Thursday, 26 March 2020

Joggers

One of the things that slightly deter me from walking the local roads and streets are joggers.

Joggers are a pest at the best of times. They pound along - or flutter along if elderly - and seem to think they are like cyclists.

I consider cyclists to be a dangerous nuisance, both in urban areas and out in the country. They dress up their special gear, don shades, and then infest what should be hazard-free thoroughfares and footpaths. No pedestrian is safe from a collision, for these arrogant and elitist Knights of the Open Road seem to think that they have no duty to take care, can go as fast as they like, and expect people on foot to jump out of the way, rather than slow down and give pedestrians a chance. They ride contraptions that can hurt, maim or even kill if they smash into a pedestrian's flesh.

It's hard not to despise - or fear - cyclists en masse. I think parents who take their children out onto busy roads, in a wobbly convoy, are completely irresponsible - if not absolutely mad. What can they be thinking? That they live in some Utopia where there are no cars, buses and lorries?

I can't cycle; I learned how to get on a bike and ride it much too late (when already thirty), kept wobbling and falling off, and after a few close shaves felt too terrified to ever do it again. And now my age, nervousness, dodgy sense of balance, and erratic lack of ability would make me doubly dangerous. In fact, it would be certain suicide for me to try again.

Ah, you might say. This is the source of your antagonism against the two-wheeled. Well, maybe; but then I'm not against proper motorcycles - machines with power, mass and stability, ridden with skill by trained riders who have passed a test, and observe the Highway Code. I'd be scared of being atop a motorbike, but I do see them much more as two-wheeled cars, and not as skeletal devices best confined to the sports stadium.

Back to joggers. I can't fathom how they can justify taking such pavement privilege. Why is it all right for them to steamroll everyone who gets in their way? It's almost a given, that they are by nature quick and nimble, and can alter course easily to skirt the many obstacles they should expect to encounter, such as slow-moving pensioners. Why don't they do it? There are now so few passing cars, I wonder they don't simply glance around, swerve a bit, and run down the centre of the road, if maintaining their running rhythm is so important.

Actually, it's not important at all. Their training schedule does not trump the safety and convenience of any pedestrian. If necessary, they must slow down, stop, and wait to pass.

I'm not again hopping sideways onto the verge, or into the road. I'll stand my ground. It's fair warning: if they collide with me, and hurt me, when they had ample time to alter course or stop, then I'm contacting the police. If only to tell them that some silly, irresponsible person deliberately flouted the social distancing rule and touched me.

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Lucy Melford