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-   -   What do you do to improve relations? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1166946)

bakerjw 02-22-19 06:40 AM

What do you do to improve relations?
 
I know that we all gripe about the motorists that buzz us and do other stupid things putting us at risk but what do we do to improve relations with motorists?
Myself, I ride solo 99% of the time unless it is with my wife on one of our tandems but I try to connect with motorists and dogs too for that matter.

I can tell when a motorist is apprehensive about passing. You know, they hang back, especially in curvy areas or on hills. If the road is clear I wave them around and slow down if needed while giving them a wave and thumbs up. If a car passes and gives me plenty of room, I always wave and give a thumbs up.

A few days ago, I misjudged the weather and got caught in a deluge. In an stretch where I can normally maintain the speed limit I had to hold back as the rain was stinging which caused a handful of cars to catch up to me. I pulled over into a wide spot to let them by and waved as they went through. I got a few waves and smiles back.

We can often be at fault too. Two years ago on a LBS ride, the group was going through a small town where the road is very wide with a good clean shoulder. Most of the pack was off to the far right of the lane or on the shoulder but the shop owner and another cyclist were riding side by side taking the lane and backing traffic up during commute time. From behind, me and a friend could see the drivers getting angry. Pissed off angry. That was my last shop ride.

As for dogs, I always talk to dogs. They get confused by bikes but if the bike makes human sounds, in time it seems to click that it is not an incarnation of satan. We have some dogs on our route that just love to run alongside. Now if a dog is aggressive, I have speed advantage, and the owner is out yelling at their dog to come back, I will bare my teeth, growl, and maintain a pace sufficient to let the dog think that it can still catch me and train it up the road as far as possible. I know, that's not right.

Am I the only one who tries to also interact with drivers in a positive manner?
FWIW. I also do the same when running. A driver giving me plenty of room and is courteous gets a smile, wave and thumbs up.

Lemond1985 02-22-19 07:18 AM

Number one thing for me is avoiding group rides where participants blatantly run red lights and stop signs in an entitled manner, and use their numbers to militantly block traffic and antagonize drivers, most of whom are just trying to get to and from work, school, or shopping. Which is most group rides containing more than 10 or so riders, with very large paid organized group rides being the very worst offenders.

Deal4Fuji 02-22-19 07:24 AM

I usually do the hand wave of thanks to drivers waiting to pass from behind on a 2 lane road or waiting at a stop sign for myself or especially on a group ride. I do try my best to have positive reactions with motorists. I seldom look to see the reaction to my tip of the hand, I just want them to know I/we appreciate their observance of our right to the road.

rayooo 02-22-19 07:28 AM

I was on a ride last fall (Covered Bridge ride in PA) Narrow roads to say the least. On more than one occasion, several cyclists simply refused to move from side by side and allow the car(s) to pass. The horns started blaring....
So, IMHO both groups (cyclists and cars) can and often are at fault.

MoAlpha 02-22-19 08:13 AM

I am polite, respectful, and friendly until ****ed with.

GailT 02-22-19 08:51 AM

This is pretty cool - a bicycle friendly driver course (for both drivers and cyclists).

Due to popular demand and positive feedback after the first session, Bicycle Colorado, Cyclists 4 Community and Boulder County Transportation are holding another free class for cyclists and drivers of all ages and abilities aimed at informing both groups how they can safely coexist on the road.

AlmostTrick 02-22-19 09:16 AM

I communicate with lane position, hand signals and look backs... holding drivers back as I approach blind curves, hill tops, or other pinch points. Move right to facilitate or encourage passing when safe to do so. Give friendly waves as they pass safely. Stop at signs and lights when other road users are in the area. Use the appropriate lane and lane position at intersections so there's less ambiguity for all.

Maelochs 02-22-19 01:12 PM

i tell good drivers they will be blessed by the Pope of Boyleston Avenue.

JoeyBike 02-22-19 03:57 PM


Originally Posted by bakerjw (Post 20806919)
I know that we all gripe about the motorists that buzz us and do other stupid things putting us at risk but what do we do to improve relations with motorists?

I grant right-of-way to motorists 100% of the time. I do my very best to stay out of their way the rest of the time.

BTW...if I am "out of their way" they can not possible hit me. :)

CliffordK 02-22-19 04:35 PM

I ride to the right most of the time, and let drivers choose when to pass. The primary exception is a narrow bridge that is problematic near my house. If I know a car is coming behind me, and there are cars ahead, I'll stick a hand out "STOP" when crossing, then wave traffic on once it is clear.

