Coming through!

I have a bike that has bright 90s pink handlebars and fork which makes sense since I THINK it is from circa 1994. It might be a bit clunkier than what is out there now but it works for me. While it doesn’t get out that much, I always intend to do so.

That being said, I’m clearly not one who commutes using it (honestly too far for it to be realistic) and don’t ride it in the city proper.  Chicago and the surrounding areas has a bike culture that I know of a little bit but nowhere near enough to give it a fair description.  Google it and you’ll be fine. Google it more and you will lose an afternoon.

I see it from the pedestrian viewpoint which gives me a series of generic though far from all-inclusive categories: indie/hipster w the tricked out bike; nondescript person with the semi tricked out bike; the serious biker in the technical gear of some sort; the biker that you know is there but doesn’t stand out for any particular reason; the super cautious biker who you can tell is definitely paying attention; the woman biking in the skirt/dress that has people paying more attention to HER; and the “out of my way I don’t care” biker. So basically it’s being impressed, not being affected, being distracted or being run over.

Again, I say this is not everyone. I am not bashing people who ride bikes for their main mode of transportation. Kudos to them.  When Darth Husband and I were in Sarasota last year I was also giving  kudos to the bike lanes there.

Keep in mind however that by kudos I mean blabbering something along the lines of “OMG there is a BIKE LANE” as if it was some sort of rare animal. True we do have them in the Chicago area but this was near the airport-ish area.  Also, this photo wasn’t edited. It was gloomy but March in Florida is much much warmer than March here.

The Florida bike lanes came to mind not to long ago when I heard a woman yell something along the lines of COMING THROUGH as she flew through a crowd of about a dozen people downtown. Luckily there was no collision and no one was hurt.  I found it really unnerving though since per the crosswalk signal the pedestrians had the right of way technically if we were talking with cars. Basically if the scene was a capital T the pedestrians were the top bar and the incoming lady was the vertical bar. Since I don’t know much about Chicago bike laws I looked up some info on them and found information about yielding to pedestrians but also about giving audible warning before passing them.

I am deliberately omitting car vs person and car vs bike debate since that is in the works for a future post.

So the question is was that technically a warning or was she just yelling to yell?


One thought on “Coming through!

  1. I’m very vocal when on bike – both when I feel cars are getting too close “BIKER!” and especially on the crowded bike path “On the left!” Calling out is part of the culture, and depending on mood and whether the peds I’m passing are taking up the entire bike path, I may sound nice, or downright snippy. Either way, the point is to get attention, and in this culture of cell phones, ipods and general spatial unawareness, it usually takes a little oomph, bordering on rudeness, to call yourself out loudly and emphatically. It keeps us all a little safer, even if I do get hollered back at by peds now and again. Better that, than someone getting hurt.

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