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“If you touch me I’ll punch you in the face” she screamed at me a half dozen times with her hand curled into a fist and cocked behind her right ear. Little did she realize that touching her was about the last thing I would want to do, for reasons beyond the prospect of being punched.

This went down Wednesday afternoon on the sidewalk on Bowes Street across from the construction going on at the corner of Louisa Street. I was walking on the sidewalk towards the downtown when this e-bike sped up the sidewalk assuming ownership of the right of way. I guess the person operating the e-bike assumed that if they were going fast enough I would jump out of the way. I didn’t, and that created the situation.

Forced to stop at the last moment, or hit me, the e-bike operator was pissed. It didn’t help that the first words out of my mouth was to tell them e-bikes should not be riding on the sidewalk.

What was surprising was who was operating this little red e-bike. It wasn’t some young person with an attitude. It was a woman who seemed to be about 50 years of age, no more than 5’2”, and 100 pounds of anger. And she was threatening to punch me out for making her stop. Actually she was threatening to punch me out if I touched her.

We all do things that ‘break the rules’ in one way or another. We have a choice as to how we respond when confronted with our transgression. Threatening someone with physical violence probably isn’t at the top of the list of suggested responses. It would have been simple enough for the person to explain why they were speeding up the sidewalk, or simply apologize, or simply accept the very short lecture and move on.

Neither of us probably learned a lesson with this confrontation. I’m sure she will continue to ride sidewalks fast enough to scare people out of her way. And I’m sure I’ll continue to not step out of the way and confront these folks. I’m able to move quickly, but there are others who might well get knocked over, and not bounce back up.

And in a short flashback to Hill Street Blues – “Let’s be careful out there”.