29 March 2011

Bike commute day 9, heading home

As I approach pedestrians and fellow cyclists from behind, I usually give a shrill, two-finger whistle from about 100 feet, and then I repeat it from about 30 feet. On rides that require gloves and prevent my whistle, I'll call out "On your left!" from about the same distances.

Tonight, one of the cyclists I overtook gave no notice of my first call, nor of my second. As I passed him, I saw that the reason was a pair of headphones had made him blissfully unaware of his sound-surroundings. So much so that he was startled at my passing by.

I tried for a week or so to listen to the morning news from WYSO while I was riding with earbuds. I found the idea fruitless, and not only that, unsafe. The reception of the radio signals varied so much from one area to another, that I had to readjust the tuning or antenna often. The batteries lasted too short a time also, perhaps because it was so easy to forget to turn off the device at the end of the ride. Then a couple times, a passing cyclist startled me. And once I nearly missed the noise of approaching traffic at a crossing. So I quickly stopped using sound devices while riding.

If anything should be reason for traffic laws tailored to cyclists, it would be riding with on- or in-ear devices. And texting while riding a bike, of course.

Temperature: 43 to 46°F at 18:00, 42 to 45°F at 20:00
Precipitation: none
Winds: none
Clothing: Top 3 layers; Bottom 2 layers; light full-finger gloves.
Time: 0:45:00 (approx.) for 11.86 miles
Bikeway users: 2 cyclists, 4 pedestrians

19:07—depart from work.
19:19—trestle remains at Linden.
19:30—west gate to Eastwood Park.
19:39—passing the zig-zag up from the Mad River Bikeway.
19:52—arrive home.

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