On Your *%&$@! Left

Maybe it’s just change in weather (even though summer has already come and gone) but there are more people on the trail and streets riding they’re bikes, walking, skating, whatever. It just goes with the terrain I guess, but whether or not your a new pathlete or just doing the same thing you do everyday no matter the time of year, let’s all take the good advice of “paying attention to our surroundings.”

Never have I come across so many people who travel on public thoroughfares with stark ambiguity. Please take off the headphones, understand that there are others around you, don’t take up the whole lane of travel if you’re single, a couple, or a whole school of joggers jogging for charity. I do give a signal when approaching from behind, “on your left” if you neglect to heed that signal, you will get another—likely louder than the first. I’m not being rude, just thorough. Furthermore, we’re in the States, we travel on the right side of the road and paths. When I’m coming around a corner near Gasworks, I’m not expecting someone to be coming directly at me. Being told “Fuck you!” when I ask “what the fuck are you doing?” I guess is appropriate considering my expletive. But seriously, what the fuck are you doing going against the flow of travel? Also, no matter the time of day, you’re not the only one on the path. Don’t swerve around aimlessly zigzagging all over the place, find a busy street to do that in or stay at home with your video games.

So a quick run-down:

Lose the headphones—I believe it is also against the rules of the road, but it gives the impression to all around you that you’re paying attention to something else and won’t hear everything you need to.
Be aware of your surroundings—this includes other people in your near vicinity as well as turns, curbs, traffic, etc. Pay attention.
Call out when passing (and heed that signal)—sometimes, maybe when it’s especially windy or louder than usual ambient noise, people won’t actually know you’re behind them, letting them know (by bell, or voice) you’re about to pass them is a good and safe thing to do.
Don’t be ambiguous—We all should be paying attention, and if we are we can make safe predictions of people’s actions: where they’re going next, what they’re about to do; by exhibiting deliberate actions others will have a better idea of where to go themselves.

I’m sure there’s more that could be added. All in all though, these items will help everybody have a nicer, safer, and above all friendlier time while riding their bikes. Friendly is positive, friendly actually means being part of a community. All of this means communicating positively to your neighboring cyclists as well as pedestrians and motorists. (I do apologize for using the above expletive in my questioning that cyclist’s errant ways). It can be difficult, I know that for sure, but I’m trying.

Community Communication.