December 15, 2006

About those Driving Habits

Filed under: whatever — Brian @ 8:06 pm

I’ve got a post in me about the difference between driving “politely” and driving “correctly.” This is not it.

The Rules of the Road are there so that people know what to expect of each other. If you have to make eye contact with another driver in order to make a safe turn or merge, then you’re not making a safe turn or merge. You’re agreeing to break the rules, and put yourselves and those around you at risk.

I see this most often in the “kind” people who “let” someone turn left in front of them – either across a lane of traffic that should be moving, or out of a sidestreet onto a main one. The problem I anticipated is that people coming out of that sidestreet will come to expect this “kindness” and turn out in front of someone who’s going to follow the rules and not stop.

That exact thing happened at my old neighborhood.

It turns out that that’s not the only reason not to make up the rules by silent nod, nod, wink, wink consensus at every corner. Laura Young has a few of them (including not setting up kids on bikes to get run over!)

(Found via the “Carnival of Family Life“, which I just discovered today through the place where I look for the “Carnival of Homeschool.”


1 Comment »

  1. These are pet peeves for me, as well. We just encountered one of them on our bike ride yesterday, in fact, when we were waiting in the turn lane of one of the busiest roads in town to make a left turn onto a side street. An oncoming car inexplicably came to a halt a half block in front of us and tried to wave us to make our turn while she waited for us. Fortunately, there was no other traffic around her, or she might have been rear-ended. However, I refused her offer, first with a wave of my hand and then with a violent shake of my head when she refused to take the first hint.

    These sorts of “niceties” are insulting and dangerous to cyclists, as they reinforce the perception that bicycles aren’t “real vehicles” with the same rights and responsibilities as cars. And when cyclists violate the rules of the road — even for something as apparently innocuous as accepting a gesture of politeness — we’re complicit in reinforcing that perception.

    Whew. Better climb off my soapbox now… ;-)

    Comment by Eric — December 17, 2006 @ 1:25 pm

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