There was an interesting letter in yesterday's Idaho Statesman.
(Click here to link to the web version.)
Dear driver: Don't do us any favors
Dear driver, I'm that cyclist you hate. Do you think you might consider obeying traffic laws once in awhile? When it's your right-of-way, but you stop in the middle of the road and motion for me to go, you're not doing me a favor. You're putting me at risk and ticking off the drivers behind you. Predictable road behavior — i.e. obeying the proper flow of traffic — protects both of us. You can rest assured that I'm paying far more attention on the road than you are — that's how I survive daily, year-round cycling. If you're going to second-guess someone, make it the idiot behind you that's thinking more about whether he should have gotten soy milk in his mocha than what's happening outside his metal cage.
Daniel Foster, Boise
Mr. Foster makes a good point... and does a good job of explaining one of my pet peeves.
I know the "helpful" motorist is only trying to be helpful, so I'll usually wave politely when one of 'em treats me like a pathetic incompetent... who depends on the kindness of strangers-in-cars. But as I wave, I'm almost always mumbling to myself.
Most likely, the "helpful" motorist has had close encounters with clueless idiots on bikes - riding against traffic, zig-zagging, ignoring not only traffic laws, but the laws of physics and common sense. So I don't feel like I should be too harsh on 'em.
Ideally, bicycling on the roadway is a well-choreographed ballet. I like to watch up the road as far as I can, so as to be aware of potential hazards and plan my adjustments in direction and velocity. Like Mr. Foster says... "predictable" road behavior from all parties is key, and if those friendly motorists are aware of my presence, and obey the traffic laws and drive predictably... that's all I ask.