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Hostile reaction to cheery greeting - Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 11:11am
by Holio cornolio
I'm used to being ignored by motorists when on my bike. You know, the type that feel that they don't need to give way to cyclists on roundabouts or whatever, but recently I had an experience which made me wonder what it is about cyclists that raises everybody's hackles... I'm a runner, and I regularly run a route which takes me through a country park, very early in the morning. I quite often come across the same dog walker, and when you're running on grass, I'm aware that when you pass someone, due to the fact that you're almost silent, it can be startling, so my strategy is to cough or make some noise so that the (dog) walker hears me and isn't startled. If that doesn't work I offer a cheery 'good morning and excuse me'. It's not unusual for the poor unsuspecting soul to jump out of her skin and then laugh and make a joke about giving her a heart attack. All very friendly. Well the other morning exactly that happened except that I wasn't running, I was on my bike. I called a cheerful good morning, and the old girl jumped, but rather than the usual smile and joke, she shouted 'why don't you use your bloody bell!!' I was so shocked I didn't know what to say. I mumbled an apology and got on my way...but it got me thinking, as a runner, I only ever get cooperation from people on country footpaths. Families move to one side of the path and give way almost regardless, however as a cyclist, I'm more likely to be met with hostility.... is it just me?

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 11:12am
by Bonefishblues
Take bell off bike.

Hold in hand whilst running.

You probably know the rest :D

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 11:16am
by tykeboy2003
I always use my bell. So far I've never had a hostile reaction from walkers, sometimes I've had comments like "Nice to hear a bell." I don't know why it is that some people don't like a cyclist giving verbal warning rather than ringing a bell, makes no sense to me. I think some people just don't like cyclists.....

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 11:18am
by Holio cornolio
Bonefishblues wrote:Take bell off bike.

Hold in hand whilst running.

You probably know the rest :D

This is genius. It's what I will do.

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 11:34am
by Bez
It's funny, but whenever I hear a bicycle bell I think, "here comes some self-important fundament who expects me to get out of the way". I think you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I always go for the cheery "morning" or "sorry" and deploy a big grin before anyone can start being miserable. Very occasionally someone still is, of course, but that's life. Maybe their goldfish died or something.

The other top tip is to always cycle with a small child: they're very useful for defusing confrontations before they even start. Though there are downsides to that tactic, particularly if you don't have a small child of your own and have to obtain one from elsewhere.

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 11:38am
by kwackers

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 11:58am
by NATURAL ANKLING
Hi,
Well I can see it all.
Partly selfish people maybe on both sides, but no one should be condemned by action of others.
I always use my bell, if they take offence then imagine how they'd be if I startled them.
Voice........the wrong words or misinterpreted attitude can come on both sides.
If nicely verbally greeted, it happens, then I always return the favour.

I got an idea that if you were to carry a tinkle bell whilst running that might eliminate some of the confrontations?

When I was a keen runner I would find myself having to run in the road to overtake even when two abreast see you coming, but this is no different when you are walking even around town.
Some would even throw half empty beer cans from there car at my head :? :evil:
There is nothing wrong with a bell, we should not be condemned for warning others of our silent coming, whilst I receive thankyous when I use my bell I will ignore the comments of those who wish to ignore me by ignoring all my attempts to get their attention..............................

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 12:03pm
by hamster
Like you I picked up a trick that mountain bikers have in Spain, which is a little cat bell on the brake cables / handlebars.

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 12:09pm
by Psamathe
Holio cornolio wrote:... I was on my bike. I called a cheerful good morning, and the old girl jumped, but rather than the usual smile and joke, she shouted 'why don't you use your bloody bell!!' I was so shocked I didn't know what to say. I mumbled an apology and got on my way...but it got me thinking...

I have similar experiences and similar reactions. I generally call out as I approach from behind walkers along the lines of "Can I squeeze past please?" or "Morning" as I always feel you can make a voice/speech sound far friendlier. Given I wear lycra shorts and a helmet I feel that just ringing a bell can be interpreted by some as an impatient "get out of my way" (i.e. they'd possibly categorise me as a lycra lout ...).

I've come to the conclusion that any unexpected noise on a quiet lane is going to make some people jump and when occasionally a few do the "use you bell" it is just they being grumpy because they were surprised - a bell would probably have irritated them more than a friendly "Hi".

I've had some walkers get really angry with me (Ramblers Association outing) as I came up, slowed right down, called out in a friendly way "Can I squeeze past please" (by that time going almost as slowly as they were) and they got a furious response about how I should use my bell! They were the ones blocking the entire road, I was the one messed-up (slowing right down going up a hill), I was the one being friendly ...

I think it just says more about the person doing the "get a bell".

That said 99% of people I pass and call out to in a friendly manner give an equally friendly response and fairly often we end-up stopping and having a pleasant chat about unrelated things (dogs, weather, farming, etc.).

Ian

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 12:09pm
by kwackers
Squeaky brakes.

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 12:39pm
by NATURAL ANKLING
Hi,
We might be in different camps over bells and hello, but we all get the grumpy ones too.

Maybe a psychologist can come up with a something that would be more appealing I am sure it exist?

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 1:33pm
by Threevok
Hope Pro 4 Hubs get people's attention normally (although some people just swat at thin air - rather than turn around).

On a side note, if anyone asks me where my bell is, my usual reply is "I left it in the shed, along with my shopping basket and tassels".

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 2:01pm
by 661-Pete
I don't have a bell. I don't seem to have trouble. My best advice, if you care to hear it, is: keep clear of shared paths. Sorry, but there's no way that a cyclist going at any reasonable pace can accommodate the expectations of pedestrians on the same path: it's going to lead to problems of some sort.

On the short stretches of shared path that I do use, I drop to walking pace, or even a standstill if the pedestrian is with a small child or a dog. I then launch into a 'Good Morning' or 'Hello' or whatever, followed up immediately by 'Thank you' as soon as they step aside, shorten the dog's leash, or other helpful gesture. Never any aggro.

If you really have no alternative than to cycle across the park, can you choose a time when there are few or no pedestrians about?

Bez wrote:Maybe their goldfish died or something.
On the day my goldfish died - I must have been about 9 or 10 at the time - I was walking home from school later that day, two teenage lads accosted me and tried to rob me. You bet I was upset! But they took fright and ran off empty-handed (they'd only have ended up with my pocket-money anyway, which wasn't much :cry: ). Yes, a bad day. But enough of this digression :wink: .

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 2:10pm
by 661-Pete
Threevok wrote:Hope Pro 4 Hubs get people's attention normally (although some people just swat at thin air - rather than turn around).
Only once in my life do I recall actually hearing an adder's hiss - and that was just before I saw the snake itself, emerging from a tussock. A very distinctive sound and instantly recognisable (despite the fact that it was a 'first' for me). Perhaps you should carry a recording?

But I reckon most people wouldn't pay much attention. After all, one doesn't expect a snake to be chasing you up the footpath.

If in the USA, rattlesnake perhaps? :twisted:

Re: Is it just me?

Posted: 2 Feb 2017, 3:16pm
by Threevok
661-Pete wrote:Only once in my life do I recall actually hearing an adder's hiss - and that was just before I saw the snake itself, emerging from a tussock. A very distinctive sound and instantly recognisable (despite the fact that it was a 'first' for me). Perhaps you should carry a recording?

But I reckon most people wouldn't pay much attention. After all, one doesn't expect a snake to be chasing you up the footpath.

If in the USA, rattlesnake perhaps? :twisted:


:lol:

I am thinking of getting one of those air horns that you can use a normal pump to charge. Not for general use, just for the meandering jogging numpties with their MP3 players on full blast.