I am what you could call a normal bike riding enthusiast. I don’t have the best bike and I don’t go the fastest but I break a sweat and burn calories in the spirit of active living. The occasional trek gives a non-competitive cyclist such as myself much to ponder while travelling the trails of North East Calgary.
Today got me thinking about common courtesies and the urge to rush. Occasionally, we’ll run up behind a pedestrian. From experience we’ve come to learn that mankind seems to have this propensity to deploy technology at every opportunity. In this case it would be the “bike bell”. I can see reasons to use it but not in every situation. When it’s a quiet morning and a pedestrian is sauntering along in thought, I’m inclined to find a way around like a wide pass that doesn’t jar him / her out of their serenity. Call me strange but I’m just not in that much of a rush. Then there are those vehicles which offer a wide pass when it’s safe for them to do so. You know they’ll be looking back in their rear view mirror. I’ll give them a wave.
Many drivers have an urge to rush and this behaviour is elicited by vehicle incursions at intersections and through cross walks. You know they feel guilty when surprised by a bicycle. Traffic regulations require vehicles to stop in advance of the stop line or in absence of a stop line, slightly in front of the stop sign. If intersection visibility is unclear, drivers should then sneak forward. When folks cheat, pedestrians and bicyclists can be put at risk. Law enforcement seems to have better things to do than patrol this poor driving habit. Always be on guard at intersections.
Distracted driving is a reality and it is a material hazard. Pedestrians will not mind sharing a sidewalk with a bicycle if the bicycle yields to pedestrians always, passes with care, and slows down while passing. It simply makes good common sense to use sidewalks when road conditions such as narrow shoulders are unsafe to share with drivers.