If there is one thing I now look out for all the time, it's pairs of female walkers who present a continual threat to safe navigation.
Picture this. You've got a path that's wide enough for 4 people to walk abreast. It's quite safe for two people to walk abreast and a cyclist to overtake them at speed in either direction - provided the pedestrians stick to one side of the path or the other.
That rarely happens.
For some reason, many pairs of female pedestrians walk right down the middle of the path, denying everyone the ability to get past them in either direction.
The really amusing part is when you ride up behind them and ring your bell. A sane person would expect them to both move to the left and safely get completely out of your way. An experienced rider like me knows however that in many cases, the one on the left will veer right and the one on the right will veer left and they'll crash into each other in the middle of the path and then rebound in confusion - which means they'll be blocking the entire path again.
Which means you never tear up behind two women. You always brake and get ready to really stand on the brakes. It's ok with blokes - almost all of them will break left; and if they are walking with a female, they'll usually grab the female by the arm and drag her in the correct direction.
I really don't understand why so many women totally fail to grasp this simple concept.
I guess that makes me a misogynist.
A "simple concept", and just plain not-so-common sense.
Is it young women whose behaviour you describe? I suspect it is.
I'm a woman - an old one. We were taught, as little kids, to always walk on the the left side of the footpath. I remember that there was a dividing line painted on the major footpaths of Sydney city when I was very young. I wonder when and why they stopped doing that.
These days people, male and female, have absolutely no idea, and no care, of what is happening around them.Yakking on their mobiles, checking their messages, listening to their iPods, they wander all over the footpath, even stepping onto the road without checking traffic. It's as though they expect the whole world will just naturally accommodate whatever it is they want to do, however stupid their actions.
I was also taught to give way to older people crossing my path. These days I have to stop or veer off course when younger people just charge forward regardless, in shopping centres or on the street. I'm hobbling along on a walking stick but it makes no difference. I have to be aware, watchful of what's going on around me and do whatever I can to keep from being knocked over. Young women and girls are the worst offenders. Males of any age are far more considerate.
Paradoxically, when I board a bus it's the young women who will immediately jump up to offer me their seat, often three or four at the same time while the males, even those in school unform, try very hard to give the impression that they didn't see me (fooling no one but themselves).
I've given up trying to figure it out.
The behaviour described by BOAB applies to all female age groups. I have seen the exact same behaviour many times.
That's Tony Abbott talk.
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