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  1. #1
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    A little courtesy on the road can go a long way

    Just something to do at an intersection where cars turn right is to just pull up far enough so that the cars can still turn right. I can't tell you how many times I've seen cyclists just sitting there blocking those cars turning right for no reason. You're safety isn't in question, and doing something small like this helps the car/cycling relationship. Anyone else have something small that others might over look?

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Four way stop signs. Whenever a car and bike get to it at about the same time there is confusion. Whenever the car lets me go through first I just lift my hand off the bar to wave and say thanks. More often than not this is happening when in a technical sense they had the right of way, but failed to take it.

    Saying thanks turns this from a potential 'Damn Biker" to something where I often get waves back and smiles.

  3. #3
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    I'm no master urban cyclist, but here are some of things I've found myself doing:

    I try to make eye contact and nod at the drivers near me at intersections anytime I might be doing something that they might not understand -- such as turning left on the outside of the motor traffic. I like to let them know I'm aware of them and their vehicle's space, and that I don't plan on being in their way when the light turns green.

    When traffic gets clogged up, I try to ride slowly with the traffic, even when I'm riding beside the cars and could go faster. I believe this helps them see me better, and avoids the dreaded right-hook situation.

    I try to stay very far to the right when I intend for cars to pass me, and smack in the middle of the lane when I'm maneuvering (like preparing for a turn) and do not wish to be passed. I think cyclists can often appear frighteningly erratic to motorists, and making a clear statement that drivers should (or should not) pass me is helpful.

    I wave hesitant drivers through four-way stops when they try to give me an inappropriate right-of-way. I always smile, too, while I wait my turn.

    I smile at people when they look at me through their windows at intersections.

    - Warren

  4. #4
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    I think smiling and waving is the biggest weapon in my arsenal. Even when people are being aggressive and jerky. It's hard to do, but it throws most people for a loop and diffuses the situation. I've even had folks apologize. But none of this works unless you are riding as Serge says, "in a predictable manner."
    Non semper erit aestas.

  5. #5
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Sometimes when riding on the right past a deceleration lane with no intention of turning right, I find drivers a bit tentative about passing me on the right. I just drop my right hand from the bar and wave them past. As they pass I nod and smile. They usually seem grateful.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  6. #6
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Drivers appreciate it when you follow the rules and most importantly don't create unambiguousness, uncertainty is what causes stress. For example 'should I pass them or not' or 'are the going to turn'?

    As to following the rules, a little example from this morning. I lined up behind about 4 cars at a red light, a right turn lane broke off to my right. A slower cyclist I had just passed filtered up using left side of right turn lane. Blocked four cars behind it who could have turned on green right arrow - driver in right turn lane directly next to me rolled down their window gestured at cyclist blocking lane ahead and said to me "I like your way"

    Al

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    I like your way better too. I've been biking for only a two weeks . . . after waiting a year to jump into the traffic (I ride through traffic to get to a serene traffic-less loop). My goal has been to be a curteous and safe cyclist. I'm learning as I go. Still, every day presents new situations.

    I am learning how to be assertive as a cyclist (to give clear signals). I have learned to turn my head back and acknowledge cars as the come up behind me because they know I am aware of them. I always wave and say thanks (and usually smile) when cars give me my right of way, and especially when they wait at a stop sign and wave me on (love that, even though they don't need to do that).

    I had a similar experience this morning. I could have inched up at a red light. I considered doing it thinking it would be better because the cars could see me at the front, but decided it was worth it to wait as a car. The people in the cars around me all smiled . . . and they were extra patient when it was my turn to go.

    While I was at another red light, a stray piece of newspaper came with the wind to rest under my wheel. Without thinking, I bent over and picked it up and rolled it into a ball. I realized I didn't have anyplace to put it. The car next to me rolled down his window and took it from me.

    I have a question about stop signs. If no one is coming and it's a quiet residential area, do you stop, slow down, or cruise on through? I know it's legal to stop, but I'm wondering what all of you actually do?

    Sandy

  8. #8
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandySwimmer
    While I was at another red light, a stray piece of newspaper came with the wind to rest under my wheel. Without thinking, I bent over and picked it up and rolled it into a ball. I realized I didn't have anyplace to put it. The car next to me rolled down his window and took it from me.

