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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Courteous Mass/Critical Manners

(c) Google.  Somewhere in China...

From the Facebook page:

"[Friday, August 12 · 7:30pm - 10:30pm] This is a bicycle protest to show San Diego that bikes can share the roads and have the same right to be on the road. This is NOT Critical Mass, this is NOT a race, we will ride in a group and stay together by communicating with each other. Be ready to signal when you turn, stop at red lights to regroup and be polite. If we do stop traffic please wave in gratitude that they are being patient, if close enough say "Thank You" Let's show SD that there are bikes out there that want respect and can dish it out. SD prove me right and let's see if we can out number Critical Mass by killing cars with kindness.

Leaving the Fountain at 8pm."

Personally I think this is an excellent idea!!  I'm not sure I understand the confrontational attitude many bicyclists have towards motorists.  Yes, yes, I realize the come-back is, "What about the confrontational attitude motorists have toward us!!??"

Well, cars on the road are a fact of life.  That isn't about to change anytime soon.  Until that day arrives where we are all riding bicycles as our main transportation, we have no choice but bicyclists and motorists have to get along.

I encourage bicyclists with a confrontational attitude toward cars to chill a bit.

I'm not suggesting we meekly acquiesce when a driver behaves dangerously and I realize it's no fun when someone drives too close or honks because they feel we are slowing them down.  (Then again, who knows?  I have seen a few bicyclists slow down traffic by riding in the middle of the lane; this based on the proposition that it is their legal right to do so.  In certain circumstances that may be but don't expect motorists to be happy about it).  I am suggesting we adopt the behavior of this organized ride: courteousness, respectfulness, and most importantly of all - predictability! 

It has been my experience most motorists will work with you provided they understand your intentions: where you intend to go, how you intend to get there, etc.  Simple hand waves and acknowledgment of someone allowing you in the lane go a long way toward improving relations between bicyclists and car drivers.

And I am not speaking out of my proverbial hat.  I live in National City.  As many of you may be aware, this isn't exactly a town of courteous drivers.  But I work with the car drivers when riding my bicycle and I haven't had a confrontation yet.

P.S.  I'm reminded of the last time I rode to Dos Picos campground.  I entered the left turn lane from Scripps Poway Parkway to the north-bound 67.  The left arrow turned green and only then did I realize there were in fact two left turn lanes and I was in the leftmost one.  Thus I found myself bicycling between two active traffic lanes.  A van driver courteously motioned me to move in front of him and to the rightmost position.  I of course was sure to wave a "thank you."  Mr. Van Driver, you probably saved me a little grief that day.

We can all just get along.

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