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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you people need to stop.

They do it because they are so used to cyclist blowing lights/stop signs. 

Stop complaining about nothing.

Most of the points brought up about this are not "nothing".   It can cause dangerous conditions,  it furthers the idea that cyclists are not just traffic, and there are drivers who think it's cute to pretend (or not)  to hit us while we are in the crossing.   In the downtown area,  the experiences many have had are with messengers.   Riders who,  historically,  are not perceived as the safest or most rule following of riders.   Outside of that area, we are looked at as hippies on a kid's toy (something which has actually been shouted at me multiple times). 

Riders, as a whole,  need to follow the rules and insist that we be treated as traffic and not something special. Do you think that driver is waving other drivers through?   Why do you think that is? 

Jason said:

you people need to stop.

They do it because they are so used to cyclist blowing lights/stop signs. 

Stop complaining about nothing.

I prefer to think of these examples as wonderful moments of humanity. People do this out of kindness and I appreciate it. It is a gesture akin to holding the door for someone. 

That said, if I want them to go, I just look straight down until they do. When a driver sees you aren't looking at them or the intersection, they'll go promptly.

I don't think it's fair to assume that the driver perceives the cyclist as "not traffic."

Rather, I think there often may be an element of the driver thinking, "Oh, here I am sitting in my nice, air conditioned car, and this guy is huffing and puffing on his bike. Rather than rumble past him and blow my exhaust in his face by going first, I'll let him go first so that he can get where he's going more quickly."

Which, other problems mentioned in this thread aside, is hardly a problematic motivation.

Dann B (5.25 mi/8.75 mi) said:

...it furthers the idea that cyclists are not just traffic ... Do you think that driver is waving other drivers through?   Why do you think that is? 

First, it's a right of way. It is neither a privilege or an obligation. The distinction matters.

Bikers have demonstrated to motorists, time and time again, that they don't consistently follow the rules of the road and are unpredictable hazards. They also leave scratches in the paint and nasty little stains on the road when they get run down. Motorists deferring to bikers may not help the biker but it is smart defensive driving and what they have been taught to do. That's what we have taught them to do. If you want them to watch out for us, getting all hoppity when they do seems counter-productive.

Nor should they be thrashed for being polite, even if it doesn't really help the biker. Just being neighborly and deferring to others, especially those who are perceived to be at a disadvantage, isn't something to be angry about. Manners are a two way street: even if you decline the offer, good manners require that you do so politely.

Maybe, instead of fulminating about the energy and getting all Bike vs Car political you could work on communicating with the drivers. Accept or decline the offer (I think it should be declined) as you will but do so nicely. If you don't, you're going to come across as just another crank on a bike and reinforce their already low opinion of pedal powered transportation.

How often are you on the street riding?   Its not just messengers that ride like idiots.  I was behind a girl smoking a cigarette yesterday, and on my way back I saw two cyclist dart into the street from the side walk (almost getting hit and holding up traffic).

Lets stop pretending cars are the only issue out there.  I see dangerous behavior from cyclist everyday.

So it makes no sense to me to complain about a car being nice to you. 

Bikes wont be treated just like cars because they arent, and cyclist dont behave like drivers.



Dann B (5.25 mi/8.75 mi) said:

Most of the points brought up about this are not "nothing".   It can cause dangerous conditions,  it furthers the idea that cyclists are not just traffic, and there are drivers who think it's cute to pretend (or not)  to hit us while we are in the crossing.   In the downtown area,  the experiences many have had are with messengers.   Riders who,  historically,  are not perceived as the safest or most rule following of riders.   Outside of that area, we are looked at as hippies on a kid's toy (something which has actually been shouted at me multiple times). 

Riders, as a whole,  need to follow the rules and insist that we be treated as traffic and not something special. Do you think that driver is waving other drivers through?   Why do you think that is? 

I thought about this thread today while leading a group on a lovely ride through suburban streets.  We came to a couple of four ways stops. At one a driver motioned for us to go. I stopped the group and waved her through.  She got to the stop before we did. She waved an acknowledgement and moved on. I realized why I feel strongly in support of drivers like her...

...she saw us!  The number one problem is when drivers don't see riders.  I am thrilled when we are seen even if the driver wants to do something I don't want to do.  This is much better than not being seen.  A wave or so and we all move on our way and nobody got hurt. I cannot help but think that this is a good thing. This does not even get in to the cascading effect of " I saw this group of bicycle riders stop and wave me through" that is only good.

Ha, this happens to me almost every day. I hate it, too. I already stopped - we'd BOTH be faster if you just went at your turn! 

I often demonstratively look the other way because I don't like the whole back and forth about being waved through. I just want people to stop, then drive through asap, so I don't have to stand around at stop signs all day. :)

Funny story: http://bikeportland.org/2013/06/25/94-of-bikes-wait-at-red-lights-s...

Nearly 94 percent of people riding bikes in Portland, Beaverton, Corvallis and Eugene stopped for red lights, a forthcoming Portland State University-based study of 2,026 intersection crossing videos has found. Of those, almost all (89 percent of the total) followed the rules perfectly, while another 4 percent entered the intersection just before the light changed to green.

Only 6 percent of riders were observed heading directly through the red light.

That compares to, for example, an estimated 36 percent to 77 percent of people who tend to break the speed limit when driving a car on local streets, according to previous, otherwise unrelated research.

Reboot Oxnard said:

First, it's a right of way. It is neither a privilege or an obligation. The distinction matters.

Bikers have demonstrated to motorists, time and time again, that they don't consistently follow the rules of the road and are unpredictable hazards. 

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