    I have a question about stop signs. If no one is coming and it's a quiet residential area, do you stop, slow down, or cruise on through? I know it's legal to stop, but I'm wondering what all of you actually do?

    Sandy
    Thats a great story about the trash. As to stop signs, most of us know what is right, some stick to the rules with extreeme disipline. Others break them with abandon. I lean toward the former, but there are some situations, especially at 4-way stops where you have very good sightlines, where stopping fully can be very tedious after the 50th time thru. You say your somewhat new at this. I lean toward stopping or slowing to a near stop at first until you really 'learn' the intersection, then you will have more experience to know how you can bend the rules safely.

    Al

  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandySwimmer
    I have a question about stop signs. If no one is coming and it's a quiet residential area, do you stop, slow down, or cruise on through? I know it's legal to stop, but I'm wondering what all of you actually do?

    Sandy
    I always at least slow. If there is traffic, I stop... if nothing more than to show that bikes do obey the law. I used to do track stands, but that just causes confusion.

    If there is no traffic around, I slow and roll through.

    I never just cruise through... you never know who might be "cruising through" from the other direction.

  10. #10
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    If there is traffic, I stop.
    Same here. I may have not made that clear in my response above. I hinted that I'll roll thru slowly but only with good visibility, but that also means if a car, bike or pedestrian is anywhere to be seen I stop fully, even if I would have been able to roll thru slowly and still not be hit or cause a ped to wait. I especially like stopping for peds and making sure they get their right of way, even if they protest.

    Too many folks think that cyclists recklessly break laws. I like to be a visible example that not all do.

    Al

  11. #11
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    I always at least slow. If there is traffic, I stop... if nothing more than to show that bikes do obey the law. I used to do track stands, but that just causes confusion.
    You know, I view every stop as an opportunity to practice my track stand, but I never thought it would be confusing to motorists. Good point...

    Hmmm. Gotta think about this for a while...

  12. #12
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eubi
    You know, I view every stop as an opportunity to practice my track stand, but I never thought it would be confusing to motorists. Good point...

    Hmmm. Gotta think about this for a while...
    I too, like Gene, have found much better driver response to a foot down. Track stands are confusing to anyone that has not cycled before, all but the best track standers (not me) seem to twitch (rock back and forth visibly) and just look like they are going to spring forward at any second or fall. As I like to say, there is a reason its called a 'track stand', not a 'street stand.'

    Ambiguity causes driver anxiety.

    Al

  13. #13
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandySwimmer
    I have a question about stop signs. If no one is coming and it's a quiet residential area, do you stop, slow down, or cruise on through? I know it's legal to stop, but I'm wondering what all of you actually do?

    Sandy
    I always slow down and make sure I can really see. Sometimes that means a real foot down stop. No matter what at least slow down enough to make sure of the stop signs going the other way. The local bike club has several rides where one cross street (Otis I think) has NO stop in the other direction, unlike all the intersetions leading up to it. Cyclists would blow the stop sign all the time, likely ASSUMING that the other way had a stop sign. Visibality is not good and when Otis did not have a stop sign it was a faster route by car than the nearby major street.

    Rolling through a little is really no problem, but do be sure you can see. I would suggest that at least the first time you do any given stop on your bike you really stop, then decide how much you can push the rules the next time through.

    It now has a stop sign. I never heard anything, but I'm 99% sure that at least a few close calls were involved. Hopefully no major collisions.

  14. #14
    Out of Commission OC Roadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfncycling
    Just something to do at an intersection where cars turn right is to just pull up far enough so that the cars can still turn right. I can't tell you how many times I've seen cyclists just sitting there blocking those cars turning right for no reason. You're safety isn't in question, and doing something small like this helps the car/cycling relationship. Anyone else have something small that others might over look?
    I've found that letting cars turn right at a stop light gets the the greatest positive response from motorists. If there's a right turn lane, I'll pull far enough to the left to let traffic get through, if there's not a turn lane, I get all the way to the right. If the drivers seem tentative about going by, I'll wave them through. I almost always get a thank you, wave or a smile. I don't get it when I see cyclists sitting in the middle of a right turn lane with traffic behind them waiting to turn right, no wonder motorists think we're jack asses. I agree that being assertive and making your intentions obvious are the key to successfully riding with traffic. I think more motorists are scared or anxious than angry about what to do when passing/encountering cyclists.
    If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, then come sit next to me.

