Can’t We All Just Get Along; Bikers’, Walkers’, & Drivers’ Silent Feud

runners-bikers-walkersThe Front Porch recently examined the issue surrounding bike safety and best practices for riders. If you have ever been on a bike path as a walker, runner, or walking your dog with your family, you have undoubtedly received a bad look from a passing biker. And, most certainly, walkers and runners have been frustrated by bikers riding by too quickly or not giving enough of a heads up.

So, who’s at fault? Or, to put it better, who are the bigger dicks; bikers or walkers? Let’s examine each closely. Walkers and runners are typically not traveling at a high rate of speed and are not controlling a piece of machinery, unless they have a stroller, which are pretty easy to control. Walkers are most certainly not trying to set any sort of record, and any runner out on the Stapleton paths is either on a training run, or just trying to keep in shape. Either way, that run is not going to qualify you for Boston, so making sure you either stop, slow down, or yield for a biker is not that big of a deal, and easy to do. Putting the brakes on at 7 mph isn’t that hard to do, nor is starting back up again as a runner or walker. So, walkers and runners, just keep your head on a swivel, stay to the right on the paths or on the sidewalk, or even on the bike paths going the other way. That way, when you see a biker, you can easily move out of the way for them. Dog walkers, especially off-leash dog walkers, make sure you are always looking around both ways, so that when you see a biker coming, you can get control of your dog. Same thing to those walking with your family; for the safety of your kids, just make sure you can see what is in front of you and behind you, and get your kids off to the side when a biker is coming.

Bikers, there are plenty of things you can improve on as well. I would start with your apparel, but this article would drag on for another 10,000 words. So, for now, let’s skip that. If you are riding on the Stapleton bike paths, you know what to expect. There is going to be heavy traffic of kids, runners, walkers, and dogs. If it is important to you to go 20-30 mph to train, great, but the Stapleton paths aren’t the place for that. I remember running at Wash Park a lot back when I (thought I) was cool and seeing the bikers flying around that inner bike area and thinking they were idiots. Why choose the most crowded park in the city to train for Olympic sprint cycling? Anyway, choose appropriate places to train to fit your needs. So, if you are just going on a somewhat leisurely ride, understand where you are at. When you see walkers, runners, kids, and dogs, slow down as you approach them, make sure they know you are there, then move by them and regain your speed. Regardless of your attire, you are never going to compete in the Tour de France. Don’t get frustrated that you had to take six seconds off your neighborhood ride. Maybe you can push yourself and make it up on the back end.

Finally, we will address drivers. Most importantly, bikers, walkers, and runners, cars can kill you. So, from my perspective, you should always assume every driver is an idiot. When you get ready to cross an alley, slow down and look to make sure a car isn’t blindly flying out. Stay as far right as you can, and if possible, make sure you make eye contact with drivers so they see you crossing at four-way stops. You are not going to break any records, so just wait for the cars, and respect them, even if they are in the wrong. Drivers, when you are in Staplehood, honk as you stop at the end of an alley. You don’t need to drive 15 mph over the speed limit. You are not that important. If you were, you wouldn’t be in a hurry.

In the end, we all make mistakes; whether we are running, walking, riding, or driving. So, when someone irritates you by not following some of the rules laid out above do what Elsa would do and Let it Go. It’s really not worth being a dick about.

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