Do you "thank" drivers? Gestures of appreciation

Cheeseface22
Cheeseface22 Posts: 133
edited February 2019 in Commuting chat
figbat posted something on this thread (Do you take back or main roads for commute?) which I think worth starting a separate thread on. His quote:
figbat wrote:
Since doing more road riding I have become far more patient with cyclists and will happily follow a cyclist for as long as it takes to make sure I can pass them safely*; I'm often (but not always) rewarded with a thank-you wave as I pass, something I also do when on the bike if I recognise that somebody has taken care of my safety.

I completely agree with showing appreciation to drivers. Courteous drivers have a collective gesture such as full-beam flash (to let someone in front, or warning), raising a hand (as thank you), or flashing blinkers (for thank you, or warning). And I think we should have something equivalent as cyclists. Not mandatory signs like turning left or right, but “unofficial” sign to show some appreciation.

When I filter through a slow or stop-start traffic, I often get many cars shuffling to give me more space between the lanes. So, I raise my hand, or make an obvious nod if I can’t let my hand off the bar, to appreciate their courteous gesture. Nice bikers do that as well don’t they.

Another example, when I make right turn, obviously I look behind, put my right arm out, and look behind again just before turning. But just before turning, I take my right arm again to gesture “thank you for waiting / slowing down.”

I also do something similar when I KNOW I have to manoeuvre significantly to avoid pot holes or deeply recessed drains ahead; I look back and if a car is behind or approaching, I put my right arm 45degrees down, manoeuvre and come back to secondary position, and raise my right hand to gesture "thank you for staying back" as well as to show "I completed the manoeuvre.”

I think courteous gestures like these can help diffuse some feelings of inconvenience and irritation by drivers caused by cyclists and instantly makes the mood less negative and hopefully positive.

But I also think there’s a balance of not overcomplicating the gestures (thus causing confusion on what your intent is) and getting too distracted to gesture and losing control…

What sort of signs do you use to show your appreciation to drivers?
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Comments

  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,086
    I do.
    Absolutely ridiculous to thank someone for not breaking the law, not trying to hit you and not being a dickhead, but I often find that I do

    Sign of the times I think.
  • Yes
  • hopkinb
    hopkinb Posts: 7,129
    Yep. Most drivers will hang back to let me pass a bus or a slow moving bike or whatever, I'll acknowledge that, just as I would in a car. Some will flash to let you turn right in front of them, care needed, but I'll acknowledge that. Equally, I'll signal that a driver can turn right in front of me if e.g. I'm slowing for a red light, and they'll acknowledge that. Just road awareness and courtesy really.
  • Yeah I always try to raise my hand/nod or give a thumbs up etc. Don't hurt!
  • mtb-idle
    mtb-idle Posts: 2,179
    yeah me too. A simple wave of acknowledgement. Can be deployed on a number of different occasions:

    - car in side road on left, sees you and doesn't pull out. Raise left hand in acknowledgement
    - road narrowing ahead with traffic island, car pulls up behind you and slows down so avoiding the squeeze; raise right hand wave or thumbs up gesture
    - I'm on outside of moving traffic and it starts to move quicker than me so i pull into the left of the road; raise left or right hand to thank car for letting me pull in

    It's not difficult and I feel it has a positive effect in showing that we aren't all rule-flouting morons
    FCN = 4
  • awavey
    awavey Posts: 2,368
    I dont on the whole, unless theyve gone specifically out of their way to wait to let me pass, I dont see the point in thanking people for driving how they are supposed to. plus hand signals can be easily misinterpreted,
  • mtb-idle
    mtb-idle Posts: 2,179
    EDIT: double post
    FCN = 4
  • A wave and a thumbs up does no harm if conditions allow. Same as if someone pulls over to let you past even if it's your right of way.

    It's nice to be nice.
  • figbat
    figbat Posts: 680
    Whilst I agree that thanking people for not breaking the law is potentially redundant, for me it is about showing others that not all cyclists are lawless, self-obsessed, red-light-jumping, pavement-riding hooligans. Also, I’m often acknowledging that I know I have got in your way and I appreciate that you have been patient and courteous.

    As above, when filtering on my motorbike if someone moves over to make room I’ll thank them with a nod, wave or foot waggle (depending on which control I can leave). When filtering in long queues on motorways or dual carriageways this is quite a lot of thanking, but I don’t stop doing it.
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  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    If they stop and let me through when the road is narrowed by parked cars or similar I'll raise my hand from the bars and if I stop to do likewise I'll expect the same which doesn't always happen.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • lincolndave
    lincolndave Posts: 9,441
    I always raise my right hand or give them a thumbs up
  • figbat wrote:
    Whilst I agree that thanking people for not breaking the law is potentially redundant, for me it is about showing others that not all cyclists are lawless, self-obsessed, red-light-jumping, pavement-riding hooligans. Also, I’m often acknowledging that I know I have got in your way and I appreciate that you have been patient and courteous.

