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Old 07-25-10, 05:42 AM   #1
mtalinm
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sympathy for the cager

I've certainly had my share of motorist annoyances: getting buzzed, honked at, yelled at, taunted, etc. and a real near-miss or two. during my first few months on the bike, I came to see cars as The Enemy.

then, on a group ride, I noticed that our ride leader was going out of her way to wave and yell "thank you!" to cars that yielded, etc. since then, I've tried to implement the same. I even try to wave cars by when they are waiting but I think there's enough room.

the effects have been really something. not only am I less tense when riding, less likely to expect the worst, but I get the sense (perhaps naively) that motorists treat me a bit better than they used to. (yes, I'm a daily commuter and probably see some of the same people day after day.)

there is, sadly, much anti-motorist sentiment among cycling advocacy groups. I certainly understand that there are a few (very) bad apples out there, but treating drivers in general with contempt is I think counterproductive.
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Old 07-25-10, 06:59 AM   #2
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Some cities are more bike friendly than others. Kansas City isn't known for being bike friendly although, as you know, getting honked at once in a while, drivers being afraid to go around, drivers getting a little too close, or simply drivers honking because of the 'old school' mentality that they just want to alert you that they are there, is all part of the game.

I do the same. I wave at motorists if the give me right-of-way. They are turning left and could easily cut me off...but they patiently wait. I'll wave with a small 'thank you'.

I also wave at the ones that honk, get too close, or cut me off. However, those drivers only see the wave. They don't hear what I'm saying under my breath!

Agreed. It breeds a less stressful attitude by all.

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Old 07-25-10, 07:04 AM   #3
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... I certainly understand that there are a few (very) bad apples out there, but treating drivers in general with contempt is I think counterproductive.
What? And ruin a perfectly good sanctimonious feeling of cyclist superiority? OMG!!
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Old 07-25-10, 08:05 AM   #4
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Playing devil's advocate, you could argue that waving/thanking a motorist for recognizing your right of way just reinforces the idea that you didn't really have the same right of way as cars and that they just did you a favor. But, I figure, even if they're just following the rules of the road, in their mind they *did* just do you a favor, so at least you're giving them some positive reinforcement which hopefully will lead them to continue being considerate.

It does cut both ways. I've seen cyclists doing some incredibly stupid and inconsiderate things, especially on recreational group rides, like riding 3 or 4 abreast and completely blocking the road, even when a car is behind them. Usually the driver is keeping a safe distance back and not leaning on the horn, basically being sent the message that being polite to cyclists just gets you screwed. When even another bicycle can't pass you without crossing the double yellow, you and your little social network are being jerks.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:18 AM   #5
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I wave and nod "thanks" to motorists who, say, allow me to access the left turn lane, or other acts of kindness. If it's something that I'm entitled to by rights, then no, I do not wave. But, "random acts of kindness" do occur, and I acknowledge them, whether I'm in my truck, or on a bike.

On yesterdays ride, I was in the right hand lane, coming to an intersection. The motorist that was right behind me was turning right, and I was going straight. Since there was very little traffic so early on a Saturday morning, I moved over and gave him the lane so he could turn right, while I waited for the signal to turn and continue on. He gave ME a wave and nod of "thanks".
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Old 07-25-10, 08:44 AM   #6
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OP ~ I concur
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Old 07-25-10, 09:22 AM   #7
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If you have sympathy for a "cager" you may try using a non derogatory term to refer to them... like motorist.
Anyhow, I wave and say thank you as much as I do while driving a car. Meaning when I feel like it. This can range from once a month to a few times a day.

Last edited by DataJunkie; 07-25-10 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Posting while half asleep= bad
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Old 07-25-10, 09:46 AM   #8
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there is, sadly, much anti-motorist sentiment among cycling advocacy groups. I certainly understand that there are a few (very) bad apples out there, but treating drivers in general with contempt is I think counterproductive.
The problem is that all it takes is one "bad apple" of a driver for me to end up dead. The stakes are high, we're not talking about taking turns on the playground here. I'm not arguing against what you said, but I think it's not the ultimate solution. There has to be much more serious consequences to drivers who do cyclists harm, and it needs to be applied more frequently. I hate to use the cliche but a paradigm shift is required.
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Old 07-25-10, 02:18 PM   #9
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It seems we have a traitor in our midst. The car is the enemy. Bikes rule.

Or perhaps just share the road and be courteous. Whatever works I guess.
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Old 07-25-10, 02:46 PM   #10
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sympathy for the cager

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The problem is that all it takes is one "bad apple" of a driver for me to end up dead. The stakes are high, we're not talking about taking turns on the playground here...
Hey mtalinm,

Is the title of the thread a play on the title of the Rolling Stones song, "Sympathy for the DEVIL"?

