Motorists treat me w/respect. Am I doing something wrong?
Another post this morning about drivers who yell at cyclists supposedly "for sport" has me wondering again...
I've been riding as an adult since college, almost 40 years. I've lived in three states and ridden in half a dozen more, big cities and rural areas, downtown San Francisco and Kanab, Utah.
In all that time, I've had maybe three minor conflicts with drivers. The most serious came just a couple of years ago when two kids threw an empty Coke can at me. A couple of other times, people have yelled something stupid ("Nice legs" or "Go, Lance"). I've had a few brushbacks, but I attribute those to driver incompetence, not malice--people can't even park; they have no idea where the right side of their car is.
In thousands of miles on the freeway (the only way to get from my house to my office required almost two miles on the shoulder of I-80, and I commuted regularly for 20+ years), I never had a close call or a scare. Drivers stop and wave me through at stop signs.
I have no idea why, but a couple of thoughts:
--I rarely wear "cycling kit." I ride in mountain bike shorts and T-shirts nearly all the time, including centuries and long tours. I don't look (to the motoring public) like "one of them bicycle a-holes."
--I don't insist on right-of-way even when it's mine. I'd rather let a car go ahead of me than expect it to stop when it doesn't.
--I don't block traffic. We have a lot of fairly narrow two-lanes around here that are overburdened by new subdivision traffic, and many riders still go two and three and four abreast, holding up cars. I'm 100 percent in favor of full rights to the road for bikes, but cars are faster and their taxes pay for the pavement. what's the problem with letting them go by?
And parenthetically, I reject the common claim that some driver "tried to hit me." The level of skill among drivers is pretty low, but they can't ALL be lousy shots.