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14 March 2013 @ 11:51 pm
Tips for mothers on shared cycleways  
* The little diagrams suggesting that you keep left are there, in fact, to suggest you keep left.

* When you choose to ignore them and walk in the middle of the path, do not look hugely surprised when people ring their bells to encourage you to look up from texting as you walk and make you aware of the oncoming bicycle.

* On becoming aware of the oncoming bicycle and noticing that your youngest child is on the right hand side of the path, at a point level with the cyclist, who is successfully negotiating  a passing manoeuvre at low speed, do not shriek to the child, encouraging the wee lass to turn around and into the bike.

* On witnessing the cyclist performing an heroic avoidance effort while travelling uphill on a loaded bike with a confused and unpredictable toddler in the vicinity, do not run in front of the bike.

* On finding your toddler wholly avoided despite your best efforts to have her killed, do not call your other daughter to you, especially when she is six and very likely to run in front of the still-moving cyclist, who has just had to veer to the opposite side of the path to avoid ploughing into you.

* When the tried-beyond-endurance cyclist suggests that was less than optimal all round, do not open your mouth unless it is to apologise. Should the first words out of your mouth be 'You should have …', do not be surprised when the cyclist interrupts with: 'Mowed you down, I know' and rides off.
this mundane stuff called lifewinnett on March 14th, 2013 12:55 pm (UTC)
Or in road races, you're supposed to keep to the right if you're walking. I hate it when people lolly gag in the middle of the road, when it's packed with people trying to run around them.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 14th, 2013 01:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's almost always a rule to keep to the same side of the road you drive on, and slowest to the outside of the lane. WHY do some people find this so hard?

I make allowances on all the shared paths for overseas students and tourists, because I always cock it up in Europe and the US a few times on each trip, but she was definitely a local, judging by the Strine accent when she shouted at the kids.

I do drop back to walking pace if I am on a shared path behind pedestrians and there's not an easy overtake, because my theory is that they are shared and you should give way to the least able user, the same way you do with boats. But there are lanes! And I was going uphill while she was going down, so it was so much easier for her to stay on the correct side! Gah!
germankittygermankitty on March 14th, 2013 01:29 pm (UTC)
Oh god, Oblivious!Cyclists™ -- please spare me! This is what I'd put on a sign right in front of my house for 'em ...

Don't get mouthy with me when I remind you that -- as you're an adult and clearly older than 12 -- the LAW says you're no longer allowed to ride on the sidewalk when there's no designated bike path.

Telling me "But there's so much traffic on the street!" is NOT a valid argument; nobody's forcing you to ride down this particular street, and while you may not need a driver's license, you're still supposed to know the traffic laws and be able to use the street safely and responsibly. Especially when the sidewalk you're illegaly riding on is barely wide enough to let two adults pass each other, there's parked cars everywhere and children/senior citizens with walkers out and about.

(And while I'm at it, I really, really don't appreciate you driving your bike onto my front lawn while trying to swerve out of the way of pedestrians. Just because no house on this end of the street has fences round their property doesn't mean whatever landscaped area borders the sidewalk becomes part of it for your convenience.)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 14th, 2013 01:40 pm (UTC)
Hey! I'm not oblivious, I was ON the cycle path, it's just a shared one that we let pedestrians on.

And assume they understand the meaning of the word share.

I do grant you that there are numbnuts cyclists out there, however, having been horribly broken three times while obeying the law riding on the roads, I understand people who won't. I still ride on the roads (and cycle paths, including the shared ones), but I sympathise with people who ride on the pavement – in Sydney in particular it takes a great deal of belligerence to stay on the road. That said, if you must ride on the pavement, you should only ever ride at the slowest pace possible and always give way to everyone, because it is the pedestrians' space.

Sadly, in some parts of many cities, there are no safe routes on the road. I've been clipped by buses going through red lights, hit by a taxi going through a red turning arrow around the car already stopped at that light, and only avoided being rammed up the back at another red light because I heard it not braking and jumped up onto the median strip.

I am the sort of cyclist who quotes the road rules chapter and verse and obeys them, and my rule of thumb is to ride as though I were a bus and never try to enter a space a bus couldn't: I still have motorists trying to kill me most days and vague texting pedestrians wandering out in front of me at random moments. At least the kids had some degree of self-preservation this afternoon and worked with me on the not killing them plan.

