On the bike: Promoting civility and good will

I last left you with a tale of a less-than-pleasant transaction on the road.  While these encounters are noteworthy, they are also rare.  On some level, I interact with every motorist with whom I share the roads on a given ride, and most times these are neutral encounters (though a neutral encounter is a good encounter in my book).

I prefer to make note of the good encounters, which seem to be on the rise of late.  Case in point, several blocks after the aforementioned negative encounter, I noticed a motorist behind me as I approached a red light.  I was to be the first person in the queue (going straight), and I noticed that the motorist had on a right turn signal.

Given the limited space on the street we were on, I knew that she would be less than a foot from my body when she made her turn.  I was perfectly happy to move left to let her pass, but I wanted both of use to come to a stop first, to facilitate a slow, safe pass.

I signaled my intention to stop (something I’m doing a lot more of these days) as I looked back and made eye contact with the driver.  Once I was stopped, I intentionally shifted a bit farther left and motioned for her to proceed with her turn.  She made her right turn on red, and after a couple of minutes, the light changed and I headed on my way.

A few blocks later, I approached a stop sign (again signaling my intention to stop), and noticed a vehicle coming up beside me.  I was bewildered and, at first, a bit annoyed that the driver couldn’t stay behind me and take her turn, until I recognized the woman from the stop light.

She rolled down her window and proceeded to praise my biking, noting the good communication (through the use of hand signals) and thanked me for embodying the idea of “sharing the road” (unlike many other cyclists she’d encountered.  Talk about affirmation — she took the time to backtrack and find me just to thank me for following basic rules of the road and observing basic courtesies!

I thanked her in turn for her courteous driving and handed her a CyclingSavvy card, explaining that I ride what I teach.


This post seems like a good note on which to end Bike Month.  It also marks the seventh day in a row that I have posted, something that certainly has not happened since Gabriel was born!  So on that note, I’ll take a little break.


  1. shannonnon says:

    that’s so nice! I confess, you won’t find me riding a bike much these days (except at the gym) because i have a little who just isn’t there yet, and i’m one to stick to quiet neighborhoods. I’m always very respectful of cyclists who take the time to signal properly and who look out for me as well. I know some motorists find it to be a nuisance, but hey: if everyone is sort of sharing a space, it works quite well. 🙂 happy to hear you had such a great experience!

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