Wednesday, November 30

Lousy Kid Get OFF the Lawn!

"Linda A," On Another Day
Some say that the youngsters today simply don't "get it." About the most they can understand is "Lousy Kid, Get OFF the Lawn!" Well, I'm here to tell you it ain't so. At least ONE kid (and possibly a couple more) has learned how to drive safer around us pesky cyclists than many of my own generation. There IS hope for the human race, and I found out about it entirely by accident.

This morning, I was taking a fellow cyclist to the airport. We'll call her "Linda A" for the sake of convenience. Being of my generation, she was either too cheap or broke to take a decent flight, and so we were going along in the predawn darkness. Up ahead, I saw a person on a bike. He had lights, and was heading along the same four-lane road we were on, and the lanes were 11-12 feet wide. This person was riding at the far right of our lane. As you might know if you've read this blog much, I favor a more prominent lane position on such roads. Seeing the person, I was reminded of why. Simply put, it took me a couple of seconds to decide whether to make a full lane change to pass the person or not. I commented on this to "Linda A." I noted that the guy on the bike would have lowered my stress level by simply making it more obvious that a full lane change was THE action to take, and I wondered WHAT sort of message the "edge hugger" guy was sending to motorists who did not write about cycling on an ongoing basis. She agreed. But the guy on the bike is NOT the point of this post.

Stock Shot of Cyclist Riding in a Manner to Create Doubt in the Motoring Mind About How/Whether to Pass
After agreeing, she related a little story that reminded me there is hope for the future and that I'd never heard before. Linda mentioned that she'd ridden along with my wife and my youngest daughter. My wife was driving. They came upon a cyclist. My wife made a straddle pass of the cyclist. My youngest spoke up and said "you should have made a full lane change to pass that cyclist." My wife, chastened, agreed that would have been better. MY FAVORITE DAUGHTER!

It tells me those driving sessions where we hunted for cyclists she could practice passing were not wasted. Later, I mentioned this to her older sister who noted that she either made a full lane change or simply followed until it was safe to make that full lane change. Of course, SHE might have simply been "sucking up," knowing that we're now in the Christmas season, though I really don't think so. However, she didn't get an unsolicited testimonial. There's nothing like a neutral "Attagirl" to get points with "the Dad."

Daughter, During a "How to Pass Cyclists" Driver Training Lesson, Described HERE
The glow remains even now. It's good to know that sometimes our kids pay attention. Just sayin' that sometimes, it's good to hear these kids are sometimes smarter than they appear. Or maybe, I'm just being a proud papa. Either way, at least for today, YOU GO GIRL!

The Favored One, Modeling Raingear for This Blog


MamaVee said...

love it.

Steve I channeled you today as I took that road that narrows after the light. I arrived at the light perhaps three or four cars in and as traffic was slowing down I was able to maneveur right behind the car in front of me. Then I held my ground and remained in the middle of the lane not allowing anyone to pass me until I cleared the narrow part and felt like I had a safe place to move over to. I had quite a few cars behind me but I stayed true. I also showed them that I was working and pedaled fast.

I also noted that a cyclist passed me well before that light not saying anything. He passed me fairly closely and his hi vis coat startled me out of the corner of my eye as I didn't hear him. Whatever- I noticed he hugged the curb at that narrow part that I mentioned above. oh and I also made TWO left had turns in Left hand turn only lanes. ( traffic was light )

thanks! I like channeling you- I feel badassed.

Steve A said...

Mama Vee,
While, like most of these rules, the proper answer is "it depends," MOST motorists are a lot more favorably disposed towards a cyclist controlling the lane that stopped in his/her turn compared to one that zipped forward. They get a lot snippier if they have to pass you TWICE. Mostly, you get the first pass with no bad feelings.

One thing that can make both you AND the motorists feel better in your situation is to wave "thanks" when you reach the point where you can safely move over. I believe it makes the motorists feel better about having been patient and that you weren't simply being "nasty." Mostly, they wave back as they go by.

Pondero said...

Great example, great offspring, great story.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Steve that stock shot of the cyclist creating doubt is classic, with those curbs too. I'm going to show it to my daughters. And I always try to wave to motorists after successful negotiations. Unless they are your daughter. Then I will just nod respectfully.

Cycling Smarter said...

Steve, thanks for all you do. I sometimes wish I could write well enough to blog successfully but when I see posts like this and your "it depends" I future all is not lost.

MamaVee said...

Good point re wave. However I fear I'll fall over if I lift a hand. Remember my heart is pumping due to anxiety and trying to ride at my fastest. Will try though.

Steve A said...

Three simple tricks - slow down - you look incredibly slow to the imagination of any motorist behind you. Do a hand signal a little early - motorists are fascinated by this and will be extra patient since they know the SLOW cyclist is planning something. You can also use the hand of the arm you are signaling with to give a little wave. Finally, if unsure, go practice in a parking lot until you know you are not at risk. A fall in a parking lot may not be fun, but a fall in front of a garbage truck is not something I ever want to experience - even if no harm is done. Remember - cycling should be fun and safe.

Anonymous said...

Good post. Come to Seattle and teach.
Linda A

cafiend said...

It would be even more encouraging if the excellent drivers were random strangers rather than the offspring of a thoughtful cyclist and teacher. Still, great job.

I remain disappointed that the majority of members of my own generation didn't see the logic in doing some things that would be good for themselves and for the quality of life in our civilization, but at least they made things enough worse that the current generation of young people can't overlook the things that should be done. There are some great young adults around here doing amazing things. I hope it works.

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