Pedestrians/Runners Are Like Squirrels

When I’m on my bike and I see a squirrel, I am prepared for that ignorant creature to try to cross in front of me at the very last second. (I’ve hit a few. Had one go into my spokes.) At times, squirrels seem as if they have it in for cyclists.

Pedestrians and runners are a bit like squirrels in that you just can’t be sure what they are going to do. They may turn or step instantly into your path of travel, and chances are good they are listening to something on their headphones and can’t hear you. In general, walkers/runners are often oblivious to traffic around them.

It used to be that you would only encounter walkers/runners on trails, or running or walking against traffic (the correct way), but lately, they have taken to walking/running with traffic (with headphones), which is suicidal.

When you encounter a walker/runner going the same direction as you, be prepared for a sudden unanticipated squirrel-like move by the walker/runner. Give them a wide berth, and watch them just like that squirrel on the side of road who’s gunning for you.

If you are on a path as opposed to a road, please yield to the pedestrian. They can’t go any faster, but you can go slower.

If you are on a road, give the walker/runner a wide berth, but make sure there is no car behind you before move to your left to avoid them.

If you ride often on bike paths, get a bell.

In general, it’s best to avoid bike paths and ride in the road, assuming that the road is “safe.” This is a judgment call on your part.