Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rush hour bicycling fun

This happens to me, too. I'm in the bike lane adjacent to heavy traffic and parked cars. A dude steps between the parked cars in front of me, looks right at me, waits until I'm about two feet from me then steps directly in my path. This happened twice last night. The first time, I barked, "Watch it!" and the guy jumped back. The second time it happened, I brushed the dude with my shoulder. He apologized, I kept going. Just to be clear, my brush was not intentional, although if I really tried I possibly could have avoided it.

I almost always give the benefit to the walker -- if somebody jaywalks in front of me, I'm okay with that. But you gotta at least give me some space to react.


  1. Now I am not a lawyer, but if you two would have collided and been injured, I don't believe you would have been at fault. You were riding in a safe manner (presumably) following traffic regulations, and the pedestrian knowingly jaywalked.

    Having biked through the streets of Manhattan before, I know exactly what you are talking about. Thankfully, you are alert enough to make quick decisions to keep bad accidents from happening.

    Stay safe out there.

  2. I was sprinting for a light on a 4 lane road. A half block from the intersection a guy walks out into the street from a bus stop. He gets half way across the first lane and see's that the traffic is too heavy to continue and turns back.

    I just have time to think, "Oh good, I'm not going to have to dodge him when he looks up and see's me. He grins, turns around and steps in front of me. I hit him dead on knocking him onto his back and all the change in his pockets flies out.

    I didn't go down. I grabbed both brakes hard and threw my weight back just as we hit, but it was a near thing. My next few words were scatalogical, his are unintelligable. I'm wondering if he hit his head, it didn't look like it but things happened pretty fast.

    He mutters something about having to go and takes off. I asked the other stunned bus stop patrons if they saw what I did, this guy deciding to step out in front of me. One of them says that's how it looked to him, "Dude was crazy." were his exact words.

    I get to work and I'm starting to worry. Is he alright? Is he going to claim that I hit and ran him? I call the local cop station and tell them what happened, just to be on the record that I didn't try and hide what had happened.

    They're hostile and pass my call to a detective. He asks me if the guy I hit had been wearing a maroon jacket. "No, I think it was brown." I say and the cop loses interest mentioning that they'd just had a guy wearing a maroon jacket report getting his wallet stolen by someone on a bike.

    A couple of hours later I see the guy walk by and he is indeed wearing a maroon jacket.

    Sometimes these folk just misjudge how fast we're travelling and sometimes they assume we'll stop. But sometimes they're just plain crazy.

  3. Ah, peds. Seattle peds are the worst I've ever encountered mainly because peds here have ROW in most instances and, even when they don't, drivers cede ROW just to avoid hitting them, so there isn't any pattern to when/where peds will jump out (thus precluding my ability to predict their nonsense). This is all I'll say: I LOVELOVELOVE my bells, and I have one on every bike I own.

    [takes a deep breath and thinks a happy thought about his commute]

  4. The place where "peds" drive me most crazy is on our beautiful Boise River Greenbelt. Not so much them darting out, as much as them walking as though there are the only ones on the path. I guess it's just the inconsiderate driver syndrome translated into walking. I can't tell you how many times I have to slow to a near stop to wait for 3 people stretched across the path to figure out how to move aside after I yell "on your left!" I've even had to swerve around two people SITTING DOWN on the path!

    (Thanks for the opportunity to rant.)