  15. #15
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Roadie
    I've found that letting cars turn right at a stop light gets the the greatest positive response from motorists. If there's a right turn lane, I'll pull far enough to the left to let traffic get through, if there's not a turn lane, I get all the way to the right. If the drivers seem tentative about going by, I'll wave them through. I almost always get a thank you, wave or a smile. I don't get it when I see cyclists sitting in the middle of a right turn lane with traffic behind them waiting to turn right, no wonder motorists think we're jack asses. I agree that being assertive and making your intentions obvious are the key to successfully riding with traffic. I think more motorists are scared or anxious than angry about what to do when passing/encountering cyclists.
    I agree about making it easier for drivers to turn right at a stop light. I do the same thing you do when there's a right turn lane. But if there's no right turn lane, I get far enough LEFT in the lane so that there's room to pass on the right for the right turn. I find that this makes it much more clear to drivers approaching from behind that they can squeeze by on the right and make the right turn. I make sure that I'm watching the light, so that the instant it turns green, I've started pedaling and I move back over to the right side of the lane.

  16. #16
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
    I agree about making it easier for drivers to turn right at a stop light. I do the same thing you do when there's a right turn lane. But if there's no right turn lane, I get far enough LEFT in the lane so that there's room to pass on the right for the right turn. I find that this makes it much more clear to drivers approaching from behind that they can squeeze by on the right and make the right turn. I make sure that I'm watching the light, so that the instant it turns green, I've started pedaling and I move back over to the right side of the lane.
    Just be careful of folks who think this is an open invitation to pass you on the right as they head straight. It's rare, but I've had it happen a couple of times. There's a fine line between being courteous and being a doormat. Though good eye contact and a few hand gestures can usually sort things out.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  17. #17
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treespeed
    Just be careful of folks who think this is an open invitation to pass you on the right as they head straight. It's rare, but I've had it happen a couple of times. There's a fine line between being courteous and being a doormat. Though good eye contact and a few hand gestures can usually sort things out.
    The thing I hate is four lane road - curb lane mostly filled with parked cars. Riding at the far left side of the curb lane. So natural place to stop at the red light is also on the left. Easy for cars to turn right, no need to remerge to pass the parked cars after the light. But AGGRESSIVE drivers use this lane as a place to peel out of the intersection when the light turns green to pass the long line of cars to their left. And aggressive drivers are going to show no courtesy to a bicycle whatsoever. Too many aggressive drivers spoil the whole be nice phenomenon, and instead I'll stop in the middle of the lane so nobody can make an aggressive pass (but also not turn right on the red), and not to the right (where most cyclists I see will stop) so I don't get right hooked by someone turning.

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    A little courtesy goes a long ways...tell that to the wild and crazy motorists too. Dr. RedNeckLove or How to fight back without really dying
    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  19. #19
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    Great thread! Lots of good ideas on how to ride safely but friendly as well.

    Today I was approaching an intersection (left only) and saw a utility truck pulling a trailer waiting to pull out in the same direction as me. Behind me, a car was approaching. The truck had time to pull out in front of me but not the car, since it was going faster. So I slowed down enough that the car could pass me and then the truck and neither would be caught behind me. It's a winding, hilly road so it could have been awhile before they could pass.

    Later, I approached a similar situation only no one was behind me. I slowed and motioned for the person to pull out ahead of me. The car hesitated and there was a wide shoulder at that point so I pulled over, trying to make it clear that I wanted the car ahead of me and it finally pulled out. Going home last night, a car was following me as I rounded a curve. I could see before the driver could that it was clear ahead so I motioned with my left hand that the car could pass safely.

    I didn't really notice in any of these cases whether the drivers were appreciative but at least they didn't honk or pass me too closely.

