I'm trying to get my head around the behavior of cyclists in Connecticut, or perhaps this is a larger New England phenomenon. The situation - I'm poking along on a commuter bike or 3-speed laden with groceries and someone kitted up rides by me on the left. First issue - no verbal communication that they are about to pass on the left, which is a straight up safety issue. Secondly - more of a pet peeve - they don't even say hello. I try toss a cheerful howdy as they churn away, and some can't even be bothered to say hi even then.
Seriously. What's up with that? This occurred three times this this summer, and I was on a different bike each time. First occurrence was on Silver Lane at the intersection with Main Street. I was on my 3-speed Schwinn Traveler with baskets full of groceries and stopped waiting for the light to change. As the light turned green and I stepped on the pedals, I was passed by a road cyclist going full speed just as I crossed the stop line. Not even an "on your left" to give warning that I was about to be shelled in the middle of an intersection. Not cool. What if I was a drunk homeless guy? I could have swerved left and caused serious harm as I wobbled my way up to speed. For your own safety, announce your passes.
The second occurrence was on Main Street, approaching Silver Lane. Poking along on my Schwinn Super le Tour built up as a single speed fendered commuter complete with rack and panniers, I was passed by an older fellow out on his daily constitutional. He blew by with no "on your left" and I decided to catch up and say hi. He proceeded to take a right at the next red light, turn left into a store parking lot, and continue straight. The maneuver was all sorts of awkward and dangerous. He was very intent on not stopping, but was a bit sheepish about blowing the light.
The latest happened tonight. While riding out to meet up with a friend to ride in Manchester, again on Silver Lane - actually Spencer Street on the Manchester side. Damn that street, it was the only common factor aside from males riding road bikes. On my Kona commuter bike with panniers I was heading up a hill and a fellow ripped by. I said hiya. He ignored me. At that point I decided that I was confused and needed to go to the internets to help me clear things up.
I don't think it's cranky of me to expect at minimum a verbal communication (or bell) from a cyclist approaching and passing on the left. Unlike cars, many bikes don't make any noise at all. I also might not see you with a quick glance over my left shoulder as you could be directly behind me.
Above and beyond, I will also think better of you as a human for saying hello. In my opinion greeting fellow cyclists in the otherwise bike commuter sparse Connecticut helps build cohesion in the community and in my personal experience makes the ride more pleasant. When we, cyclists, are regularly in danger on roads not designed for cyclist safety, those personal connections and pleasantries with our human powered compatriots keep things positive.
|Does this guy look like a jerk? Very excited to say hello.|
Did a quick Google on this since I'm sure that this isn't the first time it has been considered. Appears that it isn't just a Northeast thing.