Sunday, April 24, 2016

Road Etiquette for Bicyclers

The basis of good manners in bicycling, as of good manners in everything else, is common sense and kindness. The whole manual of etiquette might be boiled down into the maxim "Use your head." 

Common Sense and Kindness Are the Basis of Action
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"Use Your Head" the Maxim
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What to Do in Cases of Emergency
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Quite Proper to Speak to a Wheelwoman In Distress Without an Introduction


Now that wheeling has ceased to be a fad and become a part of a normal life, a whole ritual is rapidly becoming as necessary to it, as life in a ball room. The basis of good manners in bicycling, as of good manners in everything else, is common sense and kindness. The whole manual of etiquette might be boiled down into the maxim "Use your head." 

Bicycling is more in need of a set of rules for behavior because of the peculiar conditions under which the sport is carried on. Men and women ride side by side for miles, and while a woman ostensibly, and voluntarily, puts herself on the same footing as her escort, by accepting the same conditions, she is still the weak member of the firm and needs a certain amount of helping to enjoyment and forbearance on hiils. 

One should never let his selfish desire to "plug" up a good hill for instance, pull him away from the aide of a lady whose weaker muscles (as well as a heavier wheel) make it necessary to dismount humbly and meekly at the foot and walk up. Of course, you show her how easy it is, and what a strong rider you are, and you can dismount at the top and wait for her, but it isn't kind. It's lonesome walking hills alone. 

It is always proper to speak to a wheel woman in distress without an introduction, but no service rendered to a woman in the road entitles a man to her acquaintance. 

In following a narrow path the rule is, "ladies first and leave a good distance behind them." 

If a lady's wheel is so damaged tbat it must be taken some distance for repairs, leave your wheel with her while you take hers to the shop. 

As to the rules of the road, tbey are pretty well understood. Pass an approaching wheelman, vehicle or pedestrian on the right, and pass anything going in the same direction as yourself on the left. 

When you come up behind anything ring your bell. 

The rule for position has always been "ride on the left hand side of the lady, and the reason is simply that one may have his good right arm ready to assist her, if it be necessary. Following this reasoning, it would seem that a left-handed man should reverse the position. But there is another reason in this rule for position, which is that riding on the right side of the road, the man is always between the lady and any vehicle that may pass them. 

Should you come up to a wagon at such a time that you will be forced to pass between it and another approaching team, take the lead and in a way, force open a passage for her to come through. Ride near the right hand horse as you pass him and do not pull over to the left until the lady has plenty of room in front of the horse.

At a corner, if you see cyclists on the cross street, go a little slow till you find out which of the three possible courses they 
mean to take. A slight turn to the left by you gives them a better chance to get by, but too much would cut them off from riding down the street up which you have come. Always be ready to give way rather than sprint by. Don't be ashamed to dismount. 

If you meet a runaway, a brass band and a bunch of wheelmen filling up the whole street, you will be better off on the ground than giving an exhibition of trick riding and fancy dodging. 

Lastly, in the city riding, remember that though the car you see may be going away from you, and you have plenty of time to get by the wagon, that cars on the other track come the other way and that if you are sprinting you may not be able to stop in time to clear the hidden foe. Also, an electric car comes out of a collision in better shape usually than either a man or a wheel.

Go slow and turn to the left till you find out what the other people mean to do. Don't cut them off. Look out for this. Don't try to sprint by the team. There may be a second car on the further track which you can't see. In a case of this kind, dismount. — 
Los Angeles Herald, 1895

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