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Old 03-14-17, 08:26 AM   #1
_ForceD_
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Over-polite motorists and the dangers they present to bicyclists

I've had just about enough of over-polite motorists. I'm talking about drivers who will stop, when they have the right of way to let a cyclist (me) turn or cross a road. But when the cyclist (me) waves them on they stand their ground, oblivious to the rest of the traffic conditions and insist you go ahead of them. I often feel like their yield to me would put me in danger. One of my bicycling mantras is "I'm safer when I'm behind the car."

A couple of the situations that are particularly frustrating:

- I'm turning (left or right) from a side street onto a more major 2-lane thoroughfare. There's no stop sign for cars on the main thoroughfare. But, an approaching car that is going the same direction that I'll be going stops to let me make the turn. So I make the turn an then the motorist gets pissed because he can't get around me due to oncoming traffic, etc.

- I'm turning into, or crossing a 4-lane or a 2-lane with a turn lane in the middle. Car stops to let me make my maneuver. But, a second approaching car only sees the car stopped in front of him, and not me on the bike. So he swerves to go around the stopped car and then nearly collides with me on the bike.

I've gotten to where I just put my feet down and shake my head to indicate that I'm not going. These are just a couple of examples of encounters I have just about every time I ride. It could be that the drivers here in Rhode Island are just generally over-polite. I experience the same things from other drivers when I'm driving.

Dan

Last edited by cb400bill; 03-14-17 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 03-14-17, 08:40 AM   #2
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So, they don't just do it to me cause I look old and decrepit?
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Old 03-14-17, 08:45 AM   #3
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BTW...This probably belongs in the A&S forum, where it would grow longer legs.
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Old 03-14-17, 08:46 AM   #4
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I get it a lot at the MUP crossings. They seem oblivious that there are two lanes of traffic in each direction, with an island in the middle, if only one lane stops (them) it really does me no good. Same with when I am trying to time a crossing through that island, and they choose to stop instead of continuing at their current speed, taking far more time and forcing me to stop and dismount instead of cruising behind them.

That said, I find it really hard to be mad at anyone showing cyclists courtesy. I just smile and wave!
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Old 03-14-17, 08:47 AM   #5
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Old 03-14-17, 09:26 AM   #6
AlmostTrick
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I suppose we were about due for one of these threads.
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Old 03-14-17, 09:37 AM   #7
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As if the world does not have enough to complain about. But I find minor irritation but remind myself they are trying to do the right thing and be nice and considerate. Either that or lulling you into a state of inattentiveness so they than run you over without any legal ramifications whatsoever.
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Old 03-14-17, 09:41 AM   #8
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People are dumb, doubly so when they're trying to help someone engaged in an activity they themselves do no participate in.
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Old 03-14-17, 09:43 AM   #9
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The "polite" drivers (some of them) are stopping because they don't expect you to stop. They aren't being polite; they are driving defensively.
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Old 03-14-17, 10:04 AM   #10
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Not a problem in suburb of NOLA
But I did run into this in Flagstaff AZ- a very good bicycle city/town(sorta college tourist town)
I was clmbing a hill near our motel-
grinding away like a 55 yo flatlander-SLOW
Well I was 40 feet short of an apt. complex exit/entrance
40 feet probably 5 seconds
a car was in the exit road-and he just sat there waiting for me to pass
No kidding I thought he was waiting going to steal my bike or center punch me-
really it barely crossed my mind that he was waiting to let me pass-
there was plenty of time to pull out-
but he waited
yeah I thought I was going to be robbed or run over
In NOLA metro area-now-it would probably mean he/she was texting
OR was going to run me over-or steal my bike

Oh I have had another problem-3 way stop signs
I arrive second-don't have right of way
But I'm making a left
well driver in front of me-who had right of way
is PROBABLY indicating to me-waving etc-GO FIRST
But because of the DARKLY tinted windshield-I can't really tell what he/she is indicating
so I end up pointing for THEM to go
yeah a comedy-gesturing etc
they probably can't tell what I have in mind either(You go or I'm going-same gesture to my left)

So yeah polite drivers-occasionally a problem-but a good problem
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Old 03-14-17, 10:04 AM   #11
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I feel you. I get annoyed at these things too. It's worse when I'm on foot and people stop and forfeit their right of way. It's more dangerous when they do that in my opinion.
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Old 03-14-17, 10:19 AM   #12
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It's such a drag when people see you and try to be polite. It's much more fun when they are texting or on the phone and turning into you when you have the right of way
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Old 03-14-17, 10:25 AM   #13
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.... lulling you into a state of inattentiveness so they than run you over without any legal ramifications whatsoever.
That's it. They work in teams ... one car stops to let you go, while the other lurks just behind, ready to slam you when you commit to the turn.

They might Pretend to be nice ....

Those dang anti-bicycle extremists.
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Old 03-14-17, 10:29 AM   #14
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I will NOT take out of turn right of way. I have in the past completely dismounted and stood next to my bike to emphasize the point. Usually just putting both feet on the ground and pointing at my stop sign will do the job but some people are pretty insistent on doing the wrong thing.

