Bike vs Pedestrian

Last June I blogged about an incident where I almost crashed into a darting child while doing speed intervals.

Today while commuting into work, I almost crashed into yet another “pedestrian”.

I was flying downhill when I saw a few people darting across the street (no crosswalks). I saw a little Asian elderly lady hovering behind a vehicle, barely noticeable, debating to herself if she should cross. I just KNEW she would try to dart out.

I was right!

I was doing ~25 MPH and started to hit my brakes. She darted out, as expected, and was on a collision course with my bike. She had NO idea I was there.

I yelled out ‘HEY! WATCH OUT!’

Does she:
1. Stop and step back?
2. Stop and step forward?
3. Just stop
4. Fall to the ground?


She did ALL of them!!!
First she darted forward, then back, then stopped. At this point, I had no idea where she was going to go, so I came to a full stop. Then she fully just… collapsed to the ground!
Some other woman darts back across the street to us. Mind you, we are in the middle of a freakin’ four lane street. I look behind us to ensure traffic can see us and is not about to smash us to smushy piles.

Elderly woman says in a small voice ‘you startled me!’

Now, what happened next, I admit to say I am NOT proud of. I was so shaken that I could have hurt her and myself that I yelled at her.

I got back on my bike and screamed “THIS IS WHY WE HAVE CROSSWALKS!!!! THIS IS WHY YOU LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING THE STREET!!!!!” and took off.

I dunno. What do you think? Am I a giant asshole for yelling at her?

14 thoughts on “Bike vs Pedestrian

  1. Asshole!!!! Just kidding….would have done the same thing….;-) The strange part about this whole thing is that if you would have hit her, and caused her harm…I’m pretty sure you would have gotten in trouble. I wonder how the law works pedestrian vs. cyclist?? I’m guessing not pro-cyclist….

  2. Would have (and actually have) done the same thing. Sadly, people are oblivious and just don’t have it together most of the time!!

  3. Unfortunately Peds have R.O.W. Even if they are dumb. Though her comment is quite funny and illustrates an interesting view on the world from the woman. “You startled me.” — This woman attempting to cross a street between two controlled intersections putting her life in her own hands – has the gall to announce to you, that your approach and audible warning “startled” her. Shit, your front fork in her ass probably wouldve startled her too. Unfortunately ( or maybe fortunately ) that poor woman will meet an untimely death at some point at the hands of her own carelessness, the sad part is – the guilt will be left on the tragic person driving the vehicle she steps out infront of, or the landlord who rents her that 2nd story apartment to which she tripped and fell down the stairs from.

    • Yeah she got off lucky! I would have really hurt her if we collided. Not to mention hurt ME.

      Do you know if peds having right of way is federal or state?

  4. Not an asshole at all. If someone’s following the rules around streets, they should be cautious and aware. If someone is NOT following the rules, they should be EXTRA cautious and aware.

    It’s all I can do to not smack runners/cyclists/pedestrians upside the head when I can HEAR their ipod over mine…because it means they can’t possibly be aware of their surroundings.

    • Your reply cracked me up! I never listen to music while cycling – I need to hear that car sneaking up on me at all times. I’d love to see you smack a jogger….

  5. Nope, not an asshole.

    Kids are taught – from the moment they can walk – how to cross the street. Use a pedestrian crossing (‘crosswalks’ for our Colonial cousins) if there is one; don’t cross between parked cars; stand near to the kerb, not on it; look both ways several times; cross briskly when safe to do so, but don’t run; keep looking both ways as you cross.

    If you can’t do this, you will – sooner or later – suffer smushung by bin lorry (‘garbage truck’) and you will only have yourself to blame.

    Darth Vader (sort of) taught kids this in the UK:

    Oh, and a squirrel called Tufty:


  6. She needed to be yelled at.

    There was a time when I would base my “cross the street or not” entirely on hearing- utilizing the optical organs was for the dull-sensed, non-ninja portion of the population! However, the rise of hybrid/electrical cars has forced me to admit that I wont always be able to hear danger coming. So now I look both ways no matter how quiet the surroundings are.

  7. Definitely acceptable. The other day I was cycling along a bike path. A bike path mind you, for bikes, and there was a pair of people on the path, taking the whole path up. I announced myself, and one of them looked around and saw me, said something to the other, and they began to look like they were moving. As I got closer I realised that they weren’t, and the one on the left (I’m Australian, left is where I SHOULD ride), was moving right into my path. I put the brakes on, but they locked up and I flew over the handlebars into the person. The person was all right in the end, but shaken up. They were behaving erratically and in a place where they should not be at all, unless aware that cyclists were likely to be coming along at a fair clip.

  8. If you were in California and hit her when she darted out into traffic you would not be held responsible because she was illegally jaywalking. Peds are only a protected species at legally defined crosswalks here such as 90′ corners and marked crosswalks.

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