Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Recently, I nearly got “creamed” by three bicycle riders during the course of one day.
In one incident, the cyclist sped up behind me without warning and nearly careened into me when he swerved to avoid another pedestrian approaching on the sidewalk the other way.
A few hours later, a careless rider cruised around a corner, failed to abide by a stop sign, and nearly knocked me down on the pavement in Santa Monica (the breezy city).
When I crossed the border of Beverly Hills and strode into West Hollywood later on, I was relieved to spy a sign posted on a pole which noted that bicycle-riding on the pedestrian walkway was prohibited.
Of course, many enthusiasts of the sport simply ignore the notice and break the law.
In the event riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is not banned in a neighborhood, cyclists should endeavour to not only exercise caution – but also – follow the rules of the road. For example, the bicycle-rider should “flow” with the traffic (and not against it).
And, always use hand signals whenever possible. For instance, the right arm held straight out means a "right turn" is anticipated, while the same arm crooked "straight upward" signals a left (important since a cyclist may be crossing in busy traffic).
By the way, the owner of a bicycle should properly equip it with all the necessary bells and whistles to ensure there is ample opportunity to warn pedestrians to step aside if (and when) necessary. For starters, the bike should be installed with a bell or a horn (at a minimum).
Speeding up out-of-the-blue yelling - “Heh, you! Get out of the way!” – at a pedestrian is not only unacceptable, but also, improper bike etiquette according to Mr. Manners.
At night, the two-wheeled contraptions should also sport reflectors on the wheels - and a night lamp - as well. Otherwise, when a cyclist is crossing at an unmarked pedestrian walkway, they may end up in harm’s way because motorists tend to be focused on traffic zipping by (of the four-wheel variety) and are often blinded by oncoming headlights.
In closing, I have one reminder!
Cyclists always be ever mindful that on the sidewalk - in daylight or after dark - pedestrians have the right of way.
There may be an exception if President Barack Obama is out for a cruise on his bike with the Secret Service tailing behind.
In that event, it's a matter of National Security, not public safety!