#bikeschool: Education for the mastiffs
Having put down some decent winter miles I’m now commuting to work by bike almost every day now the weather is a little nicer. Due to the increase in mileage I’m doing along cycle paths I’ve realised there is a cultural divide between cyclists and dog walkers. I’ve had my fair share of ‘incidents’ with dog walkers in the last few weeks and I think I know the reason why.
As ‘cyclists’ we are a strange bunch and most of the things we do puzzle the rest of the population to the point of ridicule. But maybe that’s because they just don’t understand what we are doing; they need educating on the ways of the cyclist. At the moment there is a small war going on in my town between the sensible masses who want our current cycle paths to be extended for the enjoyment of everyone and those who think that cyclists are crazed speed racers with a maniacal penchant for running over little dogs, children and/or the elderly. Having read a lot of articles and letters in the local paper it seems that we, as cyclists have a duty to explain ourselves and take the moral high ground. That’s why I have decided to submit a letter to the local paper, explaining myself and my actions as a cyclist to those who are willing to take the time to learn… and I need your help.
We may live in different countries and there may be slight cultural divides but I’d really, really love to know your thoughts on the points I’ve listed below which will go in my letter and tell me about ‘rules of the road’ that you abide by. It’s my belief with a little education, we can all get along as super swell friends.
- I am NOT racing, I’m commuting.
- I am not trying to scare, hurt or run over your dog. I will almost certainly come off worse if this were to happen.
- I’m British, so I ride on the left. That is my default even on a cycle path. If you are walking towards me, walk on the left.
- If I approach and you have your back to me, I will politely call ‘behind’ in good time for you to react and move to one side.
- If you are walking towards me, it is NOT ridiculous to expect you to see me and react accordingly. I sit almost 6 feet high on my bike and will almost certainly be wearing something bright.
- If I’m sporting my 800 lumens light and you STILL don’t see me… you should’ve gone to Specsavers!
- If at all possible I will not ride between you and your unleashed dog, that’s just asking for trouble as Fido runs across me to get to you.
- If I feel you’re being unreasonable in your own actions as we try to co-exist in this space, expect me to voice my opinion. This has nothing to do with me being a cyclist, I am a strong-minded human.
If you are a cyclist you probably do these things instinctively but to everyone else, well they may never have crossed their mind. I hope by explaining these things to pedestrians and dog walkers, they will be able to see that it is a behaviour pattern that has rules and that you can rely on rather than just random acts of racing.
Leave your comments below on the things that I’ve missed off the list and I’ll add them into the letter to the newspaper. This is what #bikeschool is about…
WORLD CYCLISTS UNITE