Common Courtesy

For many years we vacationed on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Cycling there is one of the most popular recreations.  The pathways throughout the Island are well maintained. In addition is the ability to cycle on the wide beach. It is understood among the swarms of cyclists and those walking along the pathways that the shout-out “On your left!” (or similar verbal notice) when approaching from behind is common courtesy.  When we subsequently switched our winter digs to Longboat Key we learned that the expected vernacular when passing someone on the pathway is to ring a bell.  The rental bikes on Longboat Key come equipped with a bell in the handlebar. Regrettably there are some cyclists who assume that an alert of their approach is either irrelevant or unnecessary.  They couldn’t be more wrong.

Our municipality has lately reconditioned an erstwhile railway right-of-way to a walking and cycling pathway. Apparently there are some users who are as yet unfamiliar with the common courtesy of alerting their approach from behind. This failure prompted the following account from an unwitting pedestrian:

Just out for a walk on the walking path behind my house.
Some asshole comes zooming up behind me rings his bell scared the shit out of me and of course Larry starts going to wards him but I had him.
Then his stupid partner follows behind. The guy says you should watch it.
I said buddy you should have let me know your we’re coming I don’t have eyes in my arse.
Then he stops and is trying to intimidate me.
Well words came out of my mouth.
You cannot drive without these assholes owning the road now they own the walking path.
People like that I can’t stand.

Well!  No lesson in elocution required here! As I wrote to the author, “Very JD Salinger!” Considering the comment came from a mature female adult and was apparently directed at a young scoundrel this is nothing short of heroic! Capturing that type of visceral response in as many exact and colourful words is not to be diminished!