I have been clipped twice in the past week while walking around town by people riding their bicycles on sidewalks. That’s bullshit. I’m an avid bike rider; the only way I navigate this city is by bike or foot. When I ride, I always ride in the street. I can understand the need for cyclists to ride on sidewalks, especially in the rain (there is no way I’d commute in traffic in a downpour as I see a few brave souls doing), and so I don’t have a problem sharing the sidewalks.
However, the vast majority of people who ride on them don’t alert pedestrians of their presence before they pass. It doesn’t take much. All you have to say is “On your left!” or “Coming up behind you!”.
Where I grew up in Idaho, there were two types of cyclists: Those who had jersey tan lines and legs smoother than mine, and those who were pedaling off DUIs. And even the latter had the courtesy to make their presence known. It’s all I’m asking for.
Even a bell would even do the trick. Anything.
The first time I was struck this week, I had stepped to the left of the sidewalk to pass a woman and her dog, and was clipped by a young man on a bike. The rider didn’t hit me hard enough to slow down his momentum, and yelled back at me, “You think you own the sidewalk…”
To which I absurdly screamed, “Jay Leno!” because it was the first awful thing that popped to mind, and I don’t react well to stress.
It happened again last night as I was headed home from a bar. A chick on a bike nearly took me out on Broadway, and she wrecked herself (her head was cushioned by dreadlocks rather than a helmet). This time I was able to speak with relative composure, mostly because I’d been stewing about the first incident all week.
“You should really say something when you’re passing people, just to let them know you’re coming up behind them,” I said sweetly.
“Huh. Thanks,” responded the uncommunicative hippie. She then rode off and managed to pass two rather startled couples, again, without saying a thing. Perhaps if I had beaten my message out on a pair of bongos in Morse code, it would have sunk in.
Now, has anyone else experienced this, or do I just have hippies gunning for me?