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Old 07-03-05, 06:53 AM   #1
Dewbert
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"On your left, Mister!"

I was riding a trail on Friday (Monon in Indianapolis). There was this family riding ahead of me. Dad was on a hybrid pulling his son with one of those tow bar things. Mom was right behind pulling her daughter with one too.

Just before I passed them, mom looked back and I made eye contact with her, so she knew that I was about to pass. As I went around, her adorable little girl (think Campbell's soup kid), looked at me with this very serious scowl and said, accusingly: "On your left, Mister!" I said "You're right. On your left."

I guess this 5 year old is very serious about her trail safety!
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Old 07-03-05, 07:22 AM   #2
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IF ONLY all adults knew what that five year old does.. I frequently announce my presence to pedestrians on the local bicycle path with a repeated "on your left." Those who hear me (most don't because they've got i-pods in their ears) often don't understand what I want at all. They usually wait until the second announcement and then turn their heads to see who's interrupting their conversation. Then they move in random directions, creating additional hazard.

I'm seriously thinking of getting a bicycle bell to see if it has any better recognition factor. A canned "air horn" may be appropriate for the hard-core-ignorers.

The absolute worst offenders are those with kids and/or pets (often untethered). I've almost collided with some woman's child who (after I'd alerted the mom to my presence) wandered directly into the middle of the bike path. The second worst offenders are groups of three or more who spread out in a line accross the bike path and are so intent on their conversations that they don't hear your request for space. Almost as bad are pedestrians so involved with their cell phone or i-pod that they wouldn't notice anything short of a nuclear blast.

The cell phone drivers on the streets are a menace too.

God must look out for bicyclists!
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Old 07-03-05, 09:18 AM   #3
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Have you ever had to say "Heads up!" or "Look front!" to someone coming toward you? That's the worst. I notice this a lot with other bikes, where the rider is looking down at his drive-train or something, while doing 20mph, and I'm also doing about 15mph and the gap is closing fast.
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Old 07-03-05, 09:33 AM   #4
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"On Your Left" will never sound the same to me after watching the movie "Spanglish". One of the main characters is a thirty-something married woman who spends her days jogging around her ritzy neighborhood and her nights chasing another woman's husband.

As she jogs through the neighborhood, she can not stop howling over and over "On your left...on your left". Usually, the only people walking on her street are other housewives, strolling slowly with a friend, or the maids and yardmen, slowly trudging from the bus stop to their jobs. But, one day, she is behind some male runners who respond to her "On your left" by speeding up and trying to outrun her. She chases them down, one by one, still howling "On your left" as she goes by.

After she has offended her own housekeeper in countless ways, the housekeeper is slowly walking from the bus stop when "Mrs. On-Your-Left" come running up from behind. Wanting to somehow prove she could hold her own with Mrs. OYL, the housekeeper takes off running, wearing a long dress and dress shoes...when Mrs. OYL finally passes her, Mrs. OYL makes a gloating remark...the whole OYL deal is just her way of rubbing people's noses in the dirt.
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Old 07-03-05, 10:31 AM   #5
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There are a lot of ways to say, "on your left". The nice pleasant way that lets people know that you are kindly alerting them so they won't be inconvienenced or frightened by your passing. And then the, "I'm passing you because you are a slug, and I want you to know that I recognize you as such" way.

I use the nice way, and it usually garners a good response.

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Old 07-03-05, 11:37 AM   #6
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Try being more specified - I always say 'BICYCLE on your left' and it seems to get quicker response. A plain 'on your left' could be a jogger or another walker and they may not feel a need to move over very fast.
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Old 07-03-05, 01:40 PM   #7
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I usually say "Bicycle behind you" before I am actually to close so they can make the decision as to which way they want to move, right or left. I have had people move left when I have said "on your left" so now I just give them the option with enough notice so I am prepared to go right or left around them. I always say "Thank You" after passing them, they seem to appreciate that. You will always find the group who refuses to budge even if you ask them to move 3 or more times, then when they finally decide to move I give them a dirty look as I pass them just to let them know I didn't appreciate them not responding to my simple request.
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Old 07-03-05, 01:49 PM   #8
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I have been working on my enunciation, as I have frequently shouted "ON YOUR LEFT" just to have people glance back, then move to the left.
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Old 07-03-05, 02:11 PM   #9
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I think "On your left!" is too confusing (shouldn't be, but is) so I usually add, "PASSING on your left!" and that usually does the trick.
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Old 07-03-05, 06:50 PM   #10
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hahaha... The thing is though, some people think "LEFT!!!" and move that way...

Saying "on your left" is akward to me. I still say it, but it seems akward everytime.
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Old 07-03-05, 07:41 PM   #11
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I tell 'em, "Lance Armstrong comin' though! Sorry... no time for autographs."
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Old 07-03-05, 07:48 PM   #12
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all you people who yell "on yer left/right" have you ever just tried "passing!"?

That way they cant get confused as to what side and actually look behind.... and those who have enough room don't get startled.

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Old 07-03-05, 08:46 PM   #13
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If they are not wandering around in zig zags and there's a bit of space I just blast on by in stealth mode, if I need them to make room I yell "BIIIIIKE" really loud, and I mean REALLY LOUD! I have recently discovered that when you yell "bike" as loud as you can like a deranged madman on a kamikaze mission - they make a hole for you.... standing on the pedals and wearing an angry/grimacing look on your face when they turn around to look at you makes it 3 times more effective, if you're popping a high mono when they turn around then you're guaranteed the red carpet treatment. Haven't had a single problem since adapting this technique, I even get the attention of cellphoners and i-podders too. Just remember, the secret is in the loudness, I often get the attention of people 150 yards beyond the immediate 'targets'
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Old 07-03-05, 09:07 PM   #14
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Once when I was out jogging, some guy on a bike passed me and said something like, "Ooga bobbity boing!" I guess there were so many people on the trail that day and he had gotten bored of hearing himself say "Left".
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Old 07-03-05, 09:38 PM   #15
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that was hilarious! to have a tiny tot call you out!
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Old 07-03-05, 10:21 PM   #16
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Someone bought me a "bugle horn" from the local store for 5 bucks to mount to my recumbent. Fits really nice under the seat on the right side. Now going down the trail a couple of quick "honks" will give the proper warning and the people usually react in a positive way. It is also really a good ice breaker when the kids comment "nice bike!" when I have the 'bent out for a ride.
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