I frequently have cars yield when they probably didn't need to, and I'll just watch them and go.

squirtdad 02-22-19 06:10 PM

At stops on the commute I move as far left as I can and if there is room wave drivers doing right on red by......mostly convincing them there is plenty of room to go without hitting me (despite my clyde size :) )

CliffordK 02-22-19 06:27 PM

Oh, and don't forget triggered left on red. :eek:

If a car comes up behind me, I'll usually scoot forward, then wave at the car to come forward and point to a spot behind my rear tire.

When a car stops 30 feet back, it can be a long wait. :eek:

Gresp15C 02-22-19 07:19 PM

I keep from congesting the road with my car, and I free up a parking space. I also bring "quality of life" to my city, according to all of the magazines. ;)

mcours2006 02-22-19 08:47 PM

I hope when I move the left of centre on a red light, right-turning vehicle drivers realize that I'm doing this to let them through and not because I'm a dick hogging the lane...but alas I fear that's what some of them probably are thinking. You can't win.

Also, I hope when I am taking the lane on a narrow section of the road, like where the centre median the curb pinches in, they realize that I'm doing it for my safety because I don't want them squeezing me to the curb. And if they don't recognize this, then perhaps they will when I move over to the right after I've passed the pinch point they will...but again, I fear most of them probably think that I'm being a dick.

You can't fix stupid.

Jim from Boston 02-22-19 10:57 PM

What do you do to improve relations?

Originally Posted by Maelochs (Post 20807464)
i tell good drivers they will be blessed by the Pope of Boyleston Avenue.

I myself preach from Boylston Street* in Boston and I have posted on a few threads:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston (Post 20122001)
Personally, I find any discussions about cycling with motorists futile, especially those exchanged while en route, often with hostility. When off the bike, e.g. at work they are usually pleasant, but vacuous, for example when I’m called a saint.

When they complain, it’s often about cyclists riding two or more abreast, no lights, ninjas, etc…valid complaints IMO.


The most antagonistic remarks though that I try to assuage are taunts about what it would do to the driver if they hit me, most often spoken on the Winter when streets are icy or narrowed by snowbanks…


Originally Posted by Jim from Boston (Post 19123165)
How to get the message out? I find threads about what to say to a driver futile, since these are brief, often emotion laden encounters, and often the cyclist makes a bad impression

I have in the past posted about giving “bicyclist curses,” and “bicyclist blessings”; about 5 blessings a day, and about 3 curses a week.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston (Post 18855683)
I have those exact thoughts whenever I am passed, even when not tooclose by motorist who does not slow down or move over slightly, just as an indication that they notice me.

I always think those self-absorbed cagers are only restrained by the thought of scratching their cars, or the hassle of filing police reports.

My only satisfactory retribution is to give them my previously-described Bicyclist Curse. (I repeatedly jab my pointed right index finger in their direction, while shouting an accusatory, ”You, you, you…”). The possibility of metaphysical retribution is more satisfying than the middle finger. :notamused:

I do also bestow Bicyclist Blessings on drivers who show even a modicum of respect, with a wave of the hand. ….


So, @Maelochs, tell the bad drivers, woe unto them, for they shall be cursed by the Pope of Boylston Street. :notamused:


*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boylston_Street

avole 02-23-19 07:35 AM

For a brief, wonderful moment I thought you meant our nearest and dearest, to which my answer was going to be send the bright ones to finishing school, and give the others a puppy.

Paul Barnard 02-23-19 05:12 PM

No matter what I am driving or riding, I have a cooperative disposition. If I am in my car, on a motorcycle or on my bicycle I'll always try to help someone get around me. I let people out in traffic. I use hand signals when I think they will help. When folks do courteous things, I wave and smile. If I am riding the bike path I always slow when I pass people. I tell kids on bike that their bikes are cool or I like their helmets. I tell pedestrians to enjoy their walk. I say hello to dogs. Being polite and cooperative is easy. It makes the world a better place. I never assert my rights as a cyclist for the sole sake of asserting my rights. Everything I do has self-preservation as a primary goal. I am going to do that as cooperatively as possible.

tyrion 02-23-19 05:17 PM


Originally Posted by bakerjw (Post 20806919)
Am I the only one who tries to also interact with drivers in a positive manner?
FWIW. I also do the same when running. A driver giving me plenty of room and is courteous gets a smile, wave and thumbs up.

