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On Your Left!

Summer is officially here, and with the warm weather I’ve been able to get my bike out a lot lately for solo excursions around the park.

Feeling the wind flowing over your hot skin while cruising down a hill after a tough climb is one of my favorite parts of cycling, and the added perk is that it’s a workout I actually¬†enjoy.

The only downfall I’ve found is the tricky job of notifying others who happen to be in front of me on the bike path (fellow cyclists, runners, walkers, and even stroller-pushers) of my presence and that I’m going to pass them shortly.

When I first started cycling, one of my friends taught me that the proper etiquette is to call out “On your left!” before passing, as it gives that person a chance to move over a little and make passing easier (this is extremely helpful for narrow paths, or on ones where both lanes are being used).

Even in cases where I’m certain the person in front of me is wearing headphones and probably can’t hear me anyway, I still call out since I know it’s what you are supposed to do out of courtesy to others on the path.

Lately though, I’ve noticed that my calling out this phrase seems to have the opposite effect. Instead of people stepping to the right, I’ve experienced several instances of the person looking left and nearly causing me to run them down.

With the calling out my presence method clearly not working, it makes me wonder if there’s a better way to alert people I’m about to pass, or if I even need to worry about saying anything and just hope for the best when it’s time to pass someone.

A few conversations I’ve had recently with some friends about this issue gave me some ideas that I’m going to test out on my next several bike rides, but I’m open to other suggestions too. If you’re a runner, walker, or cyclist, what do you recommend for this issue?

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