|Goose and goslings on the Ottawa River|
I just hate it when bicycles sneak stealthily up behind me. Even if they ring their bells (to give warning), it startles me and, instead of getting out of the way, I panic and come to a full stop and look around for the impending crash. Not very effective.
And then too, Kane heels to my left -- which puts him right next to the passing bicycles!
When I'm on a bicycle path, I remain very aware that these paths are not principally pedestrian paths; they are for wheels: bikes, strollers, roller blades, wheelchairs. Pedestrians, for the most part, do just fine on grassy or beaten paths. Wheels, on the other hand, not so much.
So I really do want to respect that. But how to do so safely and effectively?
The other day, as I walked through our neighbourhood, which (mostly) does not have sidewalks, a thought occurred to me.
This prevents cars from surprising you. Yes, drivers ought to be aware of all obstacles on the road, including people, but the reality is that they are also trying to navigate and avoid collisions with other vehicles. Also: in a competition between a 150-lb woman and a 3,500-lb mass of steel and rubber moving at 25 km/h, I lose. So I play it safe.
Why, I thought, shouldn't I apply this same logic to the bicycle paths? Walk on the left and get off the path when I see a bicycle coming.
|A bicycle riding along Pinecrest Creek|
You may wonder why I don't just move to the right lane when I see a bicycle coming. Here's why: I won't know if a bicycle happens to be coming up in that lane unless I turn around. Also, Kane would then be right next to the bicyclist again. It is faster and safer to simply step off the path.
|Stephen walking Kane along the Ottawa River Pathway|
|Note that the cyclist has full view of oncoming traffic|
and can assess the safety of moving into that lane.
So that's what I've been doing for the past several weeks (when I haven't been under house arrest on massage therapist's orders). So far, the only hitch has been the odd looks I get from other people using the paths. It's as if their eyes are saying, "Keep right except to pass, idiot!"
Or maybe I'm imagining it. But I'm safe, they're safe, and Kane's safe, so I figure it's a good rule to follow. Your thoughts?