/ Stories / By Age / ’70s /
I’ve been riding my bike nearly every day for a bit now, three miles, five miles … I’m embarrassed to report a mistake I just made:
I was pedalling home through Woodhaven Estates. A couple, elderly, were walking ahead of me. When I first took up skiing I was grateful to the experts who would warn “On your left” or “On your right” as they whizzed past me. This pair shifted position, and then some. Finally I was almost upon them, the woman was lurching a bit left. I decided the safest and most courteous thing would be to pass them on her right. So I said, softly, “On your right.”
I saw no response from her or him, but by that time I was abreast of her and passing her. “Ooo, ooo, ooo,” I heard from her. “Ahh, ahh.” Then, “You should toot your horn.”
No, I did better than that: I spoke, in an even voice, unalarmingly. At least that was the intention.
I’m 78 1/2. I don’t hear much of what people say. I suspect this couple didn’t either. I warned them, they remained unwarned. Now I see that I should have come up on his left, should have warned them earlier, should have made sure they acknowledged me … Or I should have blared them off the face of the planet with a truck horn! I worked in a motorcycle place in NY& in 1967: Outrider sold truckers’ air horns for motorcycles: clear traffic for ten miles!
I coming up behind them, I should warn them in a polite way; but at the same time at some time pedestrians become responsible for their own handicaps: they certainly weren’t paying attention.
London Bridge is the first known avenue to have instituted traffic rules: then invented traffic keeping to the left, or to the right. With manners many more people can it into the one shrinking world.
Points I yield on: I believe that pedestrians should have right of way and right of courtesy over vehicles: they were afoot, I was on a bicycle.
Further: it was (I presume their park, not mine. I owed them a little extra courtesy. They were old: I should beware of assuming competence.
But I’m old too. they should beware of assuming competence … pk, joking again.
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