I had an interesting epiphany the other day, based on an observation I made in traffic.
A young girl and her father were crossing the street in front of me on their bikes. The man on his big mountain bike and the little girl on a My Little Pony bike with training wheels. As they crossed and mounted the far sidewalk, in order to continue on their way they were forced to dog leg at about 45 degrees, because of the angle of the sidewalk ramp.
The little girl, with her training wheels, was on the inside of the turn, her father on the outside. She couldn’t quite make the turn without pushing her father off the sidewalk. The man had a simple choice. Come to a stop to let her go first, run her over, or go off the sidewalk. The area to his right was clear, open grass.
His attempt to stay on the sidewalk without either letting her go first or run her over was almost comical. Part of the problem was, I think, the problem got inside his decision cycle. He simple wasn’t anticipating the problem until he was in it.
The bigger, more common, problem was he didn’t realize that there was no problem. He was on a well equipped mountain bike. He could have simply driven over onto some nice grass and continued momentum right with her.
But, getting off the sidewalk, even when we have more than adequate tools, can be scary…