Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Patience lacking; patience rewarded

On Saturday, I took my first long recreational ride in several months - to and from Corydon from a few miles east of downtown Louisville. After bouncing around on city streets through Louisville, Clarksville, and New Albany, the ride gets more rural as it climbs Edwardsville Hill on Corydon Pike. The last 13 miles or so follows Corydon Ridge Road, winding around and over roller-coaster hills into Corydon. Household tasks kept me home until midday, so I rode through the heat of the day. The temperature hit 97 F, making the hilly ride especially challenging.

Nonetheless, I was thrilled to be riding on country roads again. Even with the march of suburbia out Corydon Ridge Road over the past 6 or 8 years, it still feels a whole lot different than riding around town. All of those new housing developments mean more automotive traffic, though. Most of the drivers waited patiently behind me when blind curves or hill crests made it impossible for them to judge the safety of passing. A few drivers suffered from what I call impatience-induced psychosis. They risked head-on collisions to pass when they could not possibly see whether the left lane had oncoming traffic. Who in their right mind would risk their life and the lives of at least two other people in order to save no more than 30 seconds?

This morning, a friend shared a very different experience. He is an elite road racer who rides many thousands of miles each year. He was riding downtown alternately falling behind and catching up with a police car. When they both stopped at a traffic signal, the young officer rolled down his window and said, "It's nice to see a bicyclist obeying the laws." My friend was pleased that the officer would make a point to notice and thank him for his patience - stopping at stop lights. When we drive, let's thank bicyclists who do the right thing. When we ride, let's thank motorists who treat us with respect. It may not take anything more than common courtesy for us to stem the much-ballyhooed (but still unproven) rise of road rage between bicyclists and motorists.

1 comment:

purple haze said...

I agree! It's pleasant to see polite road users, whatever mode of transportation they use. When motorists show more than typical patience in getting around me, I make a point of waving with all five fingers--a combination of "Safe travels to you, too!" and "Thank you for seeing me and taking a moment to be kind!"