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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Geezer War on Bayshore

Proper etiquette between walkers and bikers on the Bayshore Boulevard sidewalk can be unclear. I’ve walked and ridden my bicycle along this scenic route many times, so I understand the view from both sides.

Bikers complain that walkers never look around to see if anybody is coming up behind them and that they aren’t cognizant of which side of the sidewalk on which they are walking. Some walkers observe the right-hand side of the road rule, others stick to the water side — no matter which direction they are walking — while others cruise the middle of the sidewalk.

Tampa_Bayshore_Blvd_looking_north01 Bayshore Boulevard

Meanwhile, the walkers complain that the bikers are too busy worrying about getting where they’re going to be concerned about clipping a walker in the process. And… They complain that bikers ought to stay in the biking lanes. Note: I’m daring enough to ride north in the bike lane — when I feel lucky — and I never travel south since there are too many street interruptions. One street interruption combined with a Range Rover driver engaged in a deep phone conversation can prove hazardous to one’s health.

All of the above-mentioned complaints are legitimate and can cause tempers to flare, which I can attest to from my experience last week during a morning bike ride along the mostly empty Bayshore sidewalk.

On my return route, a man, who appeared to be about my age, began to walk toward the sidewalk to begin his walk going in the same direction as me. The problem came when he walked in front of me without looking to see if any traffic was heading his direction. Had he done so, he would have seen me coming.

I whistled loudly while slamming on the brakes and somehow managed to miss slamming into him. A problem arose when he copped an attitude about how close we came to having a collision.

I took exception to that attitude and next thing I knew, we were jaw to jaw in a geezer war on Bayshore. I called him some names and he returned fire before we both huffed off.

Happily, something inside of me clicked in the opposite direction. So I turned back toward him and told him I didn’t feel good about our encounter. He quickly told me the same. I apologized, he apologized, we laughed about getting mad then parted ways. No harm, no foul.

The episode had not been my proudest moment, but that’s how it goes when geezers throw down. Consider this a cautionary tale to anybody who cuts me off in the Publix aisles.

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