One day while strolling down the center of a recreationway without a
thought in my head, I was startled by the whirr of off-road tires to
my right: two bike riders were overtaking me.
I was only mildly startled, so it was only mildly rude -- but suppose
a squirrel in the trees to my right had done something cute and I had
swerved in that direction to look? Both riders could have ended up in
the hospital or, with only a little bad luck, the morgue.
Before you overtake someone, MAKE SOME NOISE. "Hi!" is popular for
this purpose when overtaking another bicycle on the road. When
overtaking a pedestrian on a recreationway, I like to give a little
more information. After experimenting with many phrases, I settled on
"I am on your left". This usually elicits a smile and a step to the
Cyclists who train in a pack often say "left!" or "on your left!" when
overtaking. If you address either remark to a random stranger, he
will jump to his left.
By the way, *always* overtake on the left, unless you are across the
pond or in the 5-Boro Bike Tour. On that tour, the cry when
overtaking was "Keep Straight!" (It would have been a *much* more
pleasant ride if they had told us that the front was being motor-paced
to a maximum speed of six miles per hour. For one thing, I'd have
worn walking shoes.)
joy beeson at comcast dot net
The above message is a Usenet post.
I don't recall having given anyone permission to use it on a Web site.