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Old 02-10-04, 12:14 AM   #1
Grendel
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When to announce "On your left..."?

Okay, this is a question that's been bugging me for a while and I finally decided to ask -- what's the protocol for announcing "On your left..."? If you're supposed to say it every time you pass someone then there would be rides (like the big charity rides) where I would sound like an auctioneer trying to get around people ("On-yer-left-on-yer-left-on-yer-left-on-yer-left-on-yer-left-on-yer... aww, forget it!"). Once on a large ride I wordlessly passed someone with about 5 feet of space between us and he greeted me with a rather snotty "On YOUR left" or something like that -- for Pete's sake, how much space is enough before you can just ride on by?

The rule of thumb I've been using is that I'll say something if I'm overtaking a lone rider who might not know I'm there (two riders meeting in the middle of nowhere kind of thing) or if I'm passing a rider closely enough that they would have to hold their line or some semblance of a line to keep from swerving into me. Sometimes I'll also announce my presence if someone is lane-hogging and I'm trying to give them a gentle suggestion to move over so that I don't have to ride out into the oncoming lane or pass on the right to get around them. Other than those instances, I really don't see the need to announce -- am I wrong?
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Old 02-10-04, 12:20 AM   #2
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who cares, who is the chick licking the cartoon?
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Old 02-10-04, 12:28 AM   #3
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who cares, who is the chick licking the cartoon?
That would be Agent Scully giving Marvin a proper greeting from Earth... (not an X-Files fan, I take it?)
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Old 02-10-04, 01:23 AM   #4
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In the STP (the only really big organized ride I've done), I rarely said "on your left." The reason being that there were so many bikers on the road, they shouldn't be surprised by someone passing them, whereas on an everyday ride, someone passing you can be startling. The only time I'd say anything on a huge ride with people everywhere is if they're not holding a steady line. If they're weaving quite a bit, I let them know so they don't plow into me. Otherwise, if they're going to swerve out, I'm assuming they'd check first. Yeah, sometimes it's a bad assumption to make, but it certainly beats having a steady stream of words coming out of your mouth.
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Old 02-10-04, 01:58 AM   #5
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Five feet of clearance on a big group ride? I wouldn't bother.

But, most of the time you don't have that much clearance and even when there are a lot of riders on the road, it's a good idea to announce your presence. The rider you're about to overtake might be bonking and out of it mentally, or they might be about to blow a snot rocket to the left.

Instead of "on your left" (which does get rather old), I mix it up with "Goood morning". Or, if it's a Monday morning and we're riding up a gorgeous pass in the Rockies, I'll say something like, "Don't ya just hate Mondays?".
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Old 02-10-04, 01:59 AM   #6
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Just give them plenty of room and have done with it. No need to say "on your left (or right in this country)" really. In fact, calling something out can often startle people more than just passing them and being gone.
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Old 02-10-04, 02:30 AM   #7
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So often walkers are listening to headphones and meander about the bike path like they are doing some kind of waltz.
I think I find so often walkers/joggers are so inattentive that to call out brings them back to the fact someone else inhabits the planet. I have had some close calls.
I just think "passing on left/right' about 20 feet before I pass has been a help. What annoys me on bike paths are people who walk their dogs without a leash...Dogs meander about worse than walkers.And then the signs are quite specific..Dogs must be on a leash.
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Old 02-10-04, 03:24 AM   #8
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This seems to be a no win situation. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid startling those you pass whether you announce your approach or not. Then there are those who express appreciation when you do let them know you're passing. I've seen some announce their passing with a greeting, which seems less threatening to one's ego.
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Old 02-10-04, 09:15 AM   #9
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Doesnt hurt to say it so say it.
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Old 02-11-04, 01:15 PM   #10
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I started annoncing my presence all the time but there are so many walkers, joggers, bikers on the paved trail I ride to work that it gets taxing. I typically announce passing only when there are like 4 or 5 people walking abreast taking up the whole path. I've been meaning to get a bell, it gets crazy in the summertime.
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Old 02-11-04, 01:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by montlake_mtbkr
I started annoncing my presence all the time but there are so many walkers, joggers, bikers on the paved trail I ride to work that it gets taxing. I typically announce passing only when there are like 4 or 5 people walking abreast taking up the whole path. I've been meaning to get a bell, it gets crazy in the summertime.
I no longer ride much on multi-use paths, but when I did used an "Incredibell", mounted on the handlebar stem. It worked much better than calling out to the walkers and joggers. The bell sound was very "friendly", loud enough to be heard without being annoying, and high-pitched enough that it was easy for people to determine where the sound was coming from. Particularly with elderly walkers, it had a lot less "startle factor" than shouting "on your left".

And, it's cheap. Performance has it for $7.99 here .

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Old 02-11-04, 02:19 PM   #12
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The bell solution is probably the best in my book. I, too, get tired of calling out my pass during large rides. I pretty much try to call it out anyway. The best rule of thumb is to be polite no matter what, whether I am passing or being passed. I have been guilty of being snotty and reminding people to call their pass. There's no need to spoil someone's ride by being needlessly rude.

Of course, there are the people who call out a pass, pass quickly, then slow after passing. That's rude!
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Old 02-11-04, 03:22 PM   #13
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orry,cant do a bell or horn.
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Old 02-11-04, 05:43 PM   #14
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Doesnt hurt to say it so say it.
It *can* hurt to say it. Twice I've had someone turn to look back and swerve into my path taking us both down. I've probably startled some folks by not saying it, but I've never crashed into them.
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Old 02-11-04, 05:47 PM   #15
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Of course, there are the people who call out a pass, pass quickly, then slow after passing. That's rude!
There are always people who want to be the fastest one on the trail and prove to everyone else that they are. I had one guy a couple months ago that I was approaching from behind really quickly. He looked back and saw me, made eye contact with me, then started sprinting. I was still catching up to him and he was erractically weaving all over the path. I had to slow down and call out "on your left." He looked back and said "Oh, sorry" like he had no idea I was there.
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Old 02-11-04, 06:58 PM   #16
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I like them to give me warning before they pass me as close as they can for no reason. Then of course i'm riding a mph slower then before with them right in front of me. If your going to pass,do and be gone but dont do it and stay 5 feet in front of me.
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Old 02-11-04, 10:32 PM   #17
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Anyone ever feel like they accidentally announce their presence too loud, so it comes off as obnoxious? There have been a few times when i'm really huffing and puffing up a hill, and my polite 'on your left' comes out like a growl
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Old 02-12-04, 09:07 AM   #18
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Hows carlsbad?I vacation at the best western on the beach every summer and eat at a great fish place,jay's.
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