Views From the Road, Part 2: A Note to Pedestrians

The Ministry of Silly Walks (or walkers in this case)

What happened to the nice weather?  Just as I was beginning to find my psych for cycling season we have been hit with grey, drizzly, forty-degree weather that feels more like thirty-degree weather, and a consistent headwind.  As I get ready for a morning of cycling, it currently feels more like preparing for a day of skiing:  hat, gloves, extra layers, etc.

Despite Mother Nature’s best attempts to dissuade me from cycling, I have been getting out in the elements and finally using my cold weather gear (most times when it gets to cold I bail toward the warm confines of the rock gym).  It seems as if I am not the only one that was motivated by the good weather last week; I have encountered a ton of people out on the roads biking, running, and walking the past week.  The people I have encountered have led me to another “a-ha” moment on the bike: pedestrians have no clue which direction they should be going.

Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic

Note to pedestrians: you are supposed to walk facing oncoming traffic.  I believe they teach this lesson in grade school.  Furthermore, this should be common sense.  I imagine everyone would want to see if the newly licensed sixteen year old who is texting on her cell phone while simultaneously changing the radio station is bearing down on them.  At least when you are facing traffic, you stand a chance of avoiding unaware oncoming traffic.

Not only does walking into traffic give you a puncher’s chance of avoiding an incident with a vehicle, it also makes you more aware of your surroundings.  Most people I see walking or running on the road are either plugged into their walkman or (especially walkers) talking on their cell phone (don’t get me started).  So most of these pedestrians are not only not seeing the traffic, but they are not hearing it either and only become aware of the traffic around them as it blows by at fifty miles per hour.  Call me insensitive, but part of me hopes a few of these people get hit, just to prove that Darwinism works.  

My worst nightmare

The thing about this that kills me is that seemingly once a ride I blow past someone walking with traffic and they jump out of their skin, startled by my sudden presence.  Never do these people make the connection that they are traveling in the wrong direction, and if they walked, jogged, or ran facing traffic, they would not be surprised by someone passing them.  I find it hard to believe that the only time they are startled is when I pass them on my road bike (despite a lazy winter I hardly resemble an eighteen wheeler).  I mean this goes beyond the rules of the road and even beyond common sense, it just involves a little bit of thought.

So pedestrians, if you are unable to obey the simple laws of the road and common sense please do your walking in the local mall, on the local track, wooded trails, or anywhere else that you can think of that puts you out of traffic and harm’s way

Mall Walkers