Fair Weather Rage

From the Guardian newspaper in the UK we get this interesting bit of reporting about how the sun brings out the worst in people. I was struck by how true the bits about cyclists and joggers rang out. If only people would put a little research into etiquette of a sport before trying them out.

For cyclists on multi-use trails:
  • Ride right, pass left.
  • Signal when you are overtaking both other cyclists and pedestrians. I know some people plug their ears with headphones but at least if you try to signal then you have a defense in the event of a crash. As near as I can tell "On your left" means nothing to the general public though it should mean something to cyclists with any significant experience. I would recommend calling out "Passing, on your left" instead. The comma is to indicate a pause in the call to allow the person time to register that someone is talking to them.
  • Keep your speed down especially when passing pedestrians--if you want to push the edges of your envelope then take it on the road. Use the trails for recovery rides and aerobic training. Ideally you should be coasting when going around pedestrians, this will create a continuous noise from your cassette (unless you're riding a fixie in which case you just got launched off your bike by the pedals) that will tell the overtaken where you are. Obviously this won't work when passing large groups or going up hill.
  • Use some common sense in passing, if there is oncoming traffic when you desire to pass someone in front of you, wait for a safe gap. Don't try to split the space between the traffic. You wouldn't want motorists doing the same to you, would you? Remember, most of the pedestrians have cars too.
For pedestrians:
  • Walk right, pass left. Don't walk on the left on right of ways not used by motor vehicles. The only time you should be walking left is on roads without sidewalks. Don't confuse this exception with the rule from common law. Walking down the center makes you particularly difficult to overtake--from my experience there is about a 60/40 split between center walkers the split right or left respectively when the realize they are being overtaken (except those who hold their line).
  • Check over your shoulder before turning around in the middle of the trail. Nothing is causes more anxiety in cyclists then joggers that pull a sudden button hook turn in the trail as they are preparing a pass.
  • If you hear someone trying to overtake you, hold your line. An overtaking cyclist has been trying to figure out how to pass you for some time before they get to you. If they signaled they are just letting you know they are coming, they are NOT saying get out of the way (unless you are a group that is covering the whole trail). Dodging suddenly to one side is a great way to get run into. No cyclist will intentionally hit you unless they are insane in which case they will likely make another run at you if they missed you after the dodge.
On Yer Bike!

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