Dealing With The Overly Courteous


We have yet to have had a 10° day in the Kansas City area this summer. Don’t get me wrong, I do NOT have a problem with the cooler temperatures. Last year, July and August gave us afternoon temperatures around 10° to 10° on a regular basis. What I have noticed this year is that the necessity of having a water bottle for my commute seems to be negated; I still freeze a bottle overnight and then freeze it again when I get to the office – I just don’t really need to drink during the 20 minutes I’m on the road when the temperature is in the 80’s.

Still, I was reminded this morning how the water bottle serves other purposes as well. Some people keep them handy to use as a projectile in the event they are threatened by drivers or dogs. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I use mine as a psychological prompt for over-courteous people.

I pulled up to an intersection early in my ride and a driver who had no stop sign and clearly had the right of way stopped to wave me out into my left-hand turn onto a busy street. What these types of drivers don’t understand is that they may, in fact, be waving cyclists into some other on-coming traffic (Fritz calls this the “suicide wave”). Perhaps you’ve gotten into an exchange of waves that goes something like this:

“You go.”
“Thanks, but you go.”
“No, I insist, you go.”
“I really appreciate your looking out for me but, please, you go.”
“I just won’t take -no’ for an answer, you go”

That just gets the driver (and all the cars piling up behind them) miffed at you. The answer to this dilemma is as close as your bottle cage. I now just stop, put a foot on the ground and grab my water bottle to take a drink; off the drivers go and everyone is safe and happy. I use that a lot when I come to parts of the bike/hike path that cross over driveways in the office park. I also use the technique when I get to the door of my building. I appreciate that people want to hold the door open for me as I carry my bike in, but it really is much easier if they go ahead and let me open the door for myself.

Do you encounter people that think they’re doing you a favor when they’re really not being helpful at all? What do you do?

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