A preemptive apology…

messages May 29, 2009

...to everyone on the Greenway.  This happens multiple times every summer:  I'm cycling along and someone else is not paying attention to what's going on and they pull out in front of me/swerve into my lane/are approaching in my lane in a pack of people/enter onto the path without looking/let their dog run loose/just plain don't see me and I shout "Heads Up!" followed by something I'm not proud of.

Let me just say that I am a very courteous biker.  I make a point to be respectful to others, especially since we are all using a public resource.  I am not one of these people that bellars out "ON YOUR LEFT!" in a tone or volume that almost makes you fill your pants or become so startled that you dodge freakishly in some direction (often right in to the path of said yeller).  I announce in a very perky and friendly voice "On your left, please."  Followed by a "Thank you." as I pass.  (Good manners breed good manners you know.)

...Unless of course you are the person who makes any of the above mentioned violations or mistakes, which stimulates an adrenaline fueled bout of profane tourrette's that I cannot control.  It is only my adrenaline talking, but it talks loudly, and only knows one word.

The F-bomb.

After my terse "Heads Up" there is a slight pause and then before I can catch it, the F word, said yelled in the context of using the word "Geez" or "man" at the end of a sentence for emphasis.

I immediately feel awful, totally regret it and am always tempted to chase the person down and apologize profusely.  But here's the thing:  I am going 20-25 miles per hour, and if we collide it is going to HURT.  BAD.  I have been hit by a car riding my bike before and I think it set me up to be a defensive, adrenaline-fueled biker.  Half of the time I wonder if I am wearing some sort of invisibility cloak, because I swear a majority of people do not see me, and this situation happens quite often.

While I'm addressing and apologizing to everyone on the Greenway, can I also make a request?  Please don't wear headphones when you bike.  It is dangerous for everyone.  I have been behind people who were taking up the entire bike lane screaming "ON YOUR LEFT!!!!" as loud as I can (very against my courteous nature, mind you) and they are completely oblivious because they can't hear me.  I can't get by on the left.  Should I try and go by on the right?  Unexpected and could be disastrous.

So to the guy who was biking toward me, in my lane, in a group of people, and completely unaware that anyone besides himself existed, I am sorry for this afternoon's profanity.

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