OK, we’re finally into the bike-riding portion of this blog … and I’m going to start with an anti-cyclist rant…
I’ve been riding the Olentangy multi-use path a lot lately, and have noticed that way too many of my fellow cyclists do a lot of rude, dumb and downright dangerous things out there. You know: All the things we hate and fear from the drivers or cars and trucks when we ride on the road.
Here are some of the dangerous/dumb things I see bikers doing, and how I respond…
Too fast:At about 5:30 p.m., the path starts to get busy and crowded as people get home from work, and lots of hammerheads try to get in a long workout in a short amount of time. To do so, they ride fast, really fast, 20 miles per hour. Sometimes faster when they have a tailwind.
This is too fast. And too dangerous. Slow down. The path is a multi-use path, not a bike path and there are walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, parents pushing strollers. If you want to go fast, really fast, go fast on the road where the speed limit is 25 mph or more. The speed limit on the path is 15. OK, I admit it: I sometimes go a little faster. It’s hard not to. But only when there’s nobody around me. And then I slow down when I pass people.
Response:I’ve started holding up my hand and saying “slow down” when people fly by me in the other direction. Especially when I know there are a bunch of people around the bend. I don’t like being a traffic cop when I’m out on a ride, but perhaps cyclists should educate and police one another. But in a polite way. If not us, then whom?
Too close:Don’t you hate it when you’re out on the road and the car behind you squeezes through a too-narrow, fear-inducing space between you and the car coming in the other direction? Of course you do. That’s why there’s now a 3-foot passing law in Ohio. So, why do you do it on your bike? On the path?
I’ve seen this happen way too often: I’m riding down the path, and a walker/jogger or two are coming in the other direction, and someone on a bike tries to squeeze between them and me as he passes them. I’ve even seen, on more than one occasion, a cyclist do this and squeeze past someone pushing a baby stroller. Are you kidding me?
Response:I politely, but firmly, say: “Don’t do that.” And try not to startle the innocent walkers.
Can’t see … don’t pass:I’ve even seen some cyclists do the above (Too close) around a blind corner. Not only have I seen it, I’ve almost been hit by them. Are you stupid? Actually, your actions have already established the fact that you’re stupid. The only question is: How stupid are you?
Response:The same as Too close, but even firmer.
On Your Left:I’m shocked by how many cyclists don’t say “on your left” or ring a bell when they pass someone. That’s just rude. And startling to the people they pass. Try this some day: Walk down the path for a mile or two and notice how many cyclists say “on your left” as they pass. It’s maybe 50 percent. And notice how intimidating it can be when one of them – or a group of them – flies by you unannounced.
Response:When someone on a bike passes me and fails to say “on your left,” I say it to them: “On your left.” Maybe it will subconsciously sink in and they’ll start saying it. Or maybe not.
One more thing:No matter how right you are, and how wrong and dangerous the other person/cyclist is: People don’t like being told what to do. It’s just the way it is in our modern society. So, never yell or scream at people. No matter how much adrenaline the near-crash experience just created in your body. Be polite. And don’t get in an argument. I learned a long time ago as a newspaper reporter: You can’t argue with an idiot. Just say what you’re gonna say, say it politely, and keep riding.
Anything else? Fill us in on the other annoying and dangerous things cyclists do out there on the paths.