Friday, October 5, 2012

Walking Peeves

Here is my pet peeve about walking:
Bikers do not share the road/path/trail nicely!

I walk on paved trails all around the St. Louis area.  I have just about given up on those trails I must share with bicycles.  Behind me, I can hear skateboarders and skaters, and usually other walker, come up on me from behind.  I can't hear most bikers because they are silent.  They zip in and out of their proper lane, passing up walkers, strollers, skaters, and anyone else in their way.  They assume, it seems, that they own the right of way.

I am very careful to keep my dog to my left (the proper way to walk a dog.  If you don't believe me, just call a dog training facility and ask.) and close to me, on my side of the two way path.  If I pass a walker, I pass on the left carefully and quickly.  I am careful to follow the rules of the road, as it were.  I am careful with my dog who does not do her 'business' in public.  She's a very private lady who prefers the relative privacy of her own back yard, thank you.

Today, while walking on Grant's Trail, we were passed by numerous (probably 30 or more) people on bicycles.  Exactly TWO, in keeping with the posted rules, announced themselves.  In case you don't know, the proper way to announce is for the biker (or other person) to say, 'On your left (or whatever direction)' as they approach you from behind.  I don't have eyes in the back of my head.  I don't have earbuds in and I have normal hearing, but I am not usually aware of these bikers until they have frightened my dog and me - and my dog is large enough to knock me down if she is frightened.

This behavior by bicyclists, people who are often heard griping about how they are abused by the drivers of automobiles on streets, is just unacceptable.  It's not only a matter of good manners, it's also a matter of safety.  If a biker zips between cars on the road, whose fault is it if the bike gets creamed?  If the biker doesn't stop at red lights, stay in his/her own lane, obey the speed limit, why does the biker wonder that the bike and its rider aren't respected on the road.

I will add that I sometimes ask, as a rude biker is passing me, that they warn me the next time round.  Most just ignore me.  One guy at Creve Coeur Lake actually got off his bike not once or twice, but three times to tell me the error of my ways.  It was really difficult to remain polite to him - but it became clear that he wasn't playing with a full deck when he told me that I needed to get Jesus in my life to be less angry!  Really?!  Not sure how appropriate that suggestion is - but he was certainly not a good endorsement on Jesus' behalf.

Enough!  I am very polite to bikers on the road.  I give them a lot of room, obey the rules of the road, and look out for them.  I demand that they respect walkers who share the path with them!  If I am forced to wear a sign on my back to that effect, I will. 

If you are a biker or know one, please pass along my request that s/he be polite to those who aren't moving along the trail/path/road as the bikes are.  It's our path too!

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