By William VanDerKloot on Thursday, August 28th, 2014 in Uncategorized. No Comments

The Atlanta BeltLine is a rails-to-trails project that is planned to form a 22-mile loop of bike/running trail and green space around the city of Atlanta.  A few miles are already completed, and the results have been transformative.  I use the BeltLine almost every day, and I can attest to its popularity and its positive impact on the connected neighborhoods.

A minor annoyance to being a daily BeltLine user is that I run into – or rather avoid running into – a fair number of people whose brains are not fully engaged. While they are in the minority, they have an outsized effect on others.  For simplicity’s sake, let’s refer to them as Dummies.

I have identified six species of BeltLine Dummies listed below, and I offer them this advice:

1. The Wrong Way Dummy – For those who pride themselves by going ‘against the grain,’ or ‘taking the road less traveled,’ or in simple terms those Dummies who are in the wrong lane, here is some advice:

You’re forgiven if you just got off a plane from the UK (or Australian, New Zealand, Japan…), for all others, please stay on the right except to pass.  Perhaps this makes it easier — pretend you are driving a car, and only move out into the ‘passing lane’ when you need to pass another person.  Otherwise stay on the right.

Got that?  Stay to your right.

Only a Dummy would do otherwise.

2.  The World is my sound cloud Dummy – If I can hear the music from your ear buds 20 feet away, you cannot hear anything around you, including verbal warnings.  If you immerse yourself in audio nirvana to the exclusion of all else, here is some advice:

At the risk of sounding repetitive, stay to the right.

Do not wander aimlessly in a random pattern.  Do not add texting to your repertoire, and please do not stop or make quick moves without looking around.

Only a Dummy would do otherwise.

3. The Let’s park our strollers and compare babies Dummies – If you stop your double-wide stroller in the center of the BeltLine to chat with your neighbor while comparing babies, here is some advice:

Move off the path.  Stroll through the park.  Sit at Starbucks or Dancing Goats.

Better yet, forget the latte and start running with your stroller and, of course, stay to the right.

Only a Dummy would do otherwise.

4.  The My little dog likes to wander Dummy – If you have a dog (usually a small yappy dog) on a 20 ft leash, here is some advice:

No one thinks your dog is cute if it causes an accident, so please keep it close to you and stay to the right.   Do not extend the leash more than a few feet, and never let the leash extend across the path.  A runner or a cyclist may not be able to see the cord, and an accident could ensue.

Better yet, dump the 20 ft. leash and buy a shorter one.

Only a Dummy would do otherwise.

5.  The I’m a cool hipster on a bike Dummy – If you think you’re cool when you speed in and out of crowds on your bike, think again.  And if you also think it’s not cool to give a verbal warning when you approach people, then here is some advice:

You’re not cool. When the path is crowded, like on weekends, ride your bike with caution, or somewhere else.  You could also help everyone by announcing yourself, for example, “passing on your left.”

You might feel that announcing yourself and riding at a slower speed is as un-cool as wearing a helmet, but it could prevent you from hitting a child.  Which would be very un-cool.

Ride with caution.  Announce yourself.  Stay to the right.

Only a Dummy would do otherwise.

6.  The rules don’t apply because we’re in a group Dummies – If you think you can monopolize the entire path because you are walking as a group, here is some advice:

Walk in pairs.  Don’t wander into the other lane and block traffic.  And oh yes, stay to the right.

There is a un-wisdom of crowds that happens when some people use a public space.  They try to monopolize it.  Don’t succumb to this.  Bad behavior negatively affects others.  Believe it or not, the world does not revolve around you.

Don’t impede the movement of others and stay to the right.

Only a Dummy would do otherwise.

If any of the above describes your behavior, think again before you repeat it.  Until the city posts signs on the BeltLine that say NO DUMMIES ALLOWED, then I ask you to heed this advice.

Only a Dummy would do otherwise.


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