On your left …


I have been cycling on quiet, country roads for over two months where there was little traffic, and few cyclists. It was just me, my thoughts, grazing cattle, corn fields, and train whistles. I rode fast, often, and never felt in danger.

That has all changed. I am back in the city sharing the roads with cars, trucks, other cyclists, and pedestrians. I’m constantly saying “on your left”, as I pass other cyclists on the bike paths, and “This is a bike path! You’re not supposed to walk here.”. And sometimes, no frequently, I shout a four letter obscenity at inconsiderate cyclists and pedestrians along the way.

Here are a few things that really irritate me.

  1. Cyclists that do not use hand signals. I ride fast. I need to know if you are going to turn or slow down. Otherwise, I’m going to hit you.
  2. Cyclists that stop in the middle of a bike path. Don’t do this. There are people behind you, and some, like me, are travelling quickly.
  3. Cyclists that use their cell phones while they are riding. Pay attention! Cycling is dangerous enough. Put your phone away until you are stopped and off the road.
  4. Cyclists that ride in the middle of the bikeway. Keep to the right so other cyclists can pass you easily, and safely.
  5. Pedestrians that walk on cycle paths. Pay attention to the signs, You are not supposed to be there. And, if you must cross a bike path, please look. Don’t just walk out. You wouldn’t do that on a street would you?
  6. Cars that turn right without signalling. Or, signal but don’t look. I don’t know which is worse. We both have a right to be on the road. Besides, this is a bikeway. A street with reduced traffic and speed.

I have only been back two weeks and have narrowly missed being hit several times. I didn’t swear once when I was at the cottage.

Chas: “Yes you did! Lots. Don’t you remember the times you hit your fingers hammering nails?”

Oh, to be back on those country roads.





19 thoughts on “On your left …

  1. Ugh I completely agree having come back to London even from Madrid which is just slightly nicer! Although having said that, in Madrid I was cycling along a bike path that was lower than the pavement (sidewalk?) – there was a step up to the pavement and it was painted a different colour with bike symbols all of it. It was very, very clear. Three old Spanish ladies were out having their Sunday afternoon stroll along the bike lane. They didn’t look around them, they didn’t move out of my way, they barely saw/heard me until I said in halting Spanish “this is a bike lane!” then they all turned around and angrily shouted abuse at me in Spanish until I’d cycled quickly away. I still have no idea why on earth they thought they were in the right!! Phew – rant over 🙂

  2. 5, 6 – annoying

    1,2,3,4 – totally forgiven. Especially after a long ride in the Netherlands. You just go with the flow, because millions of them cannot be wrong!

  3. Is Canada good with cycling paths? I presume it is. A lot of accidents happen here in London and it’s quite inevitable since the paths are on the side of the roads… In Bulgaria, they are only just starting but at least they are building them in on the curb, not the road…

  4. I have one to add! Take out those ear buds! It’s frustrating and nerve racking to be shouting, “On your left!” while passing a cyclist listening to music instead of his/her surroundings.

    And I whole heartedly agree it is so much more fun to ride in the country.

    • That’s a good one. I overlooked it. I agree. Yesterday, I approached a rider in the middle of the bike path, said my customary “on the left”, and he didn’t move. I said it again only louder. Then I realized he had ear buds in and couldn’t hear me. Thanks you.

      • That’s interesting. I find it is mostly 20-30 year olds. Personally, I can’t stand wearing them. I like to the wind in my ears and knowing I can hear the sounds of traffic.

  5. Also irritating is cycling along merrily when a “serious” cyclist comes past… low down on his tri bars he swishes past from nowhere almost scraping your leg… no warning that he is coming by… in a crime ridden country like ours its damm scary I tell you. I have screamed in fright many times… and then followed it up with an unladylike word or two!

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