. I tend to walk right smack in the middle of the street in the early morning dark, unless I am on a busy thoroughfare and I am only on one of those for one block. When I’m in the middle of the street, I can see better. Skunks and things don’t surprise me by scuttling out of hedges right next to me, etc. I can hear motorized vee-hickles, usually from a couple blocks away. I can hear if the school bus or the Able Electric truck is coming. I have plenty of time to get out of their way. Not this cyclist. But, this morning, I heard jingle jingle jingle from about a half a block away. It was enough time for me to look around and figger out that my cyclist friend was swooping along on what could have been a collision course with me. It was plenty of time for me to get to the side of the street. As he passed me, he called out, “Thank you!” and my reply was an enthusiastic, “Thank *you*!” Gasoline prices are down sharply around here this week, at least temporarily, but I am all in favor of bicycle commuters and, for that to happen, we all have to share the pavement.

And it is time. Sigh. I love the cold but I hate when I have to replace my front storm door’s screen with glass. But it has been too cold the last couple days for us to leave the big wooden door open with just the screen in the storm door and when the big wooden door is shut, there’s just not enough light coming into the front of the house. So today we reluctantly put the glass in. It’s okay, to balance that out, we also put up some bee-yootiful purple mini LED Halloween lights. To go with the orange ones. I’ll post a picture one of these days!

7 Responses to “On your left!”

  1. Pooh Says:

    Mark called me in to read this, but I’m going to comment first.

    My spovely louse yells loudly, “BIKE BACK!”, when there are pedestrians on the Mark Axe Royal Bicycle Habitrail in the park. Not, “passing on your left”, or ‘stay on the right, please’, just “BIKE BACK!” I’m not sure if he wants the people to bow down as he passes, or throw money or what. As I follow in his wake, I’m the one saying, “Thank you”, and muttering ‘sheesh’.

  2. kayak woman Says:

    Trust me, a bell works better. An old fashioned one, like we had when we were kids. It was too long to write about this but once I was out hiking on the back trail at Beaver Creek (Higgins Lake). There is very light traffic out there and we hadn’t met *any* other hikers the whole time (typical) and I was either ahead or behind the GG just enough that I couldn’t see him. And there was this other-wordly kind of “ting”. Bird? Insect? My head was swiveling, wondering what the HECK? It was a guy on a mountain bike with some sorta lucky-shuckial bell. Not effective.

    All that said. I dress in dark clothing when I walk. I know, I know. I am now *wrestling* with whether I need a strobe or something. I do *not* want one of those orange glare vests! Hmm…

  3. Dog Mom Says:

    Get a “shell” (jacket) that has reflective tape on it. The fabric of the shell can be any color, but the reflective tape would be considered a “must” if you aren’t on the sidewalks/paths.

    We need our KW around for a looooong time yet!!!

  4. kayak woman Says:

    My issue is more that there are times when I’m walking that I *want* to be invisible. I’ll work it out.

    And I am planning to be here for a looonnnnng time!

  5. Maquis Says:

    OK Anne you fired the first shot.

    OBTW Pooh’s internet privileges are here by suspended (at least until after I watch Iron Man).

    As an early morning cyclist I am constantly amazed at the habits of pedestrians. When I ride in the Park the first and last two miles are on a road with a bike lane. This bike lane is a full car lane in width. Most pedestrians walk in the bike lane ignoring the adjacent sidewalk. Some pedestrians walk on the line demarcating the bike lane. I call these people line walkers. Some walk three or four abreast, spanning the road.

    On the bike path the same habits are evident. Only on the bike path the lane is much narrower. The newer, crushed limestone, better for the knees, adjacent, walking path is mostly neglected. I am always left to wonder what pedestrians are thinking, or not. Are they asleep? Are they so doped up on endorphins that they don’t care? Are they so enraptured with their own personal iPod world that the real world is only a dream?

    I don’t know, but after ten years of riding 365 days a year on the Forest Park bike path I have been voted off the island, by a bunch of mindless zombies. I now prefer to ride the roads and share those roads with two ton vehicles, piloted by sleepy, cell phone distracted drivers. At least until winter comes. Come winter the more pedestrian walkers are excised from the Park and the bike path again becomes mine, all mine, Ho Ha Ha!

  6. kayak woman Says:

    I definitely think that if there is a designated bike lane, pedestrians should stay out of it! Those pedestrians don’t sound like they understand what a bike lane is! So I am sorry (and amazed) that the island voting thing happened.

    Where I walk, it is old-style neighborhood (Revena area) streets and sidewalks and it is implied that we share the road/sidewalk.

    Going off to Knight’s for a [k]night-cap and to mingle with the feetsball crowd. Good cycling!!!

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