Over the din of traffic on 36th St., I heard, “On your left.” Instinctively, I stepped to the right.
When I heard “on your left” a few days ago I started to the left then quickly went right, laughing at myself. Which is left? Where do I go?
If you ride or walk on the bike trails in central Iowa you know “on your left” is both good manners and a bit of a warning. It means “I’m behind you and will pass on your left.” It could also mean “watch out, here I come.”
Last week it was a preschooler, prompted by his mom. “On your left,” he hollered from quite a ways back. “You should wait until you’re a little closer,” his mom called out to him. I turned to see how far back they were and smiled. The little boy was pedaling mightily until he got close. I said “thank you” as he rode by a little close for my comfort – after all it’s hard to pedal, steer straight, and look at the woman walking to your right.
It was teenager this morning. Probably not quite old enough to drive, making her way wherever she was going via bicycle. “Thank-you,” I smiled as she rode by on my left. Still pedaling forward, she looked back with a blessing, “have a great rest of your day!”
I will. And hope you do too.
I’m glad parents are teaching the etiquette rules of the bicycle path to their children. It’s in our mutual interest to stay safe.
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