“On yer left!” The words, shouted over handlebars or above running shoes sound less like ‘Excuse me, coming through’ and more like ‘Move your bloomin’ arse!’” When my walking feet don’t scurry to the margins fast enough, I’ve received the follow up: “I said, on yer left!”
On my walks I keep to the right, leaving the left open for those moving faster. And yet twice I’ve been knocked down. It seems I cannot make myself small enough to escape the ire of some. What is behind this behavior? I’ve had occasion to puzzle on the question while wiping gravel off my hindquarters.
“On yer left!” stems from a widely-accepted yet largely unassessed formula:
Bigger > Smaller
Faster > Slower
It’s not surprising: we live in a world that equates “getting ahead” with human worth and where bigger is unquestionably better.
Yet Austin, Texas’ “Share the Road” campaign seeks to motivate motorists (bigger and faster) to respect cyclists (smaller and slower) on our roadways. Cyclists deserve equal consideration with motorists because everybody, large, small, slow, or fast matters equally.
Justice extends that measure of respect to all walks, runs, and cycles of life. After all, is the pursuit of perfect health, perfect body, or shortened run time worth treating another human like a road cone?
I’ve been known to respond to “On yer left!” with “On your right!” I’m usually ignored—it’s easy to overlook what is smaller and slower—but I’ve taken a stand for my equal worth.
Here’s my “Share the Trail” formula:
Respectful Cyclists + Respectful Runners + Respectful Walkers + Respectful (all other conveyance here) = Healthy Community
See you on the trail!
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. ~Elie Wiesel