Heck yeah. On neighborhood streets, 9 times out of 10 car drivers will relinquish right of way to me and let be roll through stop signs. Gotta give them a thank you for that.

AlmostTrick 02-23-19 09:13 PM


Originally Posted by Gresp15C (Post 20807987)
I keep from congesting the road with my car, and I free up a parking space. I also bring "quality of life" to my city, according to all of the magazines. ;)

:thumb: Winner!

Paul Barnard 02-24-19 09:07 AM


Originally Posted by tyrion (Post 20809075)
Heck yeah. On neighborhood streets, 9 times out of 10 car drivers will relinquish right of way to me and let be roll through stop signs. Gotta give them a thank you for that.

I will not let them do that for me. I think it is best when we wait our turn.

Digital_Cowboy 02-28-19 08:28 AM


Originally Posted by bakerjw (Post 20806919)
I know that we all gripe about the motorists that buzz us and do other stupid things putting us at risk but what do we do to improve relations with motorists?
Myself, I ride solo 99% of the time unless it is with my wife on one of our tandems but I try to connect with motorists and dogs too for that matter.

I can tell when a motorist is apprehensive about passing. You know, they hang back, especially in curvy areas or on hills. If the road is clear I wave them around and slow down if needed while giving them a wave and thumbs up. If a car passes and gives me plenty of room, I always wave and give a thumbs up.

A few days ago, I misjudged the weather and got caught in a deluge. In an stretch where I can normally maintain the speed limit I had to hold back as the rain was stinging which caused a handful of cars to catch up to me. I pulled over into a wide spot to let them by and waved as they went through. I got a few waves and smiles back.

We can often be at fault too. Two years ago on a LBS ride, the group was going through a small town where the road is very wide with a good clean shoulder. Most of the pack was off to the far right of the lane or on the shoulder but the shop owner and another cyclist were riding side by side taking the lane and backing traffic up during commute time. From behind, me and a friend could see the drivers getting angry. Pissed off angry. That was my last shop ride.

As for dogs, I always talk to dogs. They get confused by bikes but if the bike makes human sounds, in time it seems to click that it is not an incarnation of satan. We have some dogs on our route that just love to run alongside. Now if a dog is aggressive, I have speed advantage, and the owner is out yelling at their dog to come back, I will bare my teeth, growl, and maintain a pace sufficient to let the dog think that it can still catch me and train it up the road as far as possible. I know, that's not right.

Am I the only one who tries to also interact with drivers in a positive manner?
FWIW. I also do the same when running. A driver giving me plenty of room and is courteous gets a smile, wave and thumbs up.

Personally when I am on the road I behave in a predictable manner. I signal when I am changing lanes, or making a turn or slowing/stopping, unless I need to keep both hands on the handlebars. I do NOT run red lights or stop signs, I do NOT ride against traffic, I do NOT ride at night without lights. I avoid group rides where the group or the leaders are prone to run red lights/stop signs.

If I am on a road and I notice that several cars have stacked up behind me and I can safely do so, I will pull over, preferring a parking lot, or side street and allow said traffic to pass me.

Unlike an individual that I know in a couple of Facebook forums, I do not "acknowledge" motorists behind me. As it is their responsibility to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of them.

Digital_Cowboy 02-28-19 08:33 AM


Originally Posted by CliffordK (Post 20807937)
Oh, and don't forget triggered left on red. :eek:

If a car comes up behind me, I'll usually scoot forward, then wave at the car to come forward and point to a spot behind my rear tire.

When a car stops 30 feet back, it can be a long wait. :eek:

Agreed, I've lost track of the number of times that while sitting at an induction loop controlled intersection that I've had to wave motorists to move forward so that the light will change for us. The other week it was a "golf cart" that was behind me that I had to wave forward.

greatscott 03-09-19 03:29 PM

I follow the rules of the road just as cars do, that's how we can all improve our relations with motorists.

Digital_Cowboy 03-09-19 06:01 PM


Originally Posted by greatscott (Post 20830470)
i follow the rules of the road just as cars do, that's how we can all improve our relations with motorists.

+100

mconlonx 03-12-19 07:52 AM

Off-bike, I don't engage in heated us v. them discussions, and try instead to figure out ways to instill empathy in motorists who complain about cyclists.


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