Pretty Please?

America is the land of pet owners. Approximately 68% of American households own at least one, and many have more than one.

So, I get that you love and adore your dog. I love and adore my pets, too.

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Seriously, I get it. How cute are they?!?

But I have to tell you, that slipping on frozen dog poo during my walk does not endear me to other pet owners.

Yes, I am walking on the sidewalks.

No, I am not traipsing down some country road and mistaking coyote droppings for dog poo.

As a matter of fact, I’m walking on company property up to a public sidewalk. A recent dusting of snow still covered the sidewalk, but the landscaping company has already cleared it off company property. Or most of it anyway.

I make note of the few areas still covered by snow and continue my walk. At which point I slip not once, but twice, on frozen dog poo hidden by the fresh snow.

Be careful what the pretty snow hides!

 

The curses that came out of my mouth would’ve made a sailor blush. I think I even invented a few new ones.

Grumbling a few choice words, I wiped my boots into the snow and finished my walk. Whereupon I noticed that the areas the landscaping company had shoveled also had doggy deposits. After talking to the head of maintenance, I learned poo removal was not in our contract with them, so they’d left it. Of course it wasn’t in the contract. We have no dogs.

We had to send a maintenance guy out to dispose of it so that the walkways would get cleared on the next snowfall.

Please, pretty please, if you have a dog, clean up after him. I understand dog poo bags are quite inexpensive, and all of us walking on the sidewalks would really appreciate it.

Seriously, 1,000 bags for $15. That’s gotta last most of a dog’s life.

Have you ever slipped on anything unusual? Please don’t tell me I’m alone on this.

 

 

 

Sidewalks?

Why are people walking in the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk?

No, this is not a rhetorical question.

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I see this all the time.  Just the other night, a man in dark colors was walking his dog on the road. Three feet next to him was a perfectly good sidewalk. A sidewalk we’re all required to shovel and otherwise maintain. Only reason I saw him was his the white on his black and white dog.

I know, I know, in the frozen tundra, sometimes not everyone clears off their sidewalk perfectly. But climate change has seen us with the warmest February on record! March has been much the same. There was literally no snow anywhere. So why would you risk walking on the road, during rush hour, rather than on the sidewalk?

Or, if you really hate the sidewalks, why not go to the dog park that’s a mile away? Or, the park that’s at the end of the block?

I’ve heard it said if you’re training for a marathon or 10k and taking it very seriously, roads are smoother and less prone to cracks. Except, of course, for the cars on them. Which, at an average of 4,000 pounds or so, seems like a perfectly safe thing to challenge. Because tired drivers coming home after dark during rush hour are always able to see you in your dark clothes and quickly respond. Especially if you slip, lose your footing, or trip on a rock.

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There is one gentleman that runs in our neighborhood who is a serious marathoner. He runs here because we have A LOT of hills, many that are very steep. He wears a lighted vest that flashes on both the front and the back. Very easy to see. I appreciate that.

Still wish he wasn’t on the road, but I can easily see and avoid him.

Not sure why others aren’t using the special trails by us dedicated to bicycles and pedestrians. We have parks. We have waterfronts. Why the street? Can’t be the view, certainly.

Look, I know walkers and cyclists are supposed to have equal rights. I know that some are very dedicated to their sports and want to train.

I’ve often wondered if they know just how dangerous it is to ride in traffic without a bike lane. Maybe even with a bike lane. Especially with impatient drivers that want to get around you when you can’t do the speed limit.

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This may be an unpopular thing to say, but I’m not entirely sure why it is okay to ride a bike or walk on any road with a speed limit above 25 MPH.  It seems like a disaster waiting to happen at the worst, or a traffic jam at the best.

Yes, yes, I know. Not very environmentally friendly of me. Or very sharing. But honestly,  sharing the street with others who are not in a car scares the living daylights out of me. I’m terrified I might hit them, and that would be on my conscience for the rest of my life. And, of course, I get frustrated when I have to do 15 MPH because I got stuck behind a bike in a 40 MPH zone.

Yes, I am trying to be more empathetic, but this isn’t about just me and the cyclist. This is about me, the cyclist, and the six people now lined up behind me all angry as they try swerve around me to get to work.

Maybe I’m more worried than the average driver about trying to get around a cyclist or pedestrian. My mother’s friend buried her nineteen-year-old daughter two years ago. See, the woman’s college cycling team was riding down a state road when she and two other members of her team were hit by a mid-sized truck.

None of them survived.

Her father happened to be assisting the coach of the team, and he watched his daughter die. He hasn’t been the same.

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The truck driver was fine, and the accident did little more than scratch the paint on his vehicle. Maybe, because of this, I’ve over-exaggerated the danger in my mind. Maybe not.

I’m glad that people are outside and improving their fitness. What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to be on the road with a 4,000 pound car unless they were in one, too.

 

How about you? Do you ever cycle or walk in the street rather than the sidewalk? Why? Perhaps you’ve seen this phenomena and have more insight into it than I do, especially those walking in the street.