Time to start thanking motorists
Driving in the south of France a few years ago I was struck by a curious trick of motorcyclists. They raised their right foot if I allowed them to overtake me. They were in fact thanking me. Having realised this I started to look for opportunities to be thanked some more. As a driver in London, I find that many bus drivers do the same if you let them out ahead of you by flashing their rear lights. And, again, I find it really affects my attitude and behaviour.
Cyclists are well placed to do the same. As a regular London cyclist I now consciously look for opportunities to reward and thank thoughtful motorists and pedestrians. In my two mile daily commute I normally find several people I can thank.Pedestrians who chose not to put a foot on the zebra crossing because they appreciate that stopping is a hassle for cyclists. The van who lets me change lanes on the Highbury roundabout. Or the driver who stays back on a narrow road of parked cars.The BMW which lets me out at a T junction.
A wave helps or a smile. Best I find is turning an indicating arm into a thumbs up sign when you sense you are being allowed in or whatever.
Some cyclists would say that motorists are the enemy or that they should treat us considerately anyway. Well, maybe they should, but it wouldn't hurt any of us to say thank you. More to the point, I think that it is also a great way of changing their behaviour. Watching for acts of kindness has also changed my behaviour, made me more considerate and appreciative that a lot of motorists watch out for us.