Edited at 2013-03-14 01:41 pm (UTC)
germankitty: emo ashamed kittengermankitty on March 14th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I realized right after hitting "send" that I'd kind of missed the point; I should've amended that for every responsible cyclist like you (and every sensible pedestrian) there's an equal number of each who couldn't (and all too often don't) give a damn about the other people they're sharing space with. Sorry, didn't mean to imply you were at fault -- quite the contrary!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 14th, 2013 02:18 pm (UTC)
There are definitely lunatics in every group, though I wouldn't say half. I find most road and path users are thoughtful and considerate, it's just that the ones who aren't tend to be the sort of person who not only do the wrong thing, but then think it's your fault they did the wrong thing.

The taxi driver who ran the light to try to kill me yelled at me for being on the road, I like to call him Proof of Theory.

I do agree that in an ideal world cyclists would never be on the pavement. And there would be separated cycleways everywhere, which would be better for everyone!

And no one would be allowed to use their phones or iPods while moving unless they were on a train, bus or similar. I've literally saved four people from going in front of cars because they were busy texting or listening to whatever was going through their headphones, and that's just the set I've physically grabbed. Lost count of the number I've avoided running over by nimble cycling when they stepped out without looking.
germankittygermankitty on March 14th, 2013 02:32 pm (UTC)
I guess it depends on the area you live in; my part of town is mostly residential and comparatively hilly, so we don't have many cyclists -- most everybody either has a car, or can use rather decent public transport. Across town, where I used to live before marriage, it's quite different. :)

And don't get me started on phone use in traffic, please! *groans* The things I've seen people do, even with toddlers in tow ... unbelievable!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
I swear, phones are more of a hindrance than a help!

And yeah, I think most cities have some parts that are better for cycling than others. I have a curse in parts of East Sydney so I just refuse to ride down those streets anymore, as my near death: ride ratio is just too high!

It's the same for public transport here: some parts of Sydney are well served, others dire. London is MUCH better off!
Hollyhollyxu on March 14th, 2013 02:38 pm (UTC)
As an angry urban commuter, shufflers or people who disrupt pedestrian foot traffic get the stinkeye - so much stinkeye. And people who get off escalators/stairs or out doors and then stop cold, also the worst.

I'm glad nothing happened to you or the kids, though.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 04:52 am (UTC)
WHY do people stop as soon as they get off the escalator? It makes no sense! I shout at them these days, when I was younger I used to try and quietly squeeze past, now it's all 'Move along, you bollards!'

And yes: the kids were relatively easy to avoid, because even for the little girl who dashed out when she called, I just said 'go left!' and she did, so I also went left going in the opposite direction and all was well. Kids are usually pretty sensible and nimble, not to mention good at obeying orders. I had a toddler dash out onto the road in front of me the other day and just shouted 'STOP!' at him, which he did, like a little soldier. His adults caught up to him as I went past. They're sort of like little dogs at that age.
ashindkashindk on March 14th, 2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
Cycleways are for cyclists! I have no idea why this is a surprise to anybody?!?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 04:56 am (UTC)
To be fair to her, it was a shared path, which is meant to be half for pedestrians and half for cyclists. There are a few around here that work really well, some less well and some poorly. The park one is usually good because most people keep their brains on. Alas, not all!

I do lose my mind at pedestrians on the dedicated cycleways, though. There are sometimes joggers on the Bourke St Cycleway and pedestrians on the Harbour Bridge Cycle Crossing. I shout 'You're in the wrong place!' at both, sometimes in several languages if they look at me blankly. I must lean how to say it in Japanese and Mandarin!
inamacinamac on March 14th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
Some of our local shared cycleways actually have a white line down the middle and paintings of a cycle and a pedestrian to indicate which side each should be.

And no, of course no one seems to take any notice of which side they should be. Especially when distracted by phones or i-players.

I love your fast response.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
I confess that it was so ready to my lips because I was thinking it beforehand ;-)

And oh god, the phone and iPod people! They amble, they bumble, they do not hear bike bells and only an 'OI!' from a few feet away gets a response, which is usually a leap of alarm that is usually followed up by them grumping and probably going home to rant about appalling cyclists …
inamacinamac on March 16th, 2013 07:53 am (UTC)
For me it's the dog walkers in the local forest who are glued to their phones and completely oblivious of what their dog (usually a 'pit-bull-type') is doing. Never mind not phoning while in charge of a car - you really shouldn't have a phone glued to your ear while in charge of anything in including children.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 08:23 am (UTC)
I'm giggling at that because I had a dog stop its human from walking out in front of me on my ride home. I hit the road behind my place at a fair turn of speed after a long downhill, and sometimes people wander out across it blindly. I saw a chap nattering away on his phone turn off the pavement and look as though he was just about to step out into the road and drew in a breath to shout at him to stop, when he jerked to a halt. I looked down and saw his boxer peering at me and sitting back, effectively leashing his human out of harm's way.

