9.07.2010

on your left...

"on your left"
"on your left"
"on your left"


"on your left"

the audible warning is the polite thing to do
the audible warning is the safe thing to do

"on your left"
"on your left"
"on your left"

more times than not I try to give the audible warning
I like to get the "heads up" from the approaching cyclist
so... when I approach a cyclist or a pedestrian I usually try to give them a soft gentle warning of my approach
it is a nod of respect more than a request for them to clear the way

when someone is obstructing the path they get a different warning with a different tone

yesterday I was doing a short ride to the pool with my older son Dean
we had ridden on the closed section of Beach Drive on towards the gravel section of the Capital Crescent Trail

it was fun to have Dean on the bike piecing it all together
he recognized where his doctor's office and the bike shop were
places that he usually approaches in the car

after crossing Connecticut Avenue we got back on the gravel path that is the Capital Crescent Trail
I gave some instructions to my fourth grade age son as we approached some people
bicycles were coming our way as we made a slow pass past some people on foot
I wanted to be sure that we got beyond the people on foot without causing any "head on" awkwardness

we were on gravel which causes some noise
and the bike I was riding which had been converted to a fixed gear but became a non-fixed single speed earlier that morning was creaking at each turn of the cranks
there was nothing stealth about our approach

at a pace slightly faster than walking we passed the pedestrians and were free and clear of the potential head on collision

after passing a man on foot started barking at me
giving me all sorts of grief for not giving him an audible warning

I kept rolling ignoring his bitching
but he kept bitching
we were moving so slowly that I just figured I would stop and respond

it did not go so well... he was too busy blowing off steam
perhaps I should have just agreed with him
but that is not how I played it
instead... I tried to point out our slow speed pass and the lack of need for a warning

would I warn a person in the grocery store if I were walking past them?
couldn't you hear me... the squeaky bike... the tires on the gravel?

neither of us trying to make peace
both of us throwing back obnoxious rebuttals to the other

the situation became one of those moments
a moment where the person who was in the wrong (me) is no longer the obnoxious character
because the person in the right (the man on foot requesting the audible) is being such an overbearing jerk about the whole thing

like the use of the horn in a car
there are different ways to use the horn
so often in traffic a person trys to let a person know that they are not supposed to do something by honking their horn
or a person honks their horn to alert to another driver that their actions behind the wheel are obnoxious

well... if the person taps on the horn that is one thing
but if someone lays on the horn... well that is another
if a person lays on the horn the focus of who the "asshole" is shifts
the obnoxious driver breaking the law is no longer the "asshole"
the person who is creating the noise pollution becomes the asshole

it gets exhausting giving the audible
the audible is not always necessary
as in this case of the slow pass
sure... I should have given a warning when I passed
but I did not
this guy could have made mention of it
but by turning the whole thing into a confrontation
well... that was not necessary

does this guy put himself under the same scrutiny?
it was awkward... I should have kept rolling

it was no way to behave for either of us
nothing was gained by my entertaining his attack

next time... I will try to be more considerate
hopefully... when this guy travels he is as considerate of others as he expects others to be of him

1 comment:

danaceau said...

On my Ride the Rockies trip we had a day where we were riding from Aspen up over Independence Pass. I was attacking the climb full on, passing people, calling out each pass. The ONE time I didn't the woman I passed got obnoxious with me. I didn't respond. But I sure wanted to.