Cyclists versus Pedestrians (Dog Walkers!)

posted in: Two Wheels | 2

What is the best thing to do?

This morning, I was on my way into work on a designated cycle/pedestrian off-road path; when I passed a dog walker who had two Labrador’s on leads. Now the key point here is, he was walking on his side and I cycled on my side; The cycle lane painted division is almost non-existent, but if you are a regular walker/cyclist along the path, you will know which side to cycle  and walk on, respectively; one of his dogs was close to the cycle “lane” and must have been death for a dog, because it didn’t hear me approaching, which I didn’t know about until I started to pass it at about 12 mph. The dog flinched from being startled and about a second later, I could hear the owner over my music starting to rant and rave at me. I don’t know if he thought I hit his dog or not, or whether he was startled as well.

Now, this leads me to two questions:

Q1) People are always saying that cyclists should be always aware, so why shouldn’t pedestrians be as well, especially on a combined cycle/pedestrian route.

Q2) Was the course of action I took the best course of action? I chose none conflict. In other words, I simply carried on cycling on up the hill, hoping he could see I was plugged in to my music and thus making the assumption I was oblivious to his rants.

I really do think that pedestrians are as much a blame at being aware as cyclists, certainly when on a known, busy, combined  route. I have lost count as to the number of times I have called out to pedestrians to let them know of my presence and intentions, because they are taking up the whole path, only to have to almost stop because they are oblivious to the known world at large.

Should we stop and argue our case when one of us feels wronged?

Should we simply become submissive and apologise, no matter our thoughts on the situation?

Personally, I prefer the passive method for dealing with a situation such as the one I have told. His rant could have simply been from being startled or thinking I had clipped his dog. Once he realised no harm had been done, he would have simply calmed down. If I had stopped, the situation could have been a whole different scenario.

What are your thoughts having read this?

Have you any experiences you want to share similar to this one? What was the outcome?

2 Responses

  1. I have found that using a bell is not very effective at all. 1 in 5 people hear it. I have since removed it from my bike and prefer to call out “bike coming through”. This has a better response rate, but still not 100% effective. Ironically, I nearly did call out to this guy, but when I saw I had just enough room to get past without harming the dog, I chose not to. We learn by the choices we make. šŸ™‚

  2. I would have alerted the pedestrian to your presence with a bell ring or a shout. He would then be better prepared to handle his dogs as you passed. Once the incident occurred, I think you did the right thing by continuing on your way. You weren’t going to win an argument and neither would he, so all that could happen would be something bad.

    Also, I don’t ride with music as I think it is unsafe, but that’s more of a personal preference and it doesn’t impact your situation – at least until it makes you the one who is not aware of his surroundings! šŸ˜‰

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