My friends who own the cafe up the road give ill-behaved children handfuls of red frogs if their parents ignore the kids and chat on their phones instead. I know it's a bit evil, but I can't blame them!
Vaysh Swiftstorm: Vicomte Renevaysh on March 14th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
Sound advice. *nods*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 05:09 am (UTC)
They were sweet children, I would have hated to kill either of them!
bk7brokemybrain: smirk ARbk7brokemybrain on March 14th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
You are my hero today, my dear. "Mowed you down" indeed.

I got tired of constantly being the one to duck and dip away from the oblivious ones on the crowded sidewalks in Manhattan, so I tried to just walk in a straight line, but so many people were going to bump me that I had to revert to defensive walking.
In my mind, I am still perfecting the defensive move for the next time someone walks right into me that will flail my arms perfectly so as to fling a text-walkers phone up in the air to crash and break on the sidewalk or street while still remaining the offended party. *crosses fingers*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 05:17 am (UTC)
When walking, I've taken to stopping and standing perfectly still when a numbnuts walker comes my way. I plaster a look of 'Are you seriously this incompetent?' all over my face and then brace myself so that if they do barge into me, they connect with a solid shoulder and/or elbow. The one time someone grizzled at me after walking into me, I said; "I was standing still, you managed to walk straight into me. I hope you don't drive like that!' and he huffed and walked off.

The good thing about being middle-aged is that I have no problem with shouting at people these days. 'Heads up!', 'Watch what you're doing!' and 'Oi! Eyes!' are frequently passing my lips. And, when cycling, 'USE YOUR EYES!' at people who step out without looking. I like to think of it as road safety education rather than being a mad old lady …
Janey Procrastinatorjaney_p on March 14th, 2013 04:07 pm (UTC)
One has to wonder about the average intelligence level of mankind...

I have to say I'm impressed you kept this calm AND had such a great reply! :D
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα: J-stoppokingme_inbetween_ on March 14th, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
I really hope you said that and it was the end of that scene. I imagine her version of trying to save her innocent babes while a crazed cyclist targeted each of them in turn. I wish I could write amusingly about those ladies always riding the public bus with huge prams at 5 when most people go home from work, and always want to get in three at a time despite 2 being the limit, and I remember that time a fourth came in and nobody could exit anymore or even move, but then it's usually just for one station, and the prams are so handy for shopping.
Emma: Bikeemmacmf on March 14th, 2013 08:33 pm (UTC)
I once almost caved in a gentleman's ribcage with my rather large and sturdy handlebars, because he had earphones in, and was wandering back and forth across a shared cycle path, waiting for his bus. No amount of bell ringing alerted him, because he couldn't hear it, and as he was also texting, he didn't see me. I zigged, thinking he'd zag, but he zigged instead and I went straight into him.

My bug bear? People walking side by side on the cycle path, who feel that shrugging a shoulder gives you ample space to cycle past them.
Shivshiv5468 on March 14th, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
Oh is that what the keep left signs mean. Keep left. Oh that's a surprise.
bare_memabonwitch on March 15th, 2013 03:06 am (UTC)
Shared pathways can be a pain. There are some places here where the drivers are so dangerous that I'll get up on the sidewalks. I feel bad for the pedestrians then, but there's generally a lot of polite negotiation via eye contact and the occasional shout. (I've found that the technically correct "On your left/right" is confusing for most, so I tend to shout "Bike!" or "Excuse me!"). If I were to mow into a pedestrian, it would hurt them. They might even end up with a broken bone. If one of the angry drivers on the road mowed into me, however, that would be the end of me. So I feel justified in using sidewalks when necessary.
Sherrysherryillk on March 15th, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
I always worry about the bicyclists on the road... Around here, there's a strong cycling culture and there's loads of bike paths and infrastructure meant to make it safer and easier. But I can't help but think that just increases the potential targets to make victims of because there's more people riding bikes. Even if they get their own part of the road and their own traffic signals, there will always be reckless drivers. And every couple of months, you hear about yet another cyclist who had been struck down by a car (or a truck, or even a bus) on the news...
Jaeenchanted_jae on March 16th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)

How dare you attempt to traverse it on your bicycle?!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 16th, 2013 04:41 am (UTC)

(*May have had a little too much sun today)
jolinar_rosha: sheppard aiming gunjolinar_rosha on March 22nd, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
I so so sympathize. Bicycle lanes are a very new thing in my town, and while all the cyclists have jumped at the opportunity, the pedestrians are reaaaally slow in catching up. I've had not a few arguments with people who insist on walking on the bicycle lane when there's huge sidewalk to walk on just to the side, for no reason.