The Etiquette Of Pavement Road Rages

By Kevin Kelway Article for Writeous

Walking and especially cycling has become much more popular during three pandemic lockdowns – and especially the appreciation of living by the sea, and love of the great outdoors is more popular than ever. 

With many people fearing travelling on public transport at the moment – the new walking and cycle revolution is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

With my gym closed, I’m forced like many others to go outdoors for my daily exercise walks – which I must confess, I now totally enjoy and will continue to do post-lockdown.

Now, with a new trend of walking and with pedalling power on the increase perhaps it is time we look at some of the ground rules on pedestrian and cycle way routes. 

With more overcrowding on our pavements, and with joggers with their own issues, there is definitely an increase of hostility and aggression on our walkways and cycle ways.

In a recent incident when I was walking over the magnificent Tamar Bridge, a lady in front of me with a push chair blocked the cycle lane because she wanted to socially distance from pedestrians coming the other way. I had to immediately drop my pace, and with two elderly pensioners with walking sticks trying to squeeze past also, it became a little chaotic, especially when two teenagers on their mobile phones cut in front of everyone.

Suddenly, a cyclist was speeding, honking his bicycle bell, cursing, shouting, hitting his handle bars, and if he had flashing lights, you can definitely say, he was suffering from road rage!

I’ve now become very amused at watching the ‘bicycle rages’, and the variety of cyclists, age ranges, and those that wear the latest safety and fashion gear, and those that don’t.

Bike rage I’ve been told is an act of verbal or gestural anger or physical aggression between cyclists and other users on paths or roadways, including pedestrians, and between other cyclists. And I know I’ve seen quite a bit of gestures, and explosive language on our local pathways recently. 

I think our congested pavements will certainly increase this summer – with more staycationers looking at holidays in the UK.

I think bicyclists are like dog walkers and have their own designated community and etiquette.

Bicycle watching is my new temporary norm, while hoping and praying to travel again sometime soon! In a weird way, it’s become my ‘walking cafe watching’ that I used to enjoy at the airport while waiting to board my flights – and seeing the world go by in all its wonderful cultural splendours.

I’ll never be a bike junkie I just can’t ride a bicycle to save my life, and I’m just not confident or coordinated enough. 

Yes, some pedestrians walk into designated bicycle lanes, many by accident, and some not. It is very hard when lots of people are trying to keep a social distance while walking or running, and can accidentally spill over into bicycle lanes.

The nice weather is not bringing out the nice manners for some bicyclists, and when I hear the warning noise of the bicycle bell alarms, and more often than not the shriek of braking and obscenities I cowardly run for cover.

I always get amused when they cycle off – and burn that stress and anger away over the next hill or street corner.

My partner says to ride a bike is to live in a ‘twitchy twilight zone’ – and always complaining at pedestrians near bicycle lanes – but says nothing compares to riding a bicycle even when horrid walkers get in his way.

Personally, I will keep to my automotive driving seat, and can quietly complain at other drivers in the righteous comfort of my own car space. And where my language and thoughts are purely for my own conscience and hearing.

PS: Don’t get me going on the new fad of electric scooters.

Kevin Kelway

Kevin Kelway

Entrepreneur and journalist Kevin Kelway manages his own successful and award-winning public relations company Dorcas Media. Most notably, in 2016 Kevin won the Sheila McKechnie Foundation For Campaigner of the Year For People & Place Award for his PR campaign in saving Plymouth’s iconic Tinside Lido and was presented the honour at the House of Lords. He is also a proud supporter and signee of the UK armed forces covenant.

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