Strange thing happened on my morning commute. I had reached the end of a bike trail and was waiting to cross a major intersection to get to a sidewalk that crosses a busy bridge (for DC folks - this is where Custis Trail meets the Key Bridge). I normally ride in the street but during weekday rush hour, this particular bridge is an exception for me, along with all other cyclists I have seen.
I heard someone calling from behind me and a middle aged (mid-60s) woman was speed walking up to me. She caught up and asked me to walk her across the street.
I was a bit puzzled as she seemed perfectly healthy and wasn't that old. Plus I'd just seen her booking it. Still, I am a gentlemen, and I unclipped and escorted her across.
While we were crossing she began talking about how she'd seen a number of cyclists hit trying to cross that intersection, and she wished the cyclists would just dismount and walk across. When we were halfway across, another cyclist (safely) rode past us and she remarked that she hates "it when they ride past you while you're trying to cross."
At this point I realize I've been duped into uncliping, dismounting, and delaying my commute/workout, but I didn't feel like getting into an argument with a crazy person who honestly seems to have meant well. Once we got across I disengaged as quickly and politely as possible, got back in the saddle and rode on my merry way.
Has anyone else ever encountered anything like this?
Hate to say this, but she has a point. If you are in a zone where motorists expect to find pedestrians, a fast-moving bike may be in a danger. Normally, if I decide to take to a cross-walk, I dismount and walk.
And frankly that whole intersection can be a mess. Between the Key Bridge traffic you have the traffic getting on and off the GW Parkway, it's a bit of a mixing bowl. I'll grant you the woman sounds a few bricks short of a full load, but she has a bit of a point. I go through there twice a day. Getting off M street onto the bridge can be really fun in the afternoons. In the morning I'm coming through there at 4:30am or so and I can ride down the middle of the road if I choose.
I don't typically dismount to cross intersections, but I don't go zooming across them unless I have a clear view of the danger zones. Even then, I'll at least slow down somewhat. Either way, this problem is alleviated when biking on the road.