Irv, spare me the "scolding" -- you don't know me nor my riding style. I am a 55 year-old man and I don't have the patience for it from someone I have not met in real space. Play the self-righteous curmudgeon on your own time, pal.
I know you are looking when making that swing to the left. I am wary of making that swing without knowing what is coming up behind me and that wariness increases every time I pass the ghost bike by the Payton School.
At least the city has sidewalks the wrong way riders can use to get out of the &%#! way. In the suburbs, some major streets don't have sidewalks. I was riding down one during rush hour, full of cars (I didn't want to take the long way around), when 2 (that's TWO) wrong way dipwads approached. I ain't stopping, so I had to signal to the car on my left that I was merging into traffic. Luckily the cars were slowing due to the nearby train station, or I'd never been able to pull off that move. @$$hats.
But, of course, the Wrong Way Conways do not belong on the sidewalks. Why would you suggest they get on to the sidewalk?? That is not good problem-solving.
I think a couple of folks here have hit on that this is a bit of a generational thing. I was taught to ride against traffic, so you could see what was coming, I was told. This was as a teen sometime in the mid-late 80's San Francisco. Folks need to understand, while cycling is an extremely popular activity, we are still fringe, our community and it's knowledge are still a bit trapped in a microcosm. Best to give person space, use it as a teaching moment, or not.
I think that message did get garbled for people over 40. I was told to hike against traffic and bike with traffic but know that this message was often misinterpreted and people thought it was good practice to bike against traffic. I agree with you. It is usually pretty easy to spot the difference between somebody who thinks they are doing the right thing by riding as a salmon and somebody who simply does not care. The former are generally riding timidly with eyes darting left and right. The latter will not acknowledge you and are often riding faster than the posted speed limit for cars. I will look out for the former. The latter..well, my humanity helps me erase the instinct to callously think of them in Darwinian terms. I will stay out of their way and hope they get home without injuring themselves or anybody else.
Garbled?? How so? What you were told was pretty straight forward -- I got the very same set of instructions as a third-grade student in 1969 and was not confused.
I say garbled because I was not told to ride the wrong way. I was told to walk or hike on the left and to ride on the right. I know that others were not given that information. A common misconception coming out of the 60's and 70's was to bike on the left. I was lucky enough to be have people who distinguished between biking and walking teach these things to me. I also recall, in my youth, having peers tell me they were taught to ride on the left. That is why I say garbled. Frankly, I think the message for walking at some point drifted over, but not completely to messages for riding. That is my non-scientific, impressionistic recollection.
"Generational"?? How so? The Rules of the Road have not changed as far as I am aware.
As to the advise you got in your youth in SF, you got some bad intel there.
Whenever I hear people mention riding a bike against the flow, I am reminded of my college days. My roommate had a good friend that was riding a bike against the flow and was killed by a distracted mom driving a minivan who didn't see her and turned into a parking lot. The young woman (21 year old) that died was told by her parents to ride against the flow because back then (late 80s), some people were convinced it made you more "safe". Sadly, as we know, it is far more dangerous.
There are still people that think riding against traffic is "more safe", and I don't think that it's a generational thing either. There are folks that ride a bike, for whatever reason, that are not "cyclists" and are intimidated by traffic, and many of them ride against traffic for fear of being rear ended.
Many of these folks have not been told or taught to ride against traffic, but have figured it out themselves. If they have a license they most highly haven't looked at the rules of the road since their last license renewal, and if they don't have a license they probably figure that the rules of the road don't apply to them.
Most probably don't know and don't care, would rather be driving a car and are only riding a bike because they aren't using public transportation.