Thursday, October 2, 2008

Training drivers

A while back, Yehuda Moon mentioned that drivers are trained to deal with a bicycle commuter. You know, the idea that the motorists are used to seeing a bike, so they give you a little more respect?

I generally take the same route at about the same time every day. I think I may have trained the drivers on my commute.

Exhibit One:
I ride past the Mars Pet Care plant each day. I am guessing that they start a shift at 7:00 because of the number of cars heading into the parking lot. Until recently, that was a frightening part of my trip. Cars would zoom past me just to hit the brakes and make a quick right into the parking lot. Now, they give me the space I need to be safe.

Exhibit Two:
There are two weird parts of my commute where I have to get into the left lane for a turn. For some reason, traffic is always heavy when I have to switch lanes. It used to be that I would wait for a tiny opening and force myself in it. Now, cars are starting to slow down and letting me in.

Exhibit Three:
This is my favorite example. There are three people I see on my commute every day. There is the older guy who is walking and smoking a cigarette. I love his, "Keep it up," everyday. The second guy is always at the bus stop drinking coffee. Everyday, he raises his cup of coffee to me. Finally, and probably my favorite, is the lady who is walking down Treemont everyday. She always smiles and says good morning. After the recent windstorm, I did not see her for more than a week. I was a bit worried about her. Then, when I saw her again this week, she told me that she missed me.

I do not know if they just respect me or if they are just used to seeing me. Either way, I like it.

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1 comment:

Pete Dawson said...

Great post. My buddy and I at work discuss this same topic. We both commute most days and we are both HS teachers. Mornings around here (suburban Philadelphia) are way better than afternoons -- mornings have less traffic, and the drivers are focused and are pretty cool. Afternoons are crazy, too many cars, too many moms/teenagers/drivers not focused on task at hand.

I ride through a college on my way to school, and I see a elderly man, who is a college van driver every day, and he always says hi. Makes my day.