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About Walking...

Back on the trail, and yes, it's boring. Logging my food over at myfitnesspal, and man, that's really boring.

Sometimes when I walk, I think about writing. Lots of times I think about cyclists passing me at high speed without a warning, despite trail rules. I don't fricking care that there's plenty of room. You don't know if I will suddenly swing my arms for a stretch or move sideways in the lane. And if you have one of those new-fangled super-quiet bikes, you'll be on me before I can hear you.

The norm is 1/3 or less that call "passing" or "on your left" or even ring a bell. I know. I've counted them. I'm only on the trail for 40 minutes, one mile in, one mile out. This statistic has held in different parts of the county (I haven't walked in the other county very much).

This was a three-day weekend, granted. This is summer, granted. And I don't usually walk on the weekends because of the number of people out. I prefer to walk when I can enjoy my thoughts.

Friday: 17 cyclists, 5 calls. Normal ratio, definitely higher traffic, about 1pm.
Saturday: 20 cyclists, 14 calls. Definitely above average. Traffic high. I was off the trail by about 9am. Oddly enough, the six who didn't call did it in the same section of the trail, right before crossing the road. In both directions. Weird.
Tuesday, a work day: 3 cyclists, 0 calls. Low ratio of traffic, off the trail by 10:30AM.

Saturday and today's walks were the same stretch of trail. And the gender-driven statistics say that women will call less than half as often as men. Very few women call that they're passing me.

I have really good hearing and I was a city-dweller at one time, so I'm used to listening behind me. But some bikes are pretty quiet. And I don't have a rear view mirror, like I do when driving. And when they're coming downhill? They're easily going about 30mph. And I'm going 3mph. So far, no accidents, no near misses, as far as I know. But I can be rattled a bit. And really? Just saying "passing" or "on your left" is hard to do?

As for me, I believe in the training methods of that animal trainer who wrote a book about it. Praise the good behavior, ignore the bad. I always call "thanks" when a cyclist verbalizes the pass. Positive reinforcement. It can't hurt.

Frog out



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
Agreed on the positive enforcement. But it's enforcing the do-rights, not the do-wrongs.

Not that I'm suggesting swinging a walking cane around at random some means of negative enforcement...
Jun. 9th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
I thought a lot about this. Then I realized: ignoring bad behavior is supposed to be because the other party (animal) wants your attention. If they don't care, then it won't work. Your method would then be much more effective!
Jun. 9th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Yikes! I only curse the bikers when I am in my car, it never occurred to me how hazardous they could be for a pedestrian! I see ZERO bikers on the gravel roads, they stick to the paved ones. And the cars I can hear from 1/4 mile away. I can always tell which drivers are parents, they slow waaay down for me with the stroller. The teenagers are awful, and always drive too fast for the conditions, completely oblivious to the danger of thrown gravel at a child's eye-level. But the aren't many of them out here thank goodness.

I vote for random stick waving, too. They'll HAVE to call out when they're passing.
Jun. 9th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
yes, I think they will call out "OW!" :D

We've had trouble with what we believe are young people not stopping for the school bus. After it happened twice when my kid was getting off the bus (only kid at this stop this year), I began to step into the road in the afternoon when she has to cross it to STOP the traffic. I don't care if they hit me, though it would traumatize my kid I guess.

Someone over near Brambleton, I think, took a video all year long and posted it on youtube. 100 cars whizzing by stopped school buses at his/her stop. They said those were just the times they happened to have a camera with them. Looks to be a 4-lane road with no median. And the cars were going pretty fast. County can't seem to figure out how to handle the problem. MD is filming drivers from cameras on the buses.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )