Sunshine was glorying in the return of outdoor running weather in Minnesota after a long hard winter (lots of posts about indoor tracks) and posting a pleasing picture of a bird in the wild (check this one out in Cindy's backyard) when she raised the subject of bicyclists who don't signal. This is reminiscent of the runners wearing headphones debate, endless, subtly acrimonious and without resolution (Safe within my womb, I touch no one, And no one touches me).
She said that in the Twin Cities, most riders call out as they approach although a few do not. Charlie commented that "[m]any is the time my heart has picked up when a bicycle passes me swiftly without warning." Oh yeah. This to me is a more interesting debate than the silly headphone controversy (I've built walls, A fortress deep and mighty, That none may penetrate).
(I am a Rock, I am an Island.)
In the DC area on its many trails, it seems to me that most bicyclists race by without an On Your Left warning, while a few call out or ring a bell. (How hard is it to ring a bell?)
I try to say Thank You to the ones who signal, to encourage the practice and also because I truly appreciate knowing what is going on around me. Being run into by a bicyclist is a danger that I assess as I run, like watching out for potholes, avoiding free-ranging dogs and keeping aware through my senses of traffic around me (cars are noisy, bicycles are quiet and can be silent).
I have had a biker friend earnestly tell me that bicyclists think it is annoying to runners for them to constantly call out so they don't. Bicyclists just don't know, really, what it is like to be startled by a metal kite flashing by suddenly within a foot or two at 28 MPH with 150 pounds atop it providing force. (Bicyclists riding on Haines Point earlier this month. Runners like to watch out very carefully for swift and powerful moving forces like these.)
Being blindsided by a bicycle would be catastrophic. Time off from running could be the best outcome. Would you take a dare, even for a lot of money, and let a catapult sling a 150 pound bag of sand into your back at 28 MPH? It could kill you.
Bicyclists approaching from behind who don't sing out are putting the runner's protection wholly within their own hands. They are taking the runner out of the overall safety equation. They are allowing the possibility of the runner blindly committing some inadvertent mis-step, and leaving only themselves with the ability to exercise any control over the situation. This is arrogance, in my opinion.