This afternoon was the second time I’ve nearly been run over by a road bike, ridden by someone in lycra.
The cyclist took the time to stop and call me a ‘f%$#ing idiot’ but didn’t bother to linger long enough to find out why I crossed the road and nearly got mown down by him.
Humans do not have eyes in the back of their head, so evolution honed our hearing ability to detect danger without needing to see it first. This has been particularly useful since the invention of transportation.
As a car driver and passenger for many years, I have witnessed this same intuitive behaviour: When a car driver notices a walker on a quiet country lane without a footpath, they slow down and assess the body language of the person/s to establish if they are aware of the approaching vehicle. Walkers instinctively move slightly to the side or look over their shoulder if they hear a car. The driver then knows that they are safe to pass. They do not travel at 30 - 40 kilometres an hour without concern that the pedestrian might not have heard them and cross the road. Why? Because they know they will not be able to stop in time.
I understand that bike bells are neither cool or aerodynamic but I dont think it's unreasonable that cyclists treat pedestrians with the same respect for safety that they expect car users to treat them. In my opinion cyclists should travel at a safe stopping distance or use their voice to alert walkers that they are behind them.
If a car had driven at that speed, when they had seen me, no witness would have questioned that they were the dangerous party, so what gave the cyclist the impression that I was the idiot?