Its all about degrees.
A recent conversation with a co-worker sparked this train of thought and its been swirling around in my head for a few days. I thought I'd share my ponderings…
When I was a teenager I identified that I strongly desired my personal space on the roadways. I did not like to be around large trucks traveling down the road. It seemed as if they never gave other vehicles an appropriate amount of room nor did they travel at a reasonable speed in close proximity to others.
Then as a cyclist commuting to and fro I have had similar, but stronger feelings about motor vehicles in general.
My co-worker who walks her dog on the Clear Creek Trail complains that many cyclist pass far too close and fast to pedestrians, coming up silently behind and passing within inches scaring the bejeezums out of people.
I'm guilty of going too fast on the bike paths. The posted speed limit in Wheat Ridge is 15 mph. I know I hit around 20 and keep it steady for most of my ride. Having said that (and not to improperly rationalize my behavior) I am careful. I do give other trail users plenty of space on the trail even if I don't usually slow down.
I know while riding on the road that if a car speeds by, as long as they're completely in the opposite lane I really don't care so much. My problem is when they are either too close or close and too fast. I'll still be startled by the passing, but if the car has given me enough space I don't get mad about the behavior.
The other issue on the trail is the other users. I try to anticipate what they will do but I know that is an impossible feat. Dogs and kids will dart in front of you. Gramma will see a pretty flower on the opposite side of the trail and step directly in your path.
If I were to hit someone based on my behavior and tactics on the trail it would be partly my fault and partly their fault. I always give people plenty of room. I could slow down as well. Others could maintain a consistent line of travel on the trail, they could stay to one side. Sometimes they don't. If I'm going too fast when someone steps directly in my path without looking it would be at least partly my fault.
I will maintain that people should not walk without looking, step without seeing. It drives me crazy in public places when people wander all over aisles in stores, turn corners without looking and expect for nothing to impede their travel. Same applies for walking your dog or spouse on the bike paths in the morning…
I will try not to scare the bejeezums out of people so much.