Recently, I've noticed an alarming trend. Perhaps it's due to the ever-increasing number of resentful bike-commuters, which is to say, angry drivers who are forced out of their cars and onto bikes due to the astronomical price of gasoline. Maybe it's simply because there are more cyclists sharing the bike paths (though I doubt it). It's possible that it's only a coincidence that I've seen several cases of this recently. In any case, the nasty trend I'm noticing is angry and/or spiteful words and actions exchanged between cyclists. While we see this en masse amongst drivers, and often enough between cyclists and drivers, until recently I hadn't seen many cyclists verbally assaulting other cyclists; but both today and yesterday I witnessed just that.
Yesterday as I was riding to work on the bike trail I approached a middle-aged couple taking up both lanes of the bike trail riding in the same direction as me at about 8 miles per hour. When I was about 10 feet back I slowed and said, "Left", a widely used and accepted abbreviation for "On your left" which is bike-speak for "move over and/or stay right so I can pass you." The fellow who was on the left ignored the warning so I cautiously passed between them, saying "pardon me" as I passed. The woman freaked out and yelled "Oh my God", and then, "shit!" The man, possibly feeling his alpha-maledom had been threatened, yelled "hey guy, you need to f***ing watch it!"
As the encounter was relatively benign, I chalked it up to new path users and forgot about it. But then today when I was riding home from work I witnessed two cyclists arguing because the older of the two saw the younger one trackstand at a stop sign before proceeding and didn't feel that this constituted a complete stop because his feet didn't touch the ground. Again, nothing serious, but I hope this isn't an indicator of things to come. Remember people, we're cyclists. We're the level headed ones. Don't turn the bike trails into highways. Be safe, be courteous, be human.