Something strange happened while riding today: cars were giving me lots of room when passing. On multiple occasions cars — and trucks even! — slowed behind me and waited for a clear chance to pass.
No horns honking. No shouts from drivers as they passed. No aggressive accelerations as they went by (yeah, I always love that … like it really makes a bold statement).
I gave a wave of ‘thanks’ to drivers a half-dozen times.
This couldn’t be just an odd coincidence, so I’m concluding that it’s something with the drivers here in the area — from Greenville, SC up into NC. Maybe it’s because George Hincapie is pretty well known around here. Or maybe it’s because so many people here cycle, or come here to cycle.
Or maybe the local cycling community has done something to engender such ‘sharing of the road’.
I stopped for coffee in Saluda, NC and a local guy struck up a conversation, asking where I had ridden from, which way I was going back, etc. Said he used to ride a lot too. I mentioned the drivers, and he said that people are used to bikes on the road.
But back at home people are “used to” bikes on Chagrin River Road, but that only seems to make it worse.
Something else is going on, and I’m guessing that it’s something about attitude. They just accept — however that came to be — that it’s OK for bikes to be on the road. They are not viewed only as an impediment or an inconvenience. I felt this way riding around Europe also. People don’t question that bikes belong on the road. Everyone knows someone who rides. It’s not a problem.
I wish I knew how to transplant this attitude. It would mean fewer riders in the hospital — or worse — as a consequence of road rage and impatient driving.
I think it would be healthier for driver’s mental health too. If only they could see it that way.