Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bob Dunning: Flattened, not knowing right from left


From page A2 | March 24, 2013 |

Forget about March Madness, I sometimes wonder if I’m missing out on a lot of excitement because I don’t ride a bicycle in the City of Bicycles.

And I’m not talking about exercise. I get plenty of that by walking just about anywhere I go in town, which is certain to burn more calories than hopping on a bike and riding to the same places. It does take considerably longer to walk, but that just provides more time to stop and smell the roses along the way. Or thank the kindly people who stop and offer me a ride.

Is one mode of moving one’s body superior to the other? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean that those who walk and those who pedal aren’t sometimes competing for the same piece of ground. Sometimes as if their very lives depend on it.

I’ve written previously about the time my young daughter was nearly sent into never never land by a criminal bicyclist who, at a high rate of speed, blew through a stop sign downtown, then made a sharp right turn into the very crosswalk my daughter and I were moving through. Collisions between pedestrians and bicyclists are often not pretty, as many of you have related.

My friend Sally writes to report her frustration with this ongoing conflict.

“In The Enterprise,” Sally notes, “the Sierra Club announces the weekly ‘brrrrisk’ walks through the Arboretum and North Davis greenbelts. All of the announcements seem to stress that the group will be walking quickly (amblers, strollers, slackers need not apply), but the most recent announcement added the safety instructions to cross streets as a group and to watch out for ‘speeding bicyclists.’ ”

Turns out those are fighting words as far as Sally is concerned.

“As one of those bicyclists who has to pass this large, rambling group of walkers on my Thursday morning commute,” she adds, “I take umbrage at the ‘speeding’ label.”

Nothing like a cup of good, hot umbrage to get the day going, my grandmother used to say.

“After all, I am only slightly younger than the average age of the walkers,” Sally goes on, risking some payback umbrage coming her way from the walkers by inserting age into the conversation.

“I’m not ‘speeding’ anywhere on my bike. I am wearing a helmet, obeying all rules of the road — and the bike path — and very courteously announcing my approach with a cheery ‘bike passing on your left’ greeting.”

I think you may have touched on the root of the problem here, Sally. You see, when I’m ambling and rambling along on a path seemingly made for both bicycles and pedestrians as so many paths in our town are, confusion and sometimes panic set in when I hear those fateful words “bicyclist on your left.”

The problem is not with the bicyclist or with the words, but rather with my unclear perception of what’s “right” and what’s “left.” I honestly don’t know right from left until I salute the flag. So when I hear “bicyclist on your left,” I quickly start to say the Pledge of Allegiance under my breath as my right hand heads instinctively toward my heart. I now know which way is right, and, by process of elimination, which way is left.

But this quick calculation takes at least three seconds, during which time any misstep could be fatal. And I still haven’t determined what I should do about “bicyclist on the left” or sometimes the much curser “On your left,” barked just before potential impact with my backside.

In a split second I must decide, based on the urgency of the bicyclist’s warning, if I should move to the left, move to the right or continue as is.

Life is precious. Misinterpreting the meaning of “On your left” would be a heck of a way to leave the planet.

Here lies Bob, who knew not his right from his left. May he rest in peace.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]





Davis team wins world robotics championship

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Suspect in UCD assault arrested

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Watch them in action

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

We did it (together)!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

$2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery



Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

New ways of giving locally and beyond

By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

By Our View | From Page: A12

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Poker proceeds help youths

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Invest in water of the future

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Water, water everywhere?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Anaheim, where The Force is with you

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery



Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery





History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery



Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

Davis Roots hires new general manager

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Comcast announces speed upgrade

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6



Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8