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passing rage while commuting

Old 06-28-14, 11:48 AM
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spare_wheel
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passing rage while commuting

I just had someone angrily lecture me for passing too closely and for not calling out, "on your left". The cyclist was in the middle of a bike lane and I passed in the vehicle lane while climbing (SW Terwilliger in Portland). They were going ~10 mph and I passed at ~14 mph.

1. When a cyclist has a 5-6 foot wide bike lane to themselves and I enter an arterial lane to pass, I am never going to call out "on your left". (I almost always call out, "on your left", when passing in a wide shared lane/trail/mup.)

2. When a cyclist in the middle of a 5 foot bike lane passing ~2-3 feet to the left of the white stripe is a safe pass .
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Old 06-28-14, 12:01 PM
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The other person is an idiot!
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Old 06-28-14, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
The other person is an idiot!
This kind of thing happens to me every 2-5 years -- and typically in the spring and early summer.
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Old 06-28-14, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
This kind of thing happens to me every 2-5 years -- and typically in the spring and early summer.
Same here.

Probably 10 years ago I was cycling on a levee-top path with a center dividing line. A couple was walking in the right lane with their backs to me (no dog, no kids). Honestly, I get tired of yelling at people or disturbing the tranquility with my little bell unless really necessary. Most peds are tuned out with music anyway. They seemed dependable as I could see them for a full minute before catching up AND they respected the white dividing line the entire time. They never looked over their shoulders even once. So I chose to just pass silently. I moved all the way to the left edge of the opposing lane (likely 5 feet of space between us) and passed at about 15mph. The woman then yelled at me "Announce your pass!" to which I responded "Pay attention".

Some folks just waltz down the trail like there will never be another user encountered. I walk on the same trail. I keep my head on a swivel. It is really not that hard to pay attention and not get startled every time someone passes. It is really not my responsibility to yell at everyone on that path. Sometimes it is courteous to do so, sometimes it is absolutely necessary, and other times there is no harm in just silently gliding by IMO. No posted rules about that on the trail either.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 06-28-14 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 06-28-14, 01:26 PM
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Same experience here - sometimes people get startled and angry if you pass unexpectedly on a path even when there's plenty of space. It's a catch-22, because sometimes calling "on your left" will cause a startled pedestrian to freeze in their tracks or even jump out to the left, so I find it's actually safest to stay quiet unless I really do need more room to pass safely.

Frustratingly, I've tried a bell thinking maybe it's a loud voice that makes people react unexpectedly, but people where I live aren't familiar enough with bike bells; most folks stop in their tracks and turn around to look with apparent curiosity for the source of the unusual noise!
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Old 06-28-14, 02:13 PM
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Ive had this happen once or twice.
I have no problem being aware of my surroundings in a public place, I would expect the same of other people. Its not my job to snap them into awareness if the situation doesn't require it.
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Old 06-28-14, 02:50 PM
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The occasional person will get angry no matter what we do. While on a MUP I rang my bell several times, apparently the fellow didn't hear it, and got angry with me for him not hearing. I tried to explain, but he didn't want to hear an explanation either, so I simply rode off. I've startled pedestrians by shouting on your left, people have ear buds often times, so that is a problem. I've not yet had a problem with another cyclist, but I'm sure it'll happen in time.
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Old 06-28-14, 02:55 PM
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I never say "on your left" when passing another cyclist on the roadway. I usually give them about 5-6 feet of distance when passing just in case they change their mind and decide to swerve without looking....When I ride on MUPS I use my bell, I wish more cyclists would get a bell and use it, instead of shooting "on your left", out of their mouth.
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Old 06-28-14, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
When I ride on MUPS I use my bell, I wish more cyclists would get a bell and use it, instead of shooting "on your left", out of their mouth.
i agree that shouting "on your left" is a bit rude but in my experience bells confuse many north american pedestrians/cyclists and are sometimes hard to hear.
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Old 06-28-14, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
i agree that shouting "on your left" is a bit rude but in my experience bells confuse many north american pedestrians/cyclists and are sometimes hard to hear.
I've had the opposite experience;when calling OYL I've had people actually move left. The bell they seem to understand.
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Old 06-28-14, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
I just had someone angrily lecture me for passing too closely and for not calling out, "on your left". The cyclist was in the middle of a bike lane and I passed in the vehicle lane while climbing (SW Terwilliger in Portland). They were going ~10 mph and I passed at ~14 mph.

1. When a cyclist has a 5-6 foot wide bike lane to themselves and I enter an arterial lane to pass, I am never going to call out "on your left". (I almost always call out, "on your left", when passing in a wide shared lane/trail/mup.)

2. When a cyclist in the middle of a 5 foot bike lane passing ~2-3 feet to the left of the white stripe is a safe pass .
I agree with you, I think the other person was an idiot.

Even on trails, when I pass I give plenty of room - a body size for joggers and walkers, more if the space is available, and more if the person seems uncertain. Give plenty of space to bikers to.

