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How often do you get a wave of thanks?

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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.
View Poll Results: Do you ever see a 'thank you' wave from motorists when you're courteous?
Often... at least half the time
22.58%
Sometimes, maybe 10% of the time
35.48%
Maybe once or twice; I nearly fell off my bike in shock
22.58%
Absolutely never
19.35%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

How often do you get a wave of thanks?

Old 02-10-10, 10:52 PM
  #1  
hshearer
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How often do you get a wave of thanks?

Do motorists ever acknowledge, that, by moving to the right to let them through, you're doing them a courtesy? If so, what utopia do you live in?

So, right now I'm riding (slowly) on very narrow, ice-rutted, snow covered residential streets. I use a mirror, and stop pedalling and move over dozens of times a day into the even snowier and more rutted parking zone (when possible) to let motorists pass me; I can time it so that they usually don't have to slow down, and then I get right back into the road where travel is easier.

I don't think even one has ever given me a little wave to say 'thanks' for going to the trouble of making that manouver. I know it's petty to be irritated by this, and that they probably have no idea how challenging it is, but I certainly get those little waves all the time when I'm driving, for doing something much less difficult, like letting someone in. Is this just a symptom of cyclists being seen as 'guests' on the road, and an irritating guest who has overstayed his welcome, at that? I like to play nice, but I'm starting to think that by being nice, I'm just reinforcing the idea that cyclists have a duty to stay out of the way if they want to 'share the road'. A lot of drivers really don't seem to understand how sharing works!

Last edited by hshearer; 02-10-10 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 02-11-10, 12:59 AM
  #2  
Leo H.
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You're probably right to feel that way, but perhaps you can lower your blood pressure by thinking, 'they're too busy paying attention to the road than to wave at me'.
Again, not that you're wrong, but sometimes when you're the grown up, you're not recognized for being one.

Whether I'm in a traffic lane or in the bike lane, if someone comes to a driveway or side street and stops, or at an intersection stops and does not make that possible left turn in front of my path of travel, I give them a wave of acknowledgement. As a motorcyclist as well, I have subscribed to the 'show them you're a human' school of thought and possibly they get a small bump from my acknowledging their noticing me.

It may not work that way, but I like to put myself in that frame of mind, fwiw.

Leo H.
Sun Valley, NV
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Old 02-11-10, 08:00 AM
  #3  
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I get waves frequently (once or twice a ride, maybe?). For example if I'm riding a winding farm road where a car can't pass easily. When it's finally safe, I slide over, the car passes, I wave thanks for having patience, and the driver often waves with what I assume to be a "Have a nice day."

I meet impatient people, too, but only two or three truly dangerous encounters over four years and probably 40.000 km (I get that's 40Mm .

Denmark isn't Utopia, but it's closer than Saskatchewan, I'm guessing.
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Old 02-11-10, 08:15 AM
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Never on this forum.

-Kurt
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Old 02-11-10, 08:17 AM
  #5  
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I don't ride on roads that allow me to move right for other traffic.
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Old 02-11-10, 09:18 AM
  #6  
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Your situation is a bit unusual. As a driver, I would admire your skill in veering right through the rutted snow but would want both hands on the wheel to cope with the potential for you suddenly moving left again.
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Old 02-11-10, 10:05 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by hshearer View Post
Do motorists ever acknowledge, that, by moving to the right to let them through, you're doing them a courtesy? If so, what utopia do you live in?
By no means do I live in a biking utopia. Rather, most folks around here are intensely annoyed by bicyclists; and I'm not making this up. I hear it all the time.
I live in a rural county north of St. Louis. I do not know of any other local "cyclists." Many roadies from St. Louis and beyond ride through here on weekends in the good weather.
People know and tolerate me. I am very careful to be courteous. There's not much traffic so it's not that difficult for me to get out of the way of cars and trucks. I go out of my way to do that. On occasion I'll take the lane, but for the most part I try to act like a piece of slow moving farm machinery. That is, I use the road, but when it is safe to do so I try to get out of people's way instead of "asserting my rights"clogging up traffic. People are friendly to me and they always ask me about my bicycle riding. I also hear a lot of *****ing about the roadies who come through and get in peoples' way.
So yes, I get friendly waves from about 75% of the vehicles I see.
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Old 02-11-10, 10:19 AM
  #8  
JordanD
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
By no means do I live in a biking utopia. Rather, most folks around here are intensely annoyed by bicyclists; and I'm not making this up. I hear it all the time.
I live in a rural county north of St. Louis. I do not know of any other local "cyclists." Many roadies from St. Louis and beyond ride through here on weekends in the good weather.
People know and tolerate me. I am very careful to be courteous. There's not much traffic so it's not that difficult for me to get out of the way of cars and trucks. I go out of my way to do that. On occasion I'll take the lane, but for the most part I try to act like a piece of slow moving farm machinery. That is, I use the road, but when it is safe to do so I try to get out of people's way instead of "asserting my rights"clogging up traffic. People are friendly to me and they always ask me about my bicycle riding. I also hear a lot of *****ing about the roadies who come through and get in peoples' way.
So yes, I get friendly waves from about 75% of the vehicles I see.
I grew up in Edwardsville and the drivers were pretty friendly, but I feel like once the rails to trails program really took off things got even friendlier. I think it got more drivers out riding on the weekend and better appreciating cyclists they see during the week.
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Old 02-11-10, 11:59 AM
  #9  
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About once a year... and every time it happens I am braced for some rant/rave, and am shocked by the positive response instead. It does happen though.

