AG: Make some noise
Joy Beeson wrote in
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.)
If you're on foot, cyclists should overtake you on your right and they
should sound a bell or other warning close enough that you should hear it
but far enough away that they will still have time to evade should you
move to the right.
Multiuse pathways are like rural roads, and the watchword should be that
wheeled traffic keeps right and foot traffic keep left. When suburds
without sidewalks were in vogue in the '50s and '60s, the Ontario Ministry
of Transport ran public service ads on TV exhorting us, "Where there are
no sidewalks, walk on the left facing traffic." I would propose that modus
vivendi be observed on multi-use paths.
SIT MIHI GLADIUS SICUT SANCTO MARTINO
(If you're going to e-mail me, you'll have to get "yourfinger." out.)