I think at least two BikeForum members have been seriously injured because of getting out of turn right of way yields by "nice" motorists.
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Old 03-14-17, 10:45 AM   #15
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It's all dependent on the circumstances. If accepting their "favor" will put me in danger, I shake my head and wave them on. That usually is enough. I've twice had to dismount and walk my bike out of the street to get them to go on their way.
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Old 03-14-17, 10:59 AM   #16
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Just as bad as at pedestrian crossings, where a driver (by law) will stop for a pedestrian who has stepped onto the crossing area, only to have another driver blow past without consideration and sometimes just barely missing the pedestrian.

Unfortunately the courteous and the clueless are a deadly combination for cyclists and pedestrians alike. As my general rule I will decline their courtesy and just wave them on and wait for them to pass. Nowadays I'm rarely in such a rush that an extra minute here or there will be worth the danger.
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Old 03-14-17, 11:24 AM   #17
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Those motorists do indeed pose a danger to us riders. What can and often does happen is somebody impatient behind those drivers pulls out and around the driver and we may not see that car.

When those situations present themselves to me I stand my ground and do not move. Sometimes it feels like a stand-off but I motion the car to keep going and if they don't I stay put.
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Old 03-14-17, 11:35 AM   #18
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I think at least two BikeForum members have been seriously injured because of getting out of turn right of way yields by "nice" motorists.
When I was occasionally driving commercial vehicles, we were told to put it in park and get out if necessary to wait out the people that will stop when you have a stop sign and they don't. Some were using it as an insurance scam; they stop when they don't have to and wave the guy with the stop sign across, then as soon as he starts to go, ram him. Since he had the stop sign, it goes down as his fault. Company insurance isn't willing to fight unless there's a dash cam with good enough quality and a wide enough angle to clearly show them waving him across.
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Old 03-14-17, 11:40 AM   #19
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It's such a drag when people see you and try to be polite. It's much more fun when they are texting or on the phone and turning into you when you have the right of way
its because theyre insecure and doubt who has priority, not because theyre gents
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Old 03-14-17, 12:02 PM   #20
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One of the traits of the overly-polite driver are the ones who insist on moving completely into the opposite lane to pass a cyclist, even when the cyclist is safely in a wide, marked bike lane. I've seen them do this even when there is an oncoming car approaching. But the dumbest pass was when I was in a bike lane along a 2-lane road, (which had marked bikes lanes on both sides), and the motorist went totally across the centerline...in the process, buzzing the cyclist in the bike lane coming from the opposite direction.
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Old 03-14-17, 12:54 PM   #21
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I see what the OP is saying, but I'm not going to have any issue with a driver trying to be courteous to a cyclist, even if the driver doesn't realize that other drivers aren't paying attention. If on the rare occasion someone stops for me on a multi lane road where other cars aren't stopping, I smile and wave them on with a "thank you". Most of the time they understand and move on their way.

Seems like just 10-15 years ago no one ever stopped for me, or gave me any right of way. So when I see a driver yielding to me or another cyclist, I'm grateful.
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Old 03-14-17, 12:56 PM   #22
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Well-intentioned but endangering others...this extends to other areas of life as well.
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Old 03-14-17, 01:02 PM   #23
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I've had just about enough of over-polite motorists...

It could be that the drivers here in Rhode Island are just generally over-polite. I experience the same things from other drivers when I'm driving.
Dan
I hear you. This is a major risk to cyclists. When I'm on my bike, and a driver stops for me for no apparent reason, I worry that his vehicle will get rear-ended, and then get pushed into me, or a car coming from behind will try and pass either on the left or the right (the parking lane), and then take me out.

Or that I'll get rear-ended by a driver or cyclist (this has happened to me), because they assume I've been given the right of way, and I'll just go.

Perhaps I'm too paranoid, but another scenario is that the driver has stopped because he's taking a phone call, and never saw me at all. Or the even more paranoid assumption that the driver has stopped to bait me into crossing, with the real intention of taking out a cyclist under a no-fault scenario.

Over-polite? Never heard that before. In my metro area, a high percentage of the drivers are very inexperienced, as they hail from lands where driving is impractical due to astronomical costs and impenetrable traffic gridlock. Or drivers that are exceedingly careful, as one contact with any authorities will end up with them being deported..
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Old 03-14-17, 01:14 PM   #24
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This is definitely a sore point of mine, just because it's so frustrating. I fully appreciate their good intentions, but they also have an obligation to fully assess the situation. It's a lot like driving too slow for road conditions, they can cause way more problems than they avoid. And you can't just ignore them, or the other traffic, that can get you killed. ☹
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Old 03-14-17, 01:43 PM   #25
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As a cyclist it is very frustrating. As noted, it is sometimes dangerous, other times just inconvenient either to the rider or other cars.

As a driver, I sympathize. Too many people on bikes ride unpredictably. Drivers see (or don't see) salmons, ninja salmons, riders bouncing between the sidewalk and street, entering intersections without looking, etc. Traffic works best when the ROE are understood and generally followed by all. If a car has the ROW, the rider should yield and vice versa.

That said, I don't think anything is going to change. Too many ignorant and inexperienced riders (not really cyclists), and too many experienced cyclists who do what they want regardless.
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