Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Do it! Through annoyance

"Why on the sidewalk?"

Twice tonight I said that to bicyclists who were riding on sidewalks in S.E. It's a pet peeve of mine, and makes me want to say or do something because it's dangerous, and rude. Part of me wants to say "So you're too scared to ride on the road?" If I had more time -- no, of course, as they're riding by, and running alongside them while pontificating on what they're doing is a BAD IDEA -- I'd point out that side roads (and usually there are plenty, thanks to the street grid) would probably be safer, and you always have the option of walking the bike on sidewalks so there isn't the speed difference between riders and walkers, and that, again, it's really just rude.

The thing is, I've been an asshole about this before. It's probably better for me just to be annoying. Saying what I said, it may annoy the person. It may get that person to think about why I said it. Maybe. So I said it.

Didn't get into any fights with either person (first a woman, then a man) I said it to. No drama happened. Didn't hear any reaction from either of them. Did they blow me off as a whining crank? Did they get annoyed with me? Did they thing about what they were doing? Obviously a part of me hopes so. And am I justified in being annoyed enough with them to say something?

I knew not to handle it this way, by the way. This is a bit cut out of a scene from the 1991 film The Fisher King, as Jack (Jeff Bridges) follows Parry (Robin Williams) who's trying to get a look from afar at his dream woman Lydia (Amanda Plummer):

A Businessman, walking in the opposite direction, throws a candy wrapper on the street as he passes Jack and Parry. Parry suddenly stops, outraged, pulls out a slingshot and fires a stone at the man's head. The Businessman is hit but doesn't know how, since Parry grabs Jack's arm and resumes walking casually in the opposite direction.

Why did you do that?

Well, if every time somebody did something offensive they got hit in the head with a pebble,
I think they might alter their behavior. What do you, think, Jack...Oh look! A cooler!

Bicycling is actually good for you and (usually) others, while littering ain't good for anyone, so I'm not equating the two. Other than that I'm also annoyed by littering, and have done my best not to do it. When I'm biking again, I resolve not to do what these riders have annoyed me about.

So. Still. Bikes where only walkers should be. Watch me keep saying something about that until someone gets mad at me. I guess I'll report it if that happens, then. Or maybe I'll get to report that something good comes from that.

But it's another little effort for me to say what I think needs saying.

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