On several threads about responding to hazardous cagers, usually re the middle finger, I have described my own personal bicylist's curse: jabbing my forefinger in their direction, shouting "You, you, you." I always add that I alternatively bestow many more bicyclist's blessings, a friendly wave usually for some minimal courtesy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaluna View Post
Playing devil's advocate, you could argue that waving/thanking a motorist for recognizing your right of way just reinforces the idea that you didn't really have the same right of way as cars and that they just did you a favor. But, I figure, even if they're just following the rules of the road, in their mind they *did* just do you a favor, so at least you're giving them some positive reinforcement which hopefully will lead them to continue being considerate.
Metaluna has a good point, but since bikes are in such a minority, that they are almost a "novelty," a friendly wave might be bestowed not as kow-towing, but an acknowledgement that you and the driver have mutually sucessfully completed a maneuver that allowed both of you to continue safely on your ways; sort of a "10-4, "over and out."

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-25-10 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 07-25-10, 02:56 PM   #11
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I can't stand people who use the term cager in earnest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaluna View Post
Playing devil's advocate, you could argue that waving/thanking a motorist for recognizing your right of way just reinforces the idea that you didn't really have the same right of way as cars and that they just did you a favor. But, I figure, even if they're just following the rules of the road, in their mind they *did* just do you a favor, so at least you're giving them some positive reinforcement which hopefully will lead them to continue being considerate.
or perhaps it is simply positive reinforcement
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Old 07-25-10, 03:10 PM   #12
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yes use of term 'cager' was designed to grab attention. i am such myself; in fact, I drive a hulking V8 sedan (though only 5,000 miles this year vs. 20,000 last year)

yes the title is a play on RS. but if they are the devil, so am I. truthfully, I find myself nervous driving alongside cyclists and almost ran into one once even though I was trying hard to pay attention (it is a particularly tricky intersection in Boston, and I think the non-cager ran a light).

I can't agree that it is self-defeating to wave cars on or say thanks. many motorists think of us as oblivious, self-centered/righteous, and flagrant violators of the law. I think that's why they get mad, at least as much as because we slow them down.
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Old 07-25-10, 03:19 PM   #13
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truthfully, I find myself nervous driving alongside cyclists and almost ran into one once even though I was trying hard to pay attention (it is a particularly tricky intersection in Boston, and I think the non-cager ran a light).
As annoying as it is to hear a car thrumming behind you because the driver is too timid to pass -- even though your handlebars are inches away from the rear-view mirrors of parked cars -- I can totally empathize with the nerves issue at times. Having done a good bit of driving in Boston (pre-and during-Big Dig), doubly so.
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Old 07-25-10, 03:26 PM   #14
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I sense a "Mole" here and our infrastructure is being compromise here. Time for a Whitch hunt.....LOL

Just kidding mtalinm
I usually will nod a thank you along with a smile when they give me right of way. On any given ride, I get at least three or more courstesy yield even if I did not have right of way. Lot of that has to do with cager having better tolerance for female bicyclist. I figure it only be fair for me to give back a thanks otherwise they may think I am taking advantage of them.

There are difference between those nice motorist who will generally yield and those who are obvious cager. Believe it or not, some of those cager does show some sign of remorse after the fact. Example: I was waiting at a 4 way stop to turn left and was first at the intersection. A cager was approaching after I already stopped. Right when I passed the second line of the crosswalk, he decided to do a California rolling stop and tried to cut and roll slight right to get ahead of me. I almost hit him as I was turning and getting back the right side of the lane. I gave him the looks while he threw his hand in the air and kept going. Well Karma has it ways and I caught up with him at the next intersection where he wanted to turn right. I had my own bike lane and pull along side by side with him and was attempted to give a few words with him but the light turned green and I gave him a disgusted look at the best. I yielded for him to turn right so I can go straight. Instead he shrudded at me and waived to me to go first. So naturally I gave him a "Thanks" and he waited till I cleared him before turning right.

If there is a moral to this story, I guess you can say that this can work both way.
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Old 07-25-10, 05:55 PM   #15
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I'm not mole...I'm a commuter closing in on 600 miles this month.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:23 PM   #16
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I have precious little, as they have all but none for me in this little town (pop 300K).

For example:

Yesterday, my kids and I were out on a ride (that turned out overly long, given the heat); we stopped for lunch, and afterwards were heading home, about 3-4 miles away. A short stretch required us to ride in the lane (as opposed to MUP or legal sidewalk -- my boy is 7, and a little skittish about cars); we were doing just fine, until the 3-way stop a block away -- some F'N IDIOT in a late-model Dodge tried to swoop us in the turn lane! I didn't give way, as we were already there at the turn, and my boy bravely didn't swerve away from the fool. Even though these newer cars are pretty well sound-insulated, I KNOW this ass heard every name I called him, I wasn't quiet.

It wouldn't have helped for me to take more lane, as he jetted over from the left-turn lane at the last second, and only chickened out of taking the right turn when he saw we weren't giving way. (I SO wanted him to roll down a window and holler........)
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Old 07-26-10, 04:48 AM   #17
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I do wave to drivers who yield to me, even when they're required to do so. It doesn't happen very often though At least, I don't get honked at nearly as often as even last year. Maybe it's because there are A LOT more cyclists out there or because of the NYC bike/pedestrian infrastructure campaign that includes new bike lanes everywhere.

A.
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