Etiquette Rules – or it should

For the first seven years I rode my bicycle in a group, I did not have a single accident.

Since last September I was in three.

The first was mostly my fault. I wanted to pass between two riders. I loudly and clearly shouted out my intentions. When the rider on the left heard me, he inexplicably moved right just as I was easing through. Up and over I went. Fortunately, I do yoga and stretching most every day, so I was only off my bike for a week. It did take about six weeks, however, to recover from all the aches.

The 2nd was a dip in the road while reaching for a water bottle and the 3rd was a rider ahead of me and to my left falling into my path.

After that first accident, however, I paid a lot more attention to how people in our group ride. It was scary.

So, I became the SAFETY MONSTER.

First, I found two or three people in my group who felt as I did. We all started calling out “on your left”, “on your right” (when absolutely necessary), “standing”, “slowing” and “stopping”.

I then started cajoling others to do the same.

When that did not work I literally shouted at them during the ride (I have no shame, here). The embarrassment usually worked.

When one woman passed me on the right I shouted “Mary (not her real name) don’t do that!”. She replied, “But, I wasn’t close to you.” I replied “I don’t care. If pass me on the right within a bike length, tell me you are there.”

A friend of mine did not want to call out “on your left”. He said “I am watching out”. I said “Assume I am NOT watching out and the moment you let your guard down I am going to swing out to the left” He started calling out.

Two people did not single up when we all called out “car back”. After the car passed, I rode up to them and scolded them for contributing to the negative driver attitude about cyclists. Problem solved.

For the last month, I have not said a word to anyone but new members of the group (quietly and privately the first time). I’d say we are about 80% better than we were before.