Home > Advocacy

The absolute worst thing a cyclist can do on a bike path

It's entirely avoidable

Photo by: Getty Images

All across Canada, there are more and more cyclists riding on bike paths and cycle tracks. There are riders of different abilitities, varied experience, and different goals. Some are riding to work. Some are riding for some moderate exericse, some are riding as training for races. But we are all in this together, as they say.

On the weekends in many places in this country, on a warm and sunny day, bike paths can get a bit crowded. Parents with their kids. Friends out for a little rip. It’s a mix of people. With so many bikes on narrow spaces, communication is key. A pothole may mean you’ll have to quickly move to the left. A rabbit may jump in front of you. Who knows. You may just be in the zone, unaware that there is someone coming up from behind.

As Torontonians return to the office, some people are complaining about the new bike paths

If you’re that person coming from behind, it is super-dangerous (and also kinda lame) to not let the rider know you’re overtaking them. Buzzing by someone twice as fast ain’t cool. Nothing to do with the speed, not because it’s got to do with manners or being polite (although kinda) but mostly because if the other rider moves to the left, you’re both going down, and your nice little Sunday becomes a crap little Sunday.

So, and especially if you’re in a city, even if you have a top-of-the-line race bike, get yourself a bell. Don’t worry, you can take it off at the races. But that little ring of the bell as you pass someone can be the difference. If you refuse to get a bell, (whatever, I’m not your mother) then you can at least announce your presence with an “on the left.”

That being said, if someone is riding with noise-blocking headphones, this won’t work. Which, by the way, is a reason to consider not wearing headphones on busy bike paths, or at the very least, only putting it in the right ear.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.