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A Public Service Announcement For Pedestrians On The Bike Path

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 12

Before I get to my PSA let me regale you with a story. The southwest corridor was a black ice nightmare today, thanks to warm air temps and cold ground temps the entire thing was one big sheet of super slick black ice. No one has cleared out the sidewalk adjacent to the bike path so pedestrians were sharing the bike side with cyclists (of which there were many).

Enter our main player, one ADORABLE child. I am talking clothing catalog cute, precocious and fun. She was enjoying the warm air and scampering all over the path, something her absentminded mother seemed to have no problem with. She just so happened to be playing on a large sheet of black ice.

There were two cyclists ahead of me, the first a young lady on a mountain bike had been traveling slowly and carefully to avoid falling on the black ice. When she saw this child basically jumping out in front of her the force of her brakes being applied immediately and violently dumped her onto the path. This caused the young man behind her to do the exact same thing.

The had both been traveling very slowly, but that ice was slippery. When I saw them both go down I immediately began to back pedal (one of the many benefits of riding a fixed gear in the snow) to slow myself gently, but it wasn’t going to be enough. I jumped off my bike putting both feet on the very slick ground, but sadly kept sliding forward. I came to a stop inches from the guys head. (I felt like the guy from premium rush when he slides under the truck)

The child thought the whole thing was great fun. Everyone got up dusted themselves off and continued on their way. No one was really hurt, but its still not fun to crash your bike, and its no fun thinking you might injure a cute little child.

Which brings me to my PSA.

Dear Pedestrians:

You are sharing the bike lane with the cyclists. In the same way you don’t like it when cyclists ride on the sidewalk, we don’t particularly like it when you walk in the bike lane. But because of the snow, we are willing to share.

Some things you should know:

1. Its much easier for you to move laterally than it is for us. Especially on ice. So if you can move over when you see us coming, please do so.

2. Quick corrections are impossible while riding a bicycle on ice. If you see us coming, get over early, and stay over letting cyclists know you are not going to be in their way, and giving them time to correct their course around you.

3. Stay on one side of the path. Depending on ice conditions it can be very hard to alter our course while riding. If you stay on one side it gives us a predictable path to pilot around you. Even if you don’t see us behind you it will allow us to safely pass.

4. Remember you are not on the side walk, keep alert, with your head up and free of the distractions of texting while walking.

5. Once the snow is gone, could you please move back over to the pedestrian side of the path. Thanks.

6. And please for the love of all things cute and cuddly, keep your child close to you and don’t let them run around causing accidents like cute little bundles of chaotic evil.


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