Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Earbuds? "Come On"...

I have often said that the most important thing you can do to promote your own safety is to be aware of your surroundings. Whether you are a cyclist, a runner or jogger, or a walker, surely you have heard this. It has been well covered and discussed in many places. During the morning ride yesterday, I ride up to an intersection, a three-way stop, where I am going to make a right turn. At the same time a car and driver is approaching the intersection along the street that I am turning onto. Now throw a jogger into the mix, one with earbuds pugging up her ears. She is jogging along the same street I am riding on, but is going to cross where I turn right. She does not hear me, so does not know that I am there. No problem really, as a pedestrian, she has the right of way, so I wait. Just like the driver, who has also stopped and is waiting for the jogger to cross. Well, apparently the jogger thinks the driver should make the turn first, rather than yield the right of way, and throws up her arms in misplaced exasperation. With my trackstand on the verge of collapse I take this as a sign to go and proceed to make my turn. At virtually the same time, the jogger, steps out into the street in front of me, is taken by complete surprise by my appearance, and lets out a "come on". There was no problem really. I had anticipated this happening and swung wide so there was no chance of a collision, but

come on - take the earbuds out of your ears. If you had done so, you would have heard me behind and to your left, turned and seen me stopped and waiting, yielding the right of way to you. Instead, you allow yourself to be taken by surprise, and then get all upset. True, I should have continued to wait on you, until your frustration finally compelled you to cross. But this isn't about me, it's about you and your earbuds, and the position you put yourself in, by wearing them, and not being fully aware of your surroundings. Wake up and hear the world, instead of letting it pass you by unaware.

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