But I don't yell out on your left. I don't like it because:
1. Some people only hear "xxxxx left", and they think they're supposed to jump to the left for some reason. One person I almost hit.
2. Many people are wearing headphones and can't hear you anyways
3. It's annoying to do and it makes my ride less enjoyable. If it wasn't for #1 and #2 I might do it anyways, but those are a problem.

Rather than a bell, I do wish someone made something that constantly made the noise certain expensive hubs make when you coast that "fishing reel with a fish on it" noise. Would be nice for people being able to hear me behind them. Never been able to find something like that though.
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Old 06-28-14, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
i agree that shouting "on your left" is a bit rude but in my experience bells confuse many north american pedestrians/cyclists and are sometimes hard to hear.
My bells are loud and majority of the people can hear it and recognize what it means. I've even had people thank me for using a bell.... The only people who don't hear it are the ones who plug their ears with earphones and have them going on at full blast . These type of people have no awareness of their surroundings, somebody could sneak up to them and pull a wallet out of their pocket and they wouldn't even know.
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Old 06-28-14, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Rather than a bell, I do wish someone made something that constantly made the noise certain expensive hubs make when you coast that "fishing reel with a fish on it" noise. Would be nice for people being able to hear me behind them. Never been able to find something like that though.
When I was a kid I would attach a strip of stiff hard plastic or something to my frame in such a way that it would touch the spokes on the rear wheel. Everytime the wheel turned it would make a rattling sound, sometimes very loud depending on what type of material I used.
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Old 06-28-14, 05:04 PM
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IF I startle someone walking or riding,,I always say I am sorry before they get a chance to get angry...always works
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Old 06-28-14, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
When I was a kid I would attach a strip of stiff hard plastic or something to my frame in such a way that it would touch the spokes on the rear wheel. Everytime the wheel turned it would make a rattling sound, sometimes very loud depending on what type of material I used.
Yeah, I've heard of that before, but it's not a very effective long term solution.
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Old 06-28-14, 05:28 PM
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It's hard to believe but I don't think many walker types understand what OYL means. I usually yell from a distance further than I probably should to give them enough time to react, usually just a Excuse me or hello! And a thanks as I ride by. Seems to be best way to do it for me
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Old 06-28-14, 06:51 PM
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Yes, there are many different scenarios, and ways to handle them. When I'm approaching an apparently unaware or squirrelly individual/group from behind, I take the centre of the path and call out "coming through" from as far back as I expect them to be able to hear me; and I repeat the announcement until they have noticed and reacted or I have passed them. When I'm approaching from the centre, it is their decision on which side they choose to yield some space; I'm not imposing any expectations about which part of the path they should yield to me. When it's a group, they also have the option to clear in both directions and leave the centre open. Have not had any accidents, near misses, or angry responses with this approach, so far.
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Old 06-28-14, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
I've had the opposite experience;when calling OYL I've had people actually move left. The bell they seem to understand.
OYL confuses people. They do not take bell seriously - it is associated with child's bike. I found that simple "watch out" is very effective in moving people away from the source of the noise - me.
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Old 06-28-14, 07:25 PM
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I find the most pleasant passes to be "good morning" or "good afternoon." It's a courteous phrase that alerts them to your presence rather than making them confused and overtaken.

For experienced looking riders I usually just say "passing"
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Old 06-28-14, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sci_femme View Post
I found that simple "watch out" is very effective in moving people away from the source of the noise - me.
"Watch out" sounds too alarmist for me, almost sounds like some great threat or danger is about to strike...If I heard somebody yelling "watch out" from behind me, it would put me into a defensive mode.
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Old 06-28-14, 07:32 PM
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I do not normally announce my passes. People, and especially pedestrians, react unpredictably to any alert you give them. I simply make it my business to pass quickly and safely.

The only times I say "on your left" or similar is when what I really mean is "get out of my way", like when the person(s) have made themselves very wide, are weaving back and forth, swinging small dogs on leashes, and similar behavior.
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Old 06-28-14, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
When I was a kid I would attach a strip of stiff hard plastic or something to my frame in such a way that it would touch the spokes on the rear wheel. Everytime the wheel turned it would make a rattling sound, sometimes very loud depending on what type of material I used.
I thought only baseball cards, something like a rookie-year Mantle, were considered acceptable material for that purpose.
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Old 06-28-14, 07:42 PM
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I never say "passing on your left" just hello, good morning, hows going, how ya doin. People respond to that 100% with kindness and don't get alarmed. I also slow down when passing especially someone with headphones or dog. I figure I can go all out when nobody is around or I am on the road....
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Old 06-28-14, 08:02 PM
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i always announce. sometimes twice if i'm moving quick and coming up on a group of walkers or joggers. however, i have never experienced your scenario. with that if you are in a completely different lane on a roadway, there is no need to announce. that would be like giving your horn a little tap every time you pass another car.
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Old 06-28-14, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
i agree that shouting "on your left" is a bit rude but in my experience bells confuse many north american pedestrians/cyclists and are sometimes hard to hear.
I usually call out with a loud, but very happy/friendly, "Hi! I'm on your left". Seems to work better. Giving people a split second to process a greeting before giving them information/instructions seems to help.
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