Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I Am Shocked at Driver Courtesy

I've been noticing that the drivers around here are very courteous while we are out cycling. Yesterday it was really noticeable. We were riding up a 3,4,5 % grade road fora bout 3 miles, our local rt out our front door. So we are only doing 7 mph or so. On the way up we must go around parked cars on this 2 lane road.  We stay to the right as the lanes are pretty wide but when passing parked cars I try to time traffic coming behind us so we can pass when its clear. About 6 or 7 times yesterday we were passed and every time the driver switched lanes. Most days they do but yesterday it seemed all cars gave us the courtesy.

As we approached 4 way stops, maybe 4 or 6 of them, we seemed to arrive at the same time as other vehicles. A vehicle to our right so we yield and allow them to go first by law. But yesterday seemed like all drivers waved us through. We can just about do a seated track stand for 2 or 3 seconds on the tandem so that helps to access things. Yesterday at one point there were vehicles at all 4 stops and every one of them waved us through. Of course I don't assume anything so riding through, I watch every driver's eyes.

On the way down a busier rd, we travel at about 30 MPH. It's a divided highway so cross streets we must take caution. Cars stop and sometimes look as if they will try to cross before we arrive. I'd say one time out of the many times we have descended this rd, only one driver has crossed in front of us. Nothing too close but I know I would have waited had I been the driver. But I do keep in mind that many drivers underestimate the speed of a bicycle. 

Yesterday was beautiful though. Maybe 3 times I figured the driver would cross but they waited till we passed. 3 times as we rolled by the waiting driver, they wave at us!

Once we reach the top of our climb we must ride across to the road we descend. This street has little traffic but is a bit more narrow. So here we must go around about 3 parked cars. Street is not narrow enough to take the lane but not wide enough to pass parked cars without caution. I use the timing method to avoid traffic while passing parked cars here too. The speed limit is 35 and we can hold 25 as it seems a downward slope.

At one point we had to pass 3 parked cars within a 50 yard stretch which is rare for this street. Wouldn't you know it, 4 cars approaching from behind which is also rare. It's a huge pickup truck coming from behind so I plan to slow. Just then I notice the truck slows and shields us from the other approaching vehicles. I look back and the driver waves at us to continue on. He holds back and slows traffic till we are safely around all 4 parked cars. Cool! As we veer to the side and let them pass I raise my hand as a friendly gesture. I look in the truck and it's a couple of hardcore hoodlum looking dudes. Hmm, that is surprising, even the hardcore looking dudes are cyclist friendly! 

Of course we have a red blinkie light in the back and a headlight up front which goes on strobe mode while descending at 30 MPH. We ride as safely as possible and yield when we need to keeping ourselves alive. I'm a believer of "it doesn't matter who had the right of way when you end up in a wheel chair" so I have no problem slowing my pace if it means keeping Gina safe on the road.

I do look for lightly traveled roads but I have really been surprised at the courtesy given to us while out riding. I just bring this up after reading one stupid driver threads after another after being on several bike forums. 

Anyway, some pics from yesterday's local tandem ride.

                                           A little stretch before the second climb

                                              Some super fancy trick camera work! :-P

                                                              My serious look!

                                              I don't need one of them sill selfie sticks! :-P


  1. I see the same kind of courtesy here in Whittier. Local divers are used to seeing lots of cyclist riding towards Turnbull Canyon Road. Today while riding the streets up to Turnbull Canyon Road, I was riding up to an intersection, about to stop and unclip, when a rider waved me across even though she got there first. This happens most of the time and I only have to actually stop once in a while.

    1. That makes the ride that much more enjoyable Jimbo! But be sure to watch the other vehicles as well. I believe the lady on the Palm Springs ride got killed as a driver waved her through but another vehicle didn't sop. Careful out there!