I had an interesting experience today. I was going down a sidewalk when a group of 5 10-16 year olds pulled up in front of me on their bikes. Two got off and went into the eating place, leaving thwie bikes flat on the sidewalk. The other three neither moved the bikes, held the bikes, or in any way seemed to think it odd that between three upright bikes and two lying down bikes, pedestrians had to step over bike parts to walk down the sidewalk. I thought I would share my opinion politely, and said, “You know, it might be a bit polite to lean bikes against something rather than leave them like that.”
One of the teenagers started immediately swearing about how they just lost bikes, and leave them alone, I was getting past them wasn’t I? followed by f-you, f-this f-off etc. I now had a group of young teens trying to outcool me and intimidate me with their mouths. I very calmly stood straight up and said plain and simply, in a very calm voice “f-you. Other people have to use the sidewalk too. I could step over your bikes, but if I had been in a wheelchair I would not have been able to. Share sidewalks.”
Four of them started getting more upset when the fifth one suddenly spoke up, “She’s right. It wasn’t fair. We’re sorry.” I smiled at him and nodded, as the group took off in the direction I was heading. One was griping about how he had almost been hit by a car twice on the way there….then proceeded to go onto the road (only 4 did this) riding like crazy against traffic.
You heard me right, riding against traffic. So,cyclists, something to learn here. When on the sidewalk you are sharing your ‘road’ with pedestrians. If you are getting off your bike lean it on something, or have your friend hold it. If you are going to ride on the sidewalk, respect other pedestrians and go slowly around them. If you are going to go on the road, you are subject to the same laws as motorists. This means you do not drive headlong into traffic on the wrong side of the road, as if you have a deathwish. The majority of traffic fatalities in my town this year involving bicyclists were actually a result of cyclists on the wrong side of the road. If you are on the road, follow traffic regulations the same as any other vehicle. A driver should not have to spend all his time avoiding people going the wrong way in their lane.
Some would say I have no place to speak about what those teens chose to do. Point there, I was not riding my bicycle during the incident. I was carrying it over my shoulder as I stepped around the bicycles that were in my way on the sidewalk.
Share the route, share the rules. It’s common sense, and it can help you live. Now back to the regular Sunday night programming…..