Your Inattention Please!

I live in California where people on bikes routinely blow past walkers without a noise.
SINCE the trails are peopled with old folks who canna hear well for the obvious reason, and also cos they’re talking among themselves (four abreast of course).
SINCE middle aged joggers keep the sound of birds, wind and auto alarms at bay with tunes wired into their pre-deaf ears.
SINCE there are the ultra-fragile trail people ‘mindfully walking’– fresh from the week-long Thikh Naht Hanh retreat (I wonder if that is that enough H’s?)…
some want silence,
some need a warning,
others hate bells…(like me! I’ve had bells in my head since the CIA put them there (joke alert)…no really, I have platinnitus–upgraded version of tinnitus)
Most wouldn’t mind NOT being run over…
While slowing to 5 mph, the better to match their speed.
Then we check to see if they heard.
If not, slow down even more…
Yes, it’s sort of disruptive to one’s rhythm…
but since bikers are lowest on the ladder
Hereabouts in Marin County everything we do ‘reflects’ for good or ill on all the others, thus we must be Excruciatingly Correct !
Throat-clearing has many attributes: it’s cheap, and you never leave it at home by accident. It’s human, as opposed to mechanical.
Unlike “ON YOUR LEFT”, throat-clearing is un-ambiguous. By yelling a command, the listener never knows if they should MOVE LEFT or if the rider is coming on the left.
“Ahem” indicates Readiness (or Request) To Speak. AND it permits the listener to choose what to do, which way to dive.
Upon hearing the ahem, the Hearer looks around.
Or they don’t look around.
We adjust our line accordingly….the speed by now cut considerably.
Please note that if I’m late somewhere, I don’t even bother with the bike path. I prefer to duke it out with the autos because I needn’t worry about my presence “bothering” them. They can’t even see me! To motorists in Marin, bicyclists are infuckingvisible, except when they roll through stop lights at 3 in the morning and get a 360 dollar citation from the friendly but way-too-bored beat cop dozing in his cruiser throughout the sleepy night.
In fact, two friend of mine, Jim B. and Joanne X. were run over by cars, and oddly, even though in both cases the car struck the cyclist from behind. In both cases, the cyclist was blamed for the accident.
It’s universsally acknowledged that if you rear-end another motorist, it’s your fault, but if you rear-end a cyclist with your car, it’s their fault. For what?
Haven’t found out yet. My guess: failure to drive.
Ah, a rant. Great way to start the day.

~ by jacquiephelan on November 15, 2007.

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