Bicyclists should make themselves clear

June 21, 2012

Veronica M. Friel wrote in a June 19 letter of her surprise that, when she yelled “On your left” from her bicycle, an elderly person moved to the left — into her path. 

I am confused as to why cyclists yell “left” when they come up behind you.  When they tell you “left,” it is instinctive to think that they mean that you should move left so they can pass. It took me several close calls and a talk with one very patient cyclist to find out that what the wheeled community means is that “I am going to pass you on the left.”

Things would be much clearer if cyclists yelled “passing” or, as some do, “coming behind you” or “behind you.” Failing that, there should be an educational campaign for those of us who have no idea what such a warning means. It might have prevented the tragic recent death of 80-year-old Ita Lapinain Arlington [Metro, June 14].

Gretchen Robertson, Arlington

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