  20. #20
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treespeed
    Just be careful of folks who think this is an open invitation to pass you on the right as they head straight. It's rare, but I've had it happen a couple of times. There's a fine line between being courteous and being a doormat. Though good eye contact and a few hand gestures can usually sort things out.
    I agree. One time I had moved left as I was slowing for the red light. At that time, there was no straight-through traffic behind me in my lane. Then the light immediately turned green, and a car approaching at speed from behind passed on the right before I had a chance to move over. He didn't pass too close, as he was partially in the crosswalk, but it's still a situation you don't want to put yourself in.

    So now I'll generally only move to the left of the lane when drivers from behind have the right turn signal on. Sometimes drivers from behind won't have their right turn signal on, but I can see that they're slowing down cautiously as if they want to make a right turn, but aren't sure which way to get around me to do so. In that case, I'll move a little to the left, and that will usually get them to put on their turn signal. Then I can move further left if needed.

  21. #21
    mac
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfncycling
    Just something to do at an intersection where cars turn right is to just pull up far enough so that the cars can still turn right.
    If you are Vehicular Cycling, you would be in center of your lane at a stop light just like any other car, and the other cars behind could you easily get into the right-hand side of the road and turn. But I don't VC like that. What I do is filter to the front then get in the middle of the lane in front of the first car which means I'm in the crosswalk. All the cars can see me since I stick out. This allows any car that wants to make a right turn to do so without blocking them. Once the light turns green, I pedal out into the intersection and move to my right which allows cars to pass.

  22. #22
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    Indeed, courtesy goes a long way. I try my best when it's safe to visibly and / or audibly thank drivers for doing what they should do in the first place.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy
    I do not want to be associated with the kind of riders that come through my neck of the woods on weekends, dressed in superhero costumes
    Do they wear capes?
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  23. #23
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    I agree with the posts of LCI_Brian, including the clarification in response to Treespeed's good point, and so won't repeat what he already so clearly stated, which is basically what I would have posted in this thread.


    Quote Originally Posted by mac
    If you are Vehicular Cycling, you would be in center of your lane at a stop light just like any other car, and the other cars behind could you easily get into the right-hand side of the road and turn. But I don't VC like that. What I do is filter to the front then get in the middle of the lane in front of the first car which means I'm in the crosswalk. All the cars can see me since I stick out. This allows any car that wants to make a right turn to do so without blocking them. Once the light turns green, I pedal out into the intersection and move to my right which allows cars to pass.
    I see motorcyclists pulling ahead of stopped cars at red lights all the time. When they do it, is it non-vehicular? Technically, it is illegal to stop in the crosswalk or after the stop line, whether you are bicyclist or motorcyclist, so I guess it is not in accordance with the vehicular rules of the road, and hence not "vehicular".

    But the significant difference to me is that motorcyclists can accelerate faster than cars, while most cyclists usually cannot.

    It's one thing to hold up motorists who get in line at the red light after you do; it's another thing to pass up everyone who go there first, stop in front of them, and then be holding them up when the light turns green.

    Next time you're driving and see a cyclist do this, notice how much he holds up and confuses the drivers at the front.

    I think it's rude, and does nothing good for cyclist/motorist relations.



    Serge

  24. #24
    mac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    It's one thing to hold up motorists who get in line at the red light after you do; it's another thing to pass up everyone who go there first, stop in front of them, and then be holding them up when the light turns green.

    Next time you're driving and see a cyclist do this, notice how much he holds up and confuses the drivers at the front.
    I don't hold up motorists - when the light turns green, I clip in and move to the right after I pass the right-hand turn lane in the intersection. Unless the motorist is the green-light-hit-the-gas kind of driver (which I am - crank the throttle!) of which there are relatively few, no one is being held up.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac
    I don't hold up motorists - when the light turns green, I clip in and move to the right after I pass the right-hand turn lane in the intersection. Unless the motorist is the green-light-hit-the-gas kind of driver (which I am - crank the throttle!) of which there are relatively few, no one is being held up.
    That's what I used to think when I did it, or how I justified it anyway.

    But, seriously, pay close attention to the effect when other cyclists do it. Since it's behind us, I think we tend to be oblivious to how significant it is. The time it takes to clip in, start accelerating, and move out of the way, is noticeable. And if the driver got to the light first, and then you cut in front of him, and now you're delaying him like this...

    But again, when we get there first, there is no problem with causing the delay (first come, first served). It is real, but minimal.

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