Traffic can be intense. There are plenty of things happening on our streets that are dangerous, rude and frustrating. Mostly it is a few bad apples but even the best of us have a bad moment every once and a while.
Cyclists can be quite self righteous at times. I’m certainly guilt as charged. We all know of the challenges created by automobile overuse and are often not shy to remind others. If a person in a car breaks a rule that places me at risk, I certainly will let them know. I have a loud voice and can use it to a good effect.
For some unknown reason, however, what really seems to piss off quite a few two-wheelers is drivers who stop for them when they are not required to.
Hard to say why they are stopping. Maybe they think the same rules apply to pedestrians apply to cyclists. If they took their test years ago, they may not have had any questions on cyclists. Maybe they didn’t think you were going to stop. Bicycles can stop quickly. It is often hard to tell the difference between a cyclist who is going to stop and one who is not. Maybe it is a busy road that is really hard to cross. I’ve been glad a few times when drivers have stopped for me on such a road. Also, don’t forget that the driver is a metre or two behind the front of the car. They may not be sure that they arrived first at a four-way stop.
Whatever the reason, cautious behaviour is typically safer. If anyone is not sure that someone in a car or on a bike is going to stop, it is best to slowdown or stop. A stopped car is much safer than a moving one. Other drivers should always be prepared for the vehicle in front of them to stop anyway by following at a safe distance and speed.
Now there is the problem of one drivers stopping and drivers in other lanes not stopping. In this case, it is your responsibility if you are cycling or walking to make sure that vehicles have stopped before you pass in front of them. Don’t blame the cautious driver for the reckless actions of others.
With all the bad road behaviour that has been proven to cost lives, injury people and damage property, why waste any time worrying about someone being nice even if they are not following the rules exactly. Unless you can prove that this a big problem or even a minor risk to anyone, there is no point in doing anything about it. It would only take resources away from the enforcement of laws that matter or educating drivers and cyclists on other, more important issues.
This would be roughly my prioritization of things that drivers do to get pissed off at:
- Running red lights
- NOT stopping at stop signings
- NOT yielding as required
- Drinking then driving
- Drinking while driving
- Throwing the empties at cyclists
- Having sex while driving
- Having unprotected sex while driving
- Watching others have sex while driving
- Texting while driving
- Sexting while driving
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Shaving (face)
- Shaving (legs)
- Opening the door without looking
- Parking in bike lanes
- Driving in bike lanes
- Driving into bike stores
- Passing to close
- Eating a messy burger
- Making a messy burger
- Flossing while driving
10,001. Stopping for a cyclist when the driver has the right-of-way
The bottom line is that getting angry at people that are just being nice makes cyclists look like jerks. It is rather sad that we live traffic-filled lives where courtesy is treated like a crime.
My advice. Nod thanks or wave nicely at them, make sure the coast is clear and be on your way. Be happy that there is at least one cautious, courteous person that has crossed your path today.