Rare Blog-like Personal Rant
If you're riding your bike on a public path that includes walkers, skaters, etc, and you yell out "On your left" instead of just slowing down and maneuvering around them, you are an asshole. Your barked-out command (and make no mistake, for most people who use it, it is a command--to stay put or move over) is just as likely to startle the walker you're trying to pass into swerving or going the wrong direction.
If you're in-line skating, weaving all over the path, and a biker comes up behind you and silently passes you, swinging well wide of you and you bark out the command "Call a side," you are an asshole. You are especially an asshole if the biker says, "Nah, I don't do that," and you say, "You're going to get someone killed."
If you do say that, you might hear something like "I've been riding this bike twenty years and haven't killed anyone yet. Calling a side is a control thing, I don't like it." That is, assuming the doppler effect doesn't muffle this rant, delivered in a matter of seconds as I am passing you.
If I have to slow down to the point where I am practically walking the bike, I will not hit you or any other pedestrian. At that speed, it's quite easy to clear my throat or say Excuse Me and then it's not such a big deal. I'm just not in that big a hurry when biking.
I'm a total asshole when I'm on my bike.
"if they're on the public path, bikers should slow down when passing so that no tricky, on the fly judgments are made by either party"....right on! As a cyclist in this situation, I couldn't agree more. In my estimation, the ettiquette is different between park paths and transportation (eg: bridge) paths. In a park, people ought to be able to wander aimlessly around without being bowled over or barked at. On a bridge, pedestrians oughta act like traffic.
I have a big blue squeeky whale that I honk when I pass.
Once, while riding across the Manhattan bridge, a weathered old bike dude coming the other way yelled at me "You need to raise your seatpost!"
Ha. I should add that the skater who told me to "Call my side" was veering around more exaggeratedly out of annoyance that I was approaching from behind without saying the magic words. I swung about four feet off the asphalt path onto the grass to avoid this person and still got a lecture.
try yelling "nice pants" (non)ironically instead.
Try yelling "nice pants" non-ironically at all. It ain't easy.
Dude, I can't agree more about how annoying that is.. and just want you to know it even happens in small town rural suburbs with NO traffic where I'm peacefully jogging along the bike path in the clearly marked (and roomy) right lane obviously staying in a straight line and not about to move out of it and some bike tour de f speeds yelling "on your left!" nearly giving me a heart or tripping attack. It's such a power trip....
In grade school I ran cross country. Our goody-two-shoes coach made us say "on your left" (or right) when passing competitors who naturally moved over to try and block us. So we started lying (saying we were on the side we weren't) and passing through the whole they left. Kinda went from goody-two-shoes to evil with one simple lie.
Yeah, high school cross country and track seasons were a long, long time ago, and I kind of sucked anyway.