Friday, April 11, 2014

Dear Jerk Dad on Kelly Drive Multi-Use Path

Maybe you had a bad experience or something before with a human (Jesus haven't we all) or maybe a rough day. I have no idea, but how you lashed out on me today was not okay and I truly wish I had my gopro on so I could put you and the experience on full blast. It was horrifying. 

You were in the middle of two way path pushing a stroller and walking your dog. It's been a long winter I know this path has been empty (I have ridden all winter) no sharing needed. No problem. I ring my bell a generous amount behind you as I need room to safely pass you. We both have pretty precious cargo after all. No response. So I call out perplexed on your left. You respond  without looking "well make it quick" without moving. "I have a big bike and two kids I need room" I respond you shake your head and  tell me you "cannot hear me". Uh? 

Remember he is in the middle of the path! I'm not even asking for extra room just asking him to get to the right side where he should be on a two way path. 

Finally I say louder and firm. "Sir I have two kids in a big bicycle and need room." You finally look a little back avoiding my eyes which were confused and let me pass. I even thank you. As I do everyone. 

Another bike rider behind me gets next to me and goes "that's amazing I can't believe that happened". I respond "me too"! 

I call my husband and he defends you that you probably didn't expect a mom or just had a bad experience or whatever. As I finish up my call I see you coming across the street to where I am on the path. I spend all this time online talking about making connections and remind people you are sharing the lane with other families this was a real life chance to remind him I'm a mom on the bike. (Side note my husband told me not to say anything to you afraid you'd be physical honestly you might have been but I couldn't believe you'd be mean to another parent!). 

"Sir why did you yell at me back there I was trying to safely pass" no eye contact as if I'm not a human being who deserves it. You YELL at me it was because you won't respond to a bell. I say it's because you have a kid I use a bell it's friendlier and you cut me off yelling at me that you won't get into this.... Yelling. At this point I'm frustrated and break out in frustration tears. I just couldn't understand how you kept yelling would you have done that if I was male? I bet not. Your daughter about 4 and awake, my son saying calm down to me both witnessing your toddler outburst. I hope no one treats your daughter like you treated me and I know my son will be raised to treat any human with more respect then you showed. 

Let's review sir. You were a dominate man who in a closed off isolated part of the path bullied the whole lane. Were you looking for a fight? You then bullied me further when I tried to calmly speak up for myself and my right to SHARE the path. And it was over a bell? A bell I use so kids smile as I pass. A bell kids at playgrounds fight over to ring! 

I hope you feel like a big man yelling at a mom with two kids. 

Luckily my frustration tears ended and I got to enjoy our ride to art class and back home. See you out on the path. I'm there every Friday same time. 


A Mom who rides a bike


  1. Dear BikeMama,

    I'm really sorry you had this experience - but it's bizarrely similar to an experience I had when I lived in London. I was riding across Clapham Common with a trailer bike to pick up my daughter from a play date. There are only very limited cycle paths across the common (because people think cyclists are A Big Problem and that walking their dogs should take priority). A father blocked the only north-south cycle path with a stroller, pretended he couldn't hear, avoided eye contact but shouted, "I can hear you - you've got the whole common to ride over." That kind of unsought, pointless hostility is so depressing and disempowering I can well believe you burst into tears.

    People have very strange attitudes towards bicycles.