Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Wave Through - Cycling Road Rules

It’s not exactly like being the money bag holding accomplice in a bank robbery, but I’m stilly pretty sure the law would frown upon it.  On the other side, like holding a door open at the supermarket or getting a sympathy card when your pet passes away, it’s a nice little gesture.  I appreciate the thought and consideration, but I also get the willies when I get the wave through.  As a cyclist, courtesy can have consequences.

Last night, I got the wave through.  I came upon an awkward stop sign intersection, Amsterdam and Sleepy Hollow near the town of Park Hills, KY if you want to see it on Google maps.  

The intersection is on the side of a hill.  Traffic heading west on Sleepy Hollow and south on Amsterdam hits a brake standing stop sign on a steep slope.  Traffic heading North and East are going awkwardly uphill, not quite on the brink of rolling backwards without the brakes.  I was headed South on Amsterdam, downhill.  The SUV headed west, got to the stop slightly before me and was next in rotation to cross.  They didn’t move.  I looked at them and the driver behind the dark glass waved me though.  “Maybe they ride bikes too,” I thought.  Before I could clip my foot back in, they waved again.  “Ugh,” I reconsidered, “they're trying to be nice in an antsy way.”  This is where it gets scary.  Hesitation is followed by impatience, which leads to carnage.  Since there was a car across from me and a car across from them in the intersection waiting, I had to act.

I clipped in and zipped safely across.  Thinking about it today, I wonder what would happened if I kept my foot down and gave them a “no, you go and follow the rules of the road” wave of my own.  I’m guessing they or one of the other cars at the intersection would’ve nailed the gas and blown through the intersection in a huff.  I also could’ve just sat there, pretended to fiddle with my equipment at the curb and waited the traffic out.  The more I think about it, it’s was probably best to do the most predictable thing at the moment.  First I waited my turn at the intersection.  When the driver waved me through, the next predictable thing was to just go.  I think predictable gets you home in one piece.  Patience also works pretty good.


Anonymous said...

sometimes i pretend i need to tighten my shoe straps or check my gel/clif bar stash, just so drivers will clear an intersection so i can pass safely. --shannon

Joe Biker said...

Yesterday, I did something similar too, just fiddled with my front brake and waved the cars through. Much better than taking my turn and then getting passed by a bunch of cars 10 seconds later.

Of course ran into the guy that speeds up only to make a right turn in front of you a block later. Love that dude.

jeff said...

If I only un-clipped one shoe I have to concentrate on not leaning the wrong way or I'll fall over (he's no fun) (Firesign Theatre).