I’m a fairly assertive and aggressive cyclist, but I drive like a ninety year-old woman. Sure, I generally get up to, and sometimes surpass, posted speed limits, but I go to great lengths to avoid sudden starts and stops.
In practice, this means I accelerate VERY SLOWLY — my goal is to stay ≤ 2000 rpm when accelerating. I’m always on the lookout for things that will require stopping (car in front of me stopped waiting to make a left turn, red lights, etc.). When I spot said situations, I start slowing down far in advance, in the hope that by the time I reach the light, it will be green, thus avoiding the gas intensive start from a complete stop.
Turns out that there are lots of impatient people behind the wheel out there who don’t appreciate my laid back, gas conserving, driving style. I love nothing quite so much as an impatient driver who blows by me in the other lane, clearly annoyed that I am “slowing her down,” and speeds on toward the red light, only to sit and watch as I, at my slow, steady pace, flow right on by when the light turns green because I maintained 15 mph while she had to come to a complete stop. Ha!
(Okay, I lied about “loving nothing quite so much” in the above paragraph, because I really would love nothing quite so much as biking to work instead of driving.)
Anyway, I’m cruising along on my way home from work yesterday, maintaining a nice, steady pace in the left lane of a 4-lane, 35 mph street (Kingshighway, for all you StL folks), approaching a red light with cars already stopped in front of me, and the guy behind me pulls out and passes me on the right. As he passes, he yells, “Lay off the brakes!” (Followed by some nice, mature name calling, for good measure — this did not further his case with me.)
Which, what? Really? You’re suggesting that I “lay off the brakes” as I approach these stopped cars in front of me? Just drive right into them?
Seriously, where do these people come from?!?
Despite the sometimes negative reactions of fellow drivers, I highly recommend a more laid back approach to driving. Fewer starts and stops, and gentler acceleration, mean less wasted gas. If you have to drive, you can take steps to make your driving at least a bit greener, not to mention more relaxed.