And on rare occasion, I get full wonderful co-operation from the motorists around me. (on rare occasion, when driving, I have actually seen all the motorists changing lanes actually use turn signals too... )

But honestly, most of the time it is something of a pain, having to deal with clueless motorists who feel my place is on the sidewalk or "other." The thing is, I think most folks just treat us with indifference... but all it takes is one motorist a day with a bad or clueless attitude... and your life is in danger or you are seriously dissed. Not hardly a positive thing.
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Old 02-11-10, 12:04 PM
  #10  
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Pedleur, and Leo H, I also wave at people to say 'thanks for being a good driver', after they handle an intersection well, patiently wait for a safe time to pass with extra space, or see me when they're backing out of a driveway. I'm glad to hear others do the same. I think anything that helps make a positive connection between motorists and cyclists is helpful. Of course, I'm probably often waving thanks to another cyclist who happens to be driving! In a small-ish city like this (200,000 people) where I regularly use the same routes at the same times of the day, there's a chance my little P.R. contributions will actually make a difference, at least in my area. Maybe I'll step it up a notch and wave at the average driver who passes me when I pull over, too, just to say 'hey, don't mention it'... they can take or leave the sarcasm.

gcottay... interesting theory about wanting both hands on the wheel; however, a person could drive straight down the street hands-free, and even take some mild curves without steering. The iceruts make cars act like they're on rails!

Last edited by hshearer; 02-11-10 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 02-11-10, 10:56 PM
  #11  
Leo H.
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hshearer (from SCTV, right?), anyway, I'm glad to read there are others who have a similar mindset that I find myself in. I agree with you that I'm hopefully projecting positive vibes into drivers surrounding me, but even if I'm not, I like to think that at least what I'm doing is putting and keeping myself in that positive frame of mind.
For me, I can easily not be that way, so it's good practice

Leo H.
Sun Valley, NV
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Old 02-12-10, 11:36 AM
  #12  
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In the last three years, I can remember being waved at twice, once by my mailman and once by my neighbor. Several one-finger salutes, though.
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Old 02-15-10, 04:27 PM
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I've often been recognized and given waves of thanks while out on a ride. These are at times when others understand what I'm doing as a bicyclist and why I'm doing it. Some of the people who have given me these waves have been police officers of towns, counties, and states I've ridden in.

Last edited by powerhouse; 02-15-10 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 02-15-10, 06:45 PM
  #14  
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My own experience is that I see many more waves, nods and smiles than negative reactions. Perhaps I just focus on or remember the positives more than the negatives or possibly I ride more courteously than others. I am more polite because that is my natural personality and because I have a deep desire to end my ride in as good physical condition (or better) as when I started. Arguing with cars when you are on a bike does not make good sense.
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Old 02-15-10, 06:50 PM
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Very rarely, but I also rarely get negative feedback as well. I guess I'm just not that noticeable!
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Old 02-16-10, 07:13 AM
  #16  
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I consider it to be high praise for my riding when a car DOESN'T honk, or the driver holler, as they SAFELY pass me on the road! To actually expect interaction around here is about as realistic as getting a visit from Peter Pan -- self-important, arrogant fools don't 'condescend' to relate to people who live their lives differently. (And we ALL know that bike commuters live a different lifestyle!)
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Old 02-17-10, 10:46 AM
  #17  
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I've received kindness only from bus drivers when I'm courteous to them. Everyone else doesn't give a damn, except for this one lady that let me draft her at 25 for a couple miles
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