Knock Knock. Who’s there? Isobel …

While we’re on the subject of pedestrians getting knocked over by cyclists (and what do you mean, we’re not?) does anyone reading this remember the Green Cross Code? And specifically the bit where you looked both ways before crossing the road – or did I just make that part up? I’m losing count of the number of pedestrians who amble across the road or even along the middle of the road as I’m riding down it on my stealth bike, completely oblivious to my presence, relying on the fact that they can’t hear any cars coming to tell them they’re safe. Obviously I don’t mow them down, or at least not on purpose; I try and ride round them although pedestrians can’t always be relied upon in my experience to walk in a straight line. Today I encountered three – not counting the two in the park who of course have a perfect right to saunter along without looking out for cyclists – one crossing without looking and two using the road as a pavement.

I could get a bell, of course, but they sound so ridiculous and girly and I don’t want to end up as a sound-effect in a rural sitcom about bicycling vicars. I could get one of those whistles that the scary cyclists have but I’m always worried I’d swallow it in the excitement of making the lights at Vauxhall Cross. What I really want is something I once heard about – one of those urban legend, friend of a friend affairs – a handlebar mounted air horn that makes the same noise as a Mack truck. That would blast the pedestrians out of their i-Pod induced stupor and might even wake up the odd dozy van driver as well. Whether it would shift the pigeons or not, I don’t know. But I suspect I would have fun finding out.


14 responses to “Knock Knock. Who’s there? Isobel …

  1. Haha! There’s nothing funnier than the look of terror on a pedestrian’s face when they have narrowly escaped being knocked over. I’m voting for the air horn…

  2. The trouble with pedestrians is, they’re very pedestrian. They practically move at walking speed.

  3. Katja – shame on you. I thought you were a gentle soul. Any idea where I can source an air horn?

    Menace – *racks brains for clever response. Fails*

  4. Where did you get that photo?? (has it been up there for ages? *blushes*)

  5. Yes, go for the air horn thing!

  6. Babymother – read Saturday’s entry. Do try to keep up.

    Pete – do you think this would be loud enough?

  7. Oh my goodness. It does actually exist

  8. Yes, and that answers all those ‘what do you want for Christmas’ questions if any of my family might happen to read this more often than once a year (you know who you are)

  9. I vote for the horns, or get one of those whistles like the Ref’s use in football.

  10. The air horn it is. I shall get my hands on one by hook or by crook and as soon as I do, let you know how it goes.

  11. Don’t think that they’re stepping out there because they can’t hear you. When I ride my motorbike, which they should be able to hear, they still leap, leminglike, from the side of the road. Only it’s harder to shout a warning through a full-face helmet.

    One girl, two weeks ago, wearing her i-Pod of course, stepped off the curb of a busy corner without even pretending to glance over her shoulder. I steered to go behind her, she heard me at the last minute and leaped backwards, directly into my path. She was so zoned out on music that she hadn’t relised that she was almost all the way across my side of the road.

    I think people plugged into earphones tend to think they’re sitting at home watching a video clip. Even walking down the street they seem to expect everything to pass either side of the camera.

    The trouble with air horns is that there is a slight delay between pressing the button and rupturing your ear drums. And once their ear drums rupture, they’ll still be looking for an enormous truck – not an irate cyclist. Electric horns are instant, but then they’ll be looking for a car.

    The bell is best because they recognise it as a bike. I have one of those single ping bells on my bicycle, but it’s useless because it takes the pedestrians a moment to decypher the sound, work out where it’s coming from, then work out whether it was a bike, or a B&O phone ringing. I want the biggest, jangliest, Chinese bicycle bell that I can find – a proper brring brring bell that makes them think, “Bicycle danger – look for the bicycle.”

  12. Hmm, Damian you are probably right but a bell is so boring whereas an airhorn sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll get both, and the pedestrians will turn around in desperate search of the truck that’s already swallowed one bicycle and is out for more …

  13. Pingback: Of Bells, and Bicycles, and Catflaps, and Submarines « Disgruntled Commuter

  14. Pingback: Zounds! « Disgruntled Commuter

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