Saturday, September 19, 2009


So I was riding my bike to work yesterday when I encountered a pedestrian. You know, like ya do. But this pedestrian was Doing It Wrong.

Allow me to enumerate the ways in which this pedestrian was Doing It Wrong.

  1. She was jogging in the bike lane.

    Which is not the biggest deal there ever was. But it was more than a little annoying because there is a nice, cute little dirt path alongside the road. Low impact, easy on the knees: ideal for jogging!

    In fact, there's a place for everyone here. Cars go in the road, bikes go in the bike lane, and pedestrians/joggers go on the walking trail.

    Get where you go.

  2. She was jogging in the wrong direction, against traffic.

    Salmon! Pedestrian salmon! Pedefish.

    Pede. Fish.

  3. She was jogging her McBiglarge dog alongside her.

    Hey all you dog walkers everywhere! If you are walking your dog, or jogging with your dog, or doing anything with your dog anywhere, then please, for the love of Buddha-sprinkled Christflakes, position yourself between your dog and oncoming traffic. Be that traffic pedestrian, bicycle, or otherwise. Dogs to the outside. Always.

    Some people are nervous about dogs. As a cyclist, I have been chased before and I have been lunged at before.

And so you have a good idea of what she was doing.

But what was I doing? Let's take a look. Because this is important.

See, every now and then, my own dog is a part of my commute. When necessary, I take him with me and drop him off at the pet-sitter before continuing on to work.

If he's looking particularly spry and peppy, well then I loop the leash around my seat post and let him trot along beside me.

But if he looks a little lazy, as he did on this particular morning, and if I lack the time to indulge his lackadaisical meandering, then I'll pull out the tricycle and put him in the rear basket.

Which is what I did on this morning.

So let's return now to the scene already in play: me in the tricycle with the dog in the rear basket, barreling head-on towards the god-damned jogging lady brandishing her over-sized dog at me like a doomstick.

My unwieldy tricycle is already taking up most of the bike lane. I see this ignorant pedefish coming toward me, and behind me I see several cars approaching, so I can't take the lane to get around her.

So my first plan is to engage her in a game of Chicken. I retain the middle of the lane, setting a course right for her. My intention is to convey the message that she needs to get up on the sidewalk and out of the way. (In retrospect, I really wish I had instead used more verbal and more non-verbal language to convey this message.)

She doesn't get out of the lane, but instead just kind of sidesteps into the gutter by the curb and pulls her big dog close to her. The big dog, of course, still being between me and her.

Being in the gutter leaves inadequate room in the bike lane for me to pass her, so I reluctantly take a few inches of the car lane as the cars pass by me, way too close for comfort.

And at this point, the dogs see each other and big dog starts lunging while the jogger lady is yanking his leash and shushing him sharply.

So on the left I'm trying to not get hit by a car while on the right I'm trying to pay enough attention to be able to kick the dog if it gets too close and snarly.

And then it's over.

It takes just under a second for us to pass each other, and I think I'm home free.

But then my own dog's excitement gets the better of him, he loses his balance and falls out of the basket into the street.

He hits the pavement and tumbles towards the curb. Not, thankfully, into traffic.

I think I dragged him for about 6 inches before I was able to come to a halt.

And I think it took about 5 seconds for me to get off, scoop him up, put him back into the basket, and finally pull off to the side of the road.

I probably spent a further 10 - 20 seconds looking him over for scrapes and scratches, and squeezing and moving all his limbs to see if he yelped or cringed.

Even though a little fear at this point had given way to a little anger, I was still mostly preoccupied with my dog's well-being, and so I began to pedal on -- getting right back on the horse, as it were -- not wanting to give him enough time to become scared of the trike.

We covered the four or five blocks remaining, and arrived at the pet-sitter.

Once there, I go to get him out of the basket and he's trembling. Once on the ground, I walk him up and down the block two or three times to watch for limping and to gauge his composition.

He seems fine.

So I check him in and continue on to work.

It's about 36 hours after the fact now and I'm still pissed in a very real way.

There are about 3 or 4 things I will do differently in the future if presented with a similar situation.

For the time being, though, all I can do is be thankful nobody and nodog got hurt, and continue to be pissed.

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