In response to the July 9 letter (“Damned Cheapskate Cyclists!”) written by Edgar Darwin:
I am more than sympathetic to the majority of complaints regarding cyclists’ bad behavior. I have been a road cyclist for almost 50 years, and I share the trails with respect for others. Yet I do not use a bell, and it has nothing to do with money. My experience is that bells elicit a more startled reaction than saying “on your left,” or just slowing down and giving pedestrians space.
As a pedestrian, hearing a bell makes me nervous, since I have no idea from which direction the rider is coming from. Just having that type of warning doesn’t help me decide how to react. I’d rather someone just slow down and go by quietly
There is another side to this, though. Quite frequently I see groups or couples taking up the most of, or even the entirety of the trail. I’ve seen kids not being supervised running unfettered, and unleashed dogs. These trails are public space and they are designed to be shared equally.
How about we cyclists, runners and pedestrians — all practice respect and courtesy for each other because we are all in this together? Blaming the cyclist is getting old. Maybe we can all take responsibility for our trail behaviors and we’ll all be happier and safer.
Neil S. Burton