The Chainlink

Here's something I've been bothered by for ages, and I'm curious to know if others feel the same. 

Fairly often, I'll arrive at a four way stop and after I have stopped the car with the right of way privilege will wave me through the intersection.

For some reason this irritates me to no end. Stopping and suddenly going again takes energy and someone will wave their hand around as if to magically move me forward. But in my mind this slows down the flow of traffic, and goes against the notion that motorists should treat cyclists like another vehicle. 

I suspect motorists think that they're being polite OR they think that if I go first then they won't see me as an obstacle or distraction on the road. 

How do other's feel about this? Does this bother other cyclists or is this just my own special brand of neurosis? 

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It seems to me that you have to stop either way given the assumptions we have made.  If you get waved through you had to stop first. if you did not get waved through you still had to stop. Thus, the annoyance is with stopping at all. Given that there is a stop sign and traffic I really don't understand the passion. We all have to stop on occasion. That's why our bikes have brakes. :-) I suspect the original post wished that she had  been waved through earlier. Had the driver waved her through before she stopped she would have been happier. Even so, as I posted earler, I am going to stop. I am not going to trust that person or trust that a second driver will have figured that out and be ok with me barreling through.

Adam Love said:

I appreciate that the cars are trying to be nice and courteous to me, but yeah it's a pain in the ass to stop and then have to start right back up again. At the same time, I think those drivers would be upset at me if I just slammed through the stop sign without yielding at all... I'm not sure what the right balance is. 

I don't mind stopping at all.  I do mind needless interactions though.  There's the obvious interaction at the intersection.  If you then meet again after the intersection (you turn, they go straight, or vice versa), that's a needless interaction which could have been avoided if the driver of the car took the right of way that was theirs.

It's occasionally annoying, because its unnecessary. It's been happening to me much more frequently and I'm starting to be happy with the fact that drivers and bikers are becoming more amiable. As an occasional driver I find myself waving both bikers and other drivers through 4-ways depending on the circumstance. We're both part of traffic and I'm not about to get angry with a driver for extending a polite gesture.

Hey,

I think that this is confusion on the part of the driver.   Many drivers don't bike, or haven't biked as adults, & don't know that we, in legal point, are the same as cars.

I have never learned to drive,  & don't know many of the rules that cars should use, in example.   My husband, who both bikes & drives,  told me that at a 4-way intersection,  the right to move is whoever is there first, & from your left.

Myself,  if a driver waves me thru',  I go, if there's not much traffic.  

Ciao'.

Rose-onna'-Bike

Drives me crazy too! My phrase is 'Please just behave normally in traffic...don't do weird and supposedly friendly things for cyclists.' Its annoying and dangerous in some cases. From the other side, I do wish cyclists would respect street signs and lights when streets are busy.

I wave people off when they give me the wave. Hopefully this is a form of social training!

There is nothing to be gained from getting angry about it, for sure, but as Micheal A's post above makes abundantly clear, we simply cannot trust the drivers in general, and our interpretations of their hand signals in particular.

Adam Slota said:

It's occasionally annoying, because its unnecessary. It's been happening to me much more frequently and I'm starting to be happy with the fact that drivers and bikers are becoming more amiable. As an occasional driver I find myself waving both bikers and other drivers through 4-ways depending on the circumstance. We're both part of traffic and I'm not about to get angry with a driver for extending a polite gesture.

Riding a bike in Chicago I have many petpeeves. But this one rises to the top of the list. Are they trying to feel good about themselves? Are they frustrated traffic cops? Do they just feel great having a biker in the sights of their two ton automobile? Sometimes I point back at them and mouth "No, you go." But because this means further delay I usually just start peadling. But I don't hurry.

I have no doubt that their intentions are pure most of the time.

If there was a way to communicate "thank you" that would get them moving reasonably quickly, I'd love to hear it.

Until then, I'll just put my head down or look off in some other direction until they've cleared the intersection, because it seems to work best.



JohnK said:

Riding a bike in Chicago I have many petpeeves. But this one rises to the top of the list. Are they trying to feel good about themselves? Are they frustrated traffic cops? Do they just feel great having a biker in the sights of their two ton automobile? Sometimes I point back at them and mouth "No, you go." But because this means further delay I usually just start peadling. But I don't hurry.

