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Here in Brooklyn, it apparently means "Swerve wildly to your right", based on the most common reaction I get to that refrain.

Given the number of inexperienced riders I'm likely to encounter in my (congested, urban) area, I've started to say "I'll be on your left (or right)" followed by "you're good" or "thank you" to let them know they don't need to move over as long as they hold their line.

A very small percentage of riders will acknowledge me with a "thank you" or other means. From appearances, these peeps usually seem to be the more experienced riders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just curious. It would appear that very few in SoCal know what it means. This is directed more to those who are doing the passing. When I use it virtually everyone appreciates knowing someone is coming up on them.
 

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gave up announcing OYL years ago...

I just time my move, give plenty of room, and lift my right hand a bit as I go by.

much less drama that way.
 

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I use it on occasion, but there are some cases where it's not needed, and can do more harm than good.

On my commute trail, you get a sense for people who know and play by the rules (stay right except to pass). If someone is jogging or walking on the right side of the path, and there is no oncoming traffic to squeeze by, I'll just pass with plenty of room.

If the situation looks sketchy, with people walking two or three abreast, and there is the potential for oncoming traffic, I'll approach and, with plenty of room, say "Passing Left" (as opposed to On Your Left), just so the people being passed know I'm there, and don't make a sudden move that I can't react to.

A few years ago, and elderly woman was killed on this trail. She was walking early one morning around sunrise. An experienced commuter cyclist attempted to pass her, and announced 'On Your Left' in a fairly loud voice. This apparently startled the woman and she spun around and stepped directly into the cyclists path. He attempted to swerve to avoid her, and ultimately only brushed her shoulder (he didn't fall), but it was enough to knock her down, falling backwards and hitting her head. She died later in the hospital of head/brain trauma.

Many trail users are wearing headphones, and unless you are right next to them, and really loud, they won't hear you anyway.

Anyway, each situation is different. Just like with driving, I just try to assess each situation on it's own and decide on the safest way to proceed. So far, it seems to be working.
 

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I very rarely get a call out from other riders here in Brooklyn/New York/Hudson Valley. Most people that pass me usually give a decent amount of space but there are some riders that insist on zooming by within inches without any warning. I also get a lot of riders that sit on my wheel without letting me know they're sitting in. That's really annoying to me because it means they're back there for an extended period, not just a few seconds. Not sure what's going on in their heads (if anything).

I moved from SoCal about 25 years ago, but still consider it home along with Brooklyn. Started riding about 5 years ago and for some reason, just assumed riders in places like LA, SF, Seattle and Portland were a bit more conscientious because it seems that car drivers are more aware in those areas.

I hope that as cycling becomes more popular here in the States, riders will learn how to better co-exist with cars, pedestrians and fellow cyclists. Wouldn’t bet on it, though.
 

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gave up announcing OYL years ago...

I just time my move, give plenty of room, and lift my right hand a bit as I go by.

much less drama that way.
This is what I do given the reactions I get, described above. I'll call out if I have to pass closely. When I had nice noisy hubs, I'd coast for a second or two to let people know I'm behind them, but I'm riding quiet hubs now.
 

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I called out OYL to an old couple last week. It caused them to crane their necks, which in turn caused them both to yaw to port right in my path. I chuckled and waved, because Golden Rule.
 

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I just cluck like a chicken. Works just as good. Actually I make a click sound, only when passing people with dogs. The dogs hear it and stay out of the way, it doesn't register with most people and that is a good thing.
 

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like spike, i randomly yell, "on your left!" to anyone on the other side of the street.

 

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I just say "passing". Anybody who speaks any Latin-derived language will understand immediately; "on your left" not so much....
 

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Funny, I almost never do it, but I have 2 times in my last 3 rides. Both were to couples walking in the street side by side with a dog on a leash and plenty of line out. In both cases there was a sidewalk available. Mostly I'm letting them know I am behind them in hopes they will pull in some of the retractable leash line. In both cases it worked as intended but I slowed way down and gave them time.
 

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It's something the elders used to say back in the day.

Now I just find other riders would rather startle the f--k out of me by just appearing one or two feet off my left. It's infrequent but every time it happens it think doesn't anyone say "on your left" or do anything to make their overtaking known? I guess I'm just old.
 

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I guess I'm just old.
Silence could also be a compliment to your impeccable riding style. The overtaker feels there's no need to say anything since this guy in front him rides like a pro and would never do anything out of the ordinary.
 

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It's something the elders used to say back in the day.

Now I just find other riders would rather startle the f--k out of me by just appearing one or two feet off my left. It's infrequent but every time it happens it think doesn't anyone say "on your left" or do anything to make their overtaking known? I guess I'm just old.
Out on the open road I'll OYL. People out on the actual open road and especially in fouler weather know to be chill about it.




The MUT/MUP. Well most squirrels don't know what it means or how to react. I just don't do it anymore. A freewheel sound or bell will get people to use their brains and keep right....OYL will get them to jump into oncoming traffic.
 

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Silence could also be a compliment to your impeccable riding style. The overtaker feels there's no need to say anything since this guy in front him rides like a pro and would never do anything out of the ordinary.
I would usually agree with you, but...

The other day I came up behind a cyclist riding with good form holding his line, so I passed on his left without announcing myself, and got an angry "OYL" out of him.

I have taken to using a bell, and it works quite well. Most people acknowledge it with a wave without getting startled, and either hold their line or move to the right. It works with walkers, with or without dogs, joggers, those pushing strollers and with children and even side by side cyclists.

But if someone is wearing ear buds oblivious to there surroundings, they get a loud rude "HEY" from me.
 
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