The Chainlink

. . . Or "on your right"?

In order to be ready to run a marathon this October, I've started to appear more often on the LFT as one of those annoying joggers a.k.a. runners.

I do try hard to be not very annoying, though, given my own reaction to 'em joggers. Do upon others, practice what you preach, and all that. I look back before making turn or changing lanes, I even point to the direction I am about to make a move, just like I would do when I ride my bike.

I found that something is almost totally missing now.

It didn't take me long to realize what it was: almost never do I hear a warning from cyclists overtaking me, even when they pass within a couple of inches.

Has "passing on your left" gone out of fashion? Do cyclists save their breath, considering that runners and others will not hear them, anyway?

Or, may be, cyclists are trying not to annoy runners?

WTF?

(Sorry, Chi Lowe ;)

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I fall into the camp of cyclists who have given up on "on your left" because most joggers wear headphones and are oblivious to the sounds in their environment.  When passing, I tend to give a wide berth, or if that isn't possible, match speeds until I can get around the slower moving object in my path.

Well, yes, I've mentioned that possibility.

I do have a bell and a siren on my bike, and I use them both. Even the siren often fails to get through, especially when some f****** idiot has noise-cancelling headphones on while running.

Still. You can't always know whether a runner can hear you or not. Why not at least try to be on a safe side? Especially if, unlike you, Skip, one DOES NOT intend to slow down or give a runner a wide berth?

I rode the lakefront trail between its northern end amd Monroe four times this weekend ... if I'd shouted "on your left" at a useful volume at every one of the hundreds of people I passed I think my voice would have been pretty shot at the end of the weekend. I do have a bell and use it if it seems like the person is particularly unaware or if I have to pass closer than is comfortable. As a pedestrian whenever I am the recipient of "on your left" it has always irritated me, but I guess that is somewhat irrational. Still, the bell seems more polite.

Really, there is no good solution to bikes and pedestrians sharing the same path. It is not reasonable to expect pedestrians to signal when they move laterally, but it's also not reasonable to expect cyclists to be able to avoid someone moving in front of them at the last minute (of course, the prudent cyclist will leave plenty of room when passing because of this, but the trail is only so wide and there is only so much room you can give in some cases that this is never 100% safe). It's an inherently unsafe situation. I really dislike riding the lakefront trail for this reason--but I live only three blocks from the northern end, and I routinely have to travel to several of the city harbors (Montrose, Belmont, Monroe) and it is so much more direct than any other route that I end up taking it.

I got sick of saying "on your left" all the time, so I got a bell and use that instead. One should always pass on the left anyway, so the side I am passing on is implied.

1) I worry I am going to scare someone screaming behind them as I approach.

2) I only go past someone anyway if I know I can easily slip past without shocking anyone into cardiac arrest, otherwise I go slowly behind them waiting for a better opportunity.  Of course I have no idea if they didn't have a cardiac arrest a minute later when I long and gone.

I can't speak for the LFP running, but as the slow commuter, I'd prefer a bit more notice rather than have someone pass me with a half-foot of clearance...that scares me a lot more than notice that someone's passing. In fact, I tend to thank the people that let me know that they're about to pass.

I'm not wearing headphones, although I feel in the minority lately, on that regard.

Most joggers I've seen run pretty predictably and avoid swaying into main traffic. I try to save my stage voice for the unpredictable pedestrians on LST such as: high schoolers, people with children/dogs, and people on skates.  

I agree.  Most experienced LFP joggers will look behind them before they pass slower people.  I also don't mind crawling behind people and ringing my bell incessantly until they pay attention.  Groups of slow walkers eventually hear the bell and squish in.  I try to pass to the left of the center line.  I hate it when other cyclists pass close so I can imagine it being even more uncomfortable when that person is on foot.  I don't like shouting.  Although I have when a door flies open.  

Naomi Ruth Jackson said:

Most joggers I've seen run pretty predictably and avoid swaying into main traffic. I try to save my stage voice for the unpredictable pedestrians on LST such as: high schoolers, people with children/dogs, and people on skates.  

I've given up on 'On your left".  I now say either "Bike back" (two hard sounds) or "Meep meep"(road runner road runner)  I found saying "left" turned people to the left, and it sounds lame and has no hard consonants. Most people don't care anyway...

Yep. On your left 20% of the time seems to subconsiously make the passee move left. I also have 'surprised' passee's too many time, so I've taken to sounding my bell well in advance, and repeating it until it becomes annoying. Keep in mind, this is mostly on suburban MUPs. LST requires another set of rules, which seem to me as simply -- stay in your lane, and if you need to deviate, do it quickly (don't ride side by side plz), smartly (make sure no one is coming either direction), and silently (seems the norm).

Chuckchuck said:

I've given up on 'On your left".  I now say either "Bike back" (two hard sounds) or "Meep meep"(road runner road runner)  I found saying "left" turned people to the left, and it sounds lame and has no hard consonants. Most people don't care anyway...

+1 for the headphones frustration. Almost completely knocked down an older gentleman cyclist who, with both headphones in, suddenly veered into the oncoming lane after my partner and I had both said "On your left!". Perhaps cyclists should advocate for more signage on the path, I've noticed an overwhelming number of people meandering in the wrong lane, stopping in the path or crossing it without looking. The times I do say the very necessary phrase, I've got to make an ass of myself in order for it to be effective. I've been met with anger, confusion or straight up ignorance many times. Signs that state the basic "rules" of the path could help make things safer for everyone.

I understand that we would all love rules to be in place, but in reality it is a public use space with very few real "rules" other then common sense, and we all see how far that gets us. I seldom announce I am passing to other cyclists as they tend to look over their left shoulder to see what is coming and in doing so inevitably veer left. As far as runners the speed difference is such that by the time your close enough for them to hear it is probably to late if they have decided to swerve. If I announce anything it is usually me just loudly saying "careful" when I see someone pulling a moronic maneuver. To me that lets them know where I am and hopefully will make them more aware for the next time. Knock on wood but in the many years I have used the LFP I have only been in one incident, a roller blader fell on my rear wheel while I was stopped. Tacoed a rear wheel as he just got up and left.

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