Let me very clear before I proceed with the post – I am a big supporter of cycling. If my knees were not an issue, I would be a cyclist. If I had the resources, I would help fund biking and walking paths in every town and help bring all the “Rails to Trails” and other such endeavors to completion. With that said, I don’t bike; I walk at a fairly slow pace, but walk nonetheless. (In fact, I walk with trekking poles, a habit that generates teasing remarks about where the snow is since the poles and motion do look like cross-country skiing.) That brings me to my main topic of courteously sharing sidewalks and roads with cyclists. When I am walking, I don’t use earphones with an Ipod or any other device. I can hear another walker or runner coming up behind me, but not the quiet of a bicycle. When someone flashes by me with no sound, it’s startling and my irritation comes from the fact that around 70-80% of those on bicycles provide no warning. I appreciate those that do and always thank them. I understand that a cyclist coming up on me can clearly see me and clearly see that he/she has plenty of room to whip around. I can only assume that in their mind, it isn’t an issue, but seriously, a quick “coming up on your left/right” or using a bell doesn’t seem to be so much to ask.
Moving on to road courtesy. From my perspective, I respect cyclists and don’t crowd them, although I may not provide as much allowance as I think since I don’t see it from a cyclist’s perspective. However, it seems that stop signs and traffic signals should apply to cyclists as well as to motorists. Watching cyclists blast through stop signs and red lights, particulary when motor vehicles are approaching bothers me. Again, I’ve got it that a cyclist can see the clearance and scoot on out of the way, but how does being on a bicycle exempt one from obeying a stop sign or red light?