You're free to suspect whatever you want. 

Stopping doesn't bother me nor is it the issue here. It is a normal part of riding. What bothers me is the adverse reaction from motorists trying to anticipate my move, while I'm anticipating theirs. I'd like to restate that this post is about the confusion and possible danger created when a driver yields the right of way, even with the nicest of intentions.

David Barish said:

It seems to me that you have to stop either way given the assumptions we have made.  If you get waved through you had to stop first. if you did not get waved through you still had to stop. Thus, the annoyance is with stopping at all. Given that there is a stop sign and traffic I really don't understand the passion. We all have to stop on occasion. That's why our bikes have brakes. :-) I suspect the original post wished that she had  been waved through earlier. Had the driver waved her through before she stopped she would have been happier. Even so, as I posted earler, I am going to stop. I am not going to trust that person or trust that a second driver will have figured that out and be ok with me barreling through.

Adam Love said:

I appreciate that the cars are trying to be nice and courteous to me, but yeah it's a pain in the ass to stop and then have to start right back up again. At the same time, I think those drivers would be upset at me if I just slammed through the stop sign without yielding at all... I'm not sure what the right balance is. 

I understand your thinking and feeling. I still believe that a situation where the two parties keep saying, "after you."  "no, after you."  "no, I insist, after you." etc is still better than the alternative of the Three Stooges all trying to barge through the door at the same time.  Is it silly? Yeah, I guess so.  Still, unless its outwardly condescending, I have a hard time getting upset about an attempt, even an awkward one, at being polite.  Regardless, I apologize for making improper assumptions about your state of mind.

Naomi Ruth Jackson said:

You're free to suspect whatever you want. 

Stopping doesn't bother me nor is it the issue here. It is a normal part of riding. What bothers me is the adverse reaction from motorists trying to anticipate my move, while I'm anticipating theirs. I'd like to restate that this post is about the confusion and possible danger created when a driver yields the right of way, even with the nicest of intentions.

David Barish said:

It seems to me that you have to stop either way given the assumptions we have made.  If you get waved through you had to stop first. if you did not get waved through you still had to stop. Thus, the annoyance is with stopping at all. Given that there is a stop sign and traffic I really don't understand the passion. We all have to stop on occasion. That's why our bikes have brakes. :-) I suspect the original post wished that she had  been waved through earlier. Had the driver waved her through before she stopped she would have been happier. Even so, as I posted earler, I am going to stop. I am not going to trust that person or trust that a second driver will have figured that out and be ok with me barreling through.

Adam Love said:

I appreciate that the cars are trying to be nice and courteous to me, but yeah it's a pain in the ass to stop and then have to start right back up again. At the same time, I think those drivers would be upset at me if I just slammed through the stop sign without yielding at all... I'm not sure what the right balance is. 

At this point in the thread, people who don'r have the patience to read anything but the subject line will take over with posts decrying the OPs anger, anxiety, dismay, angst, exasperation, obsessive rumination, PTSD, and irreversible deep-seated emotional turmoil at being waved through a stop sign.

Enjoy!

A guy walks into a bar. The person ahead of him steps aside and holds the door open for him and gestures with a sweeping arm movement to enter.
There are those here who would say the man's appropriate response is to:
A. Proceed with caution; the door holder may try to stab you in the back
B. Proceed with caution; the door holder may try to pick your pocket
C. Proceed with caution; the door holder may try to slam the door in your face
D. Question the doorholder about his intentions
E. Flip off the doorholder
F. Consult his smartphone to see if there is an app for that holding-a-door response
G. Call his lawyer to see if there are any legal rammifications to accepting the offer
H. Jump up and down and tell the door holder to get the hell in there first
I. Spend 20 minutes in the no-after-you, no-after-you game
J. Scan the surroundings to see if the doorholder has any accomplices
K. Scan the surroundings to see if there are any other potential doorholders around
L. Start a blog thread that discusses all the possibilities in great detail
Me? I thank him for his courtesy and walk on through, holding the next door for doorholder.

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