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Old 03-07-2007, 11:14 AM   #1
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This afternoon, I was riding my bike on my town's bike path. It is a double-wide sidewalk and is clearly posted for that purpose. I was approaching a lady walking her dog ahead of me. I didn't want to startle her so I hailed (in a loud voice) "Good afternoon, bike on your right, please". She had been walking on the left and, at my hail, took another step left, putting her almost against the bushes along the bike path with the dog close beside her. I relaxed, believing that she had heard me, slowed down a lot (I never pass dogs very fast, fearing that they will chase me) and the distance between us closed to few feet.

Only at the last second did I realize that she was talking on a cell phone, probably didn't hear my hail at all and that the dog was on a very slack leash. Just before I reached her, she took two steps toward the center of the walk, placing her dog directly into my path. The dog, apparently believing that I was about to run him over, bolted the right, completely blocking the path. I was now faced with:
1. Swerving slightly left and hitting the cell phone person
2. Remaining straight and contacting the now taunt leash
3. Swerving slightly right and hitting the dog
4. Swerving hard right, going off the concrete, down a 6-8" drop and trying to recover.

I chose the later but was unable to recover and ended up in heap with the bicycle. Fortunately, I got my feet out of my foot straps on the pedals so I was able to break my fall without breaking my limbs. The lady quit talking on her phone long enough to say, "you ran into the ruts". Fearing the heated response that was on the tip of my tongue would get me a visit to the local jail, I just dusted myself off and rode on.

Lessons learned:
1. Hit the cell phone talker next time. There is no sense in going down by myself. Then I can say, "geez, Officer. She was talking on her cell phone and stepped right in front of me" - and have a lot of credibility.
2. The only safe place for people to talk on cell phones is sitting in the bathroom. There, if they don't pay attention to what is going on, it is no big deal.
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Old 03-07-2007, 11:14 AM   #2
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This afternoon, I was riding my bike on my town's bike path. It is a double-wide sidewalk and is clearly posted for that purpose. I was approaching a lady walking her dog ahead of me. I didn't want to startle her so I hailed (in a loud voice) "Good afternoon, bike on your right, please". She had been walking on the left and, at my hail, took another step left, putting her almost against the bushes along the bike path with the dog close beside her. I relaxed, believing that she had heard me, slowed down a lot (I never pass dogs very fast, fearing that they will chase me) and the distance between us closed to few feet.

Only at the last second did I realize that she was talking on a cell phone, probably didn't hear my hail at all and that the dog was on a very slack leash. Just before I reached her, she took two steps toward the center of the walk, placing her dog directly into my path. The dog, apparently believing that I was about to run him over, bolted the right, completely blocking the path. I was now faced with:
1. Swerving slightly left and hitting the cell phone person
2. Remaining straight and contacting the now taunt leash
3. Swerving slightly right and hitting the dog
4. Swerving hard right, going off the concrete, down a 6-8" drop and trying to recover.

I chose the later but was unable to recover and ended up in heap with the bicycle. Fortunately, I got my feet out of my foot straps on the pedals so I was able to break my fall without breaking my limbs. The lady quit talking on her phone long enough to say, "you ran into the ruts". Fearing the heated response that was on the tip of my tongue would get me a visit to the local jail, I just dusted myself off and rode on.

Lessons learned:
1. Hit the cell phone talker next time. There is no sense in going down by myself. Then I can say, "geez, Officer. She was talking on her cell phone and stepped right in front of me" - and have a lot of credibility.
2. The only safe place for people to talk on cell phones is sitting in the bathroom. There, if they don't pay attention to what is going on, it is no big deal.
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Old 03-07-2007, 04:47 PM   #3
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Yes, I have also almost run people over who are on the path with a phone stuck to their heads, I wish at times I had a truck horn on my bike, to blast them to awareness, so I don't get hurt. I will run them over before I go into a ditch, and break something. If the call is that important, they should get off the path, its probably the same people using the cell phone, that read a book while driving.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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Yup, people turn into idiots on their CELL phones.
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:37 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Aaron&Cheryl:
Yup, people turn into idiots on their CELL phones. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
...and we have more idiots out there that don't have CELL phones.

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Old 03-08-2007, 07:58 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">..and we have more idiots out there that don't have CELL phones. Eek5

Rich </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm not sure what you are trying to tell us, Rich, relative to my original post. I agree with Aaron/Cheryl that people, like the lady in my post, appear to adapt idiotic behaviors as soon as they start talking on their phones. I'm sure that the lady in my story is a respectable person and that she wouldn't consider thrashing me with a baseball bat, trying to hurt me. Her actions, however, had the equivalent of exactly that and only my quick thinking and sheer luck helped me to avoid a potentially serious injury.

So what are the alternatives? Am I not supposed to ride on a bike path? In my situation, what would you have done? By the way, I ride my bike for health reasons, wear a heart monitor while doing so and am supposed to keep my heart rate in a target zone. I've been doing it for several years and have achieved a certain level of cardio-vascular fitness. If I don't keep moving (i.e. getting off and walking my bike past all those that I pass who are absorbed in their phone conversations), I loose the benefit of my efforts.
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Old 03-08-2007, 12:11 PM   #7
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An observation that I have made while driving the interstates around the Atanta area for several years now: If you come up behind a slow moving vehicle in the left lane that everyone is having to dodge, just follow it for a few minutes. I will suggest that 90% of the time it is a female with a cell phone stuck to her ear, involved in a deep conversation and only about 60% aware of what is going on around her. Scary!
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