Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mutual Courtesy And Making Eye Contact

A motorist mowed down a bicyclist pedaling in a bike lane in Hernando County and drove away in a Silverado pickup truck on US 19 on Sunday. Two months ago, a speeding motorist killed veterinarian Robert Niedbalec of Temple Terrace while he biked in a bike lane along Fletcher Avenue Feb. 13

Those killings sicken me.

Which is why when I bike I try and make eye contact or motion my arms for every motorist I can see or hear. I wave, give them a fist pump and flash a peace sign.

I want every motorist to see me as a human being -- not a lifeless figure on a bicycle.

If there's no traffic coming at me in an opposing lane, I wave motorists around me. If there traffic in the oncoming lane, I assume my traffic lane and then wave the motorist around me when the coast is clear.

Most motorists appreciate the hand signals and connections. Many motorists wave or offer a thumbs up.

We have a long way to go to get motorists to understand that a bicycle is a vehicle with a legal right to the road and that they're required to pass a bicyclist by a minimum berth of three feet.

But mutual courtesy goes a long way in staying safe on the roads of Tampa Bay.

1 comment:

Jen said...


I completely agree with you. As bicyclists in this area where we have so much trouble, these small actions can ease the way and begin to change the dynamic. There is almost an expectation of discourteousness and of law breaking. By smiling, waving, acknowledging that we, as the slower vehicle, are aware of the delay we are causing (and mitigating it by letting vehicles pass), and abiding by the law (riding predictably), we can go a long way to changing the relationship between bicyclists and motorists.

Thanks for this post.