On my regular commuting ride this morning, I turned right from the western end of Lexington Road onto Baxter Avenue which, after a block, merges into E. Jefferson Street. Approaching this intersection from the southeast, I merged into the left lane to turn south. As I signaled a left turn and coasted slowly waiting for a green light, a motorist in the lane to my right turned to me and said, "You play by the rules! You're using your turn signal - that's great!" We shared friendly greetings and went on our respective ways when the light turned green.
Many (most?) motorists notice bicyclists and our behavior. They appreciate when we do the right thing. Motorists give me more friendly waves and "thank you" comments than horn blasts and angry gestures. I might arrive at work a minute later some mornings because I came to a complete stop rather than rolling a stop sign, or because I yielded to another driver or two rather than squeezing into the smallest possible opening when making a left turn or a right turn on red. Experiencing appreciation instead of hostility from fellow road users more than repays that minimal delay. If enough of us ride this way, we'll start to turn around the scofflaw image that besets bicyclists. A better image with motorists will remove big barriers in our work toward making our region a great place for bicycling.