    You said it to the point again, figbat. Exactly my reason for such gesture.

    I was cycling between primary and secondary position this morning due to risk of icy condition and I admit I was holding up this clearly modified Golf (sticker bomb, fart cans and erratic throttle control) behind. It eventually passed me so I raised my right hand as a sign of "thanks for holding back".

    What do I get? A brake check immediately followed by a kiss of black smoke... either he didn't see my gesture or he thought I was giving the driver the middle finger.

    All other drivers this morning were very courteous given the condition. Well, actually as courteous as any other day.

    Enforces the phrase "Idiots will always be idiots"?

    Nevertheless, I like to think that I'm doing my bits for fellow cyclists by being courteous and appreciative to other road users. And it's also nice to see that there are other cyclists who think and behave the same.
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Yeah of course.
    It's always nice to acknowledge when someone has done something remotely positive towards you on the road as a) it will encourage them to do it again in the future and b) might encourage others who have seen it taking place. When i'm driving and let another car out of a junction for example and they don't acknowledge it, it pisses me off a bit. So, it might be the same for others with cyclists.

    I often find that the people i most often give a thumbs up to are lorry drivers who have deliberately held back and only overtaken when it is appropriate to do so. Now, i know this is only what they are supposed to do, but i'm just happy that they recognise the risk to me and avoid it.
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  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    figbat wrote:
    Whilst I agree that thanking people for not breaking the law is potentially redundant, for me it is about showing others that not all cyclists are lawless, self-obsessed, red-light-jumping, pavement-riding hooligans. Also, I’m often acknowledging that I know I have got in your way and I appreciate that you have been patient and courteous.

    You said it to the point again, figbat. Exactly my reason for such gesture.

    I was cycling between primary and secondary position this morning due to risk of icy condition and I admit I was holding up this clearly modified Golf (sticker bomb, fart cans and erratic throttle control) behind. It eventually passed me so I raised my right hand as a sign of "thanks for holding back".

    What do I get? A brake check immediately followed by a kiss of black smoke... either he didn't see my gesture or he thought I was giving the driver the middle finger.

    All other drivers this morning were very courteous given the condition. Well, actually as courteous as any other day.

    Enforces the phrase "Idiots will always be idiots"?

    Nevertheless, I like to think that I'm doing my bits for fellow cyclists by being courteous and appreciative to other road users. And it's also nice to see that there are other cyclists who think and behave the same.
    Yeah, i had that too once. Gave a thumbs up and he thought i was giving him the w@nker sign.
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  • One of the many things I really like and makes my day is when I'm holding up a bus, lorry or HGV (I can hear their loud engine struggling with slow speed) as there's no space to overtake, I pull in at the next bus stop lay-by or available left junction to get out of their way. I do this often when it's a gradual uphill.

    I often get a big "TOOT TOOT!!" as they pass me without them having to change course. Although it always makes me jump (as they are loud and they tend to do it AS THEY PASS), it's nice to be acknowledged and thanked for being courteous.

    Same feeling goes towards drivers when cyclists do the same I guess. Just makes the dull commute a bit more uplifting (until you get an idiot close pass or do something idiotic).
  • singleton
    singleton Posts: 2,468
    Yes.
    The roads are bad enough without further upsetting or antagonising drivers.
  • figbat wrote:
    As above, when filtering on my motorbike if someone moves over to make room I’ll thank them with a nod, wave or foot waggle (depending on which control I can leave). When filtering in long queues on motorways or dual carriageways this is quite a lot of thanking, but I don’t stop doing it.

    I used to do this on my motorbike/scooter too. But...it'd stress me out more than anything. I'd get so annoyed when some arrogant twunt would rev his engine like a div, I'd move over - adding time to my journey while saving time for his...and he'd race off at some mickey mouse speed without acknowledging because he's a div.

    Just emphasises a point that someone else made, some people are utter twunts no matter what you do
  • On the odd occasion someone respects my right of way, try to give them a quick raised hand.

    On the even odder occasion that a ped moves to one side or actually controls their dog when I ding them on the shared used cycle lane I say thanks. If they are in the cycle lane, completely ignoring the pedestrian part, the thanks is usually pretty sarcastic. The exception is kids, they get a thanks either way, generally not their fault they are totally ignorant to cycle path etiquette...it's generally their parents fault.
  • I'll thank people if they make extra space when I'm filtering, and will occasionally thank people for respecting when I have right of way. Try not to do that too much though - I shouldn't really have to signal 'thanks for not ploughing into me.'

    Saying that, I did have a nice moment a couple of weeks ago when a pedestrian waved me through a crossing as he arrived at it when I was clearly giving it the beans.
  • i am always courteous to drivers, in the same way as i am typically British and apologise throughout the day for stuff that is patently never my fault.
    it's a social lubricant - it eases the sociability of all in stressful confined conditions (confined = stuck in traffic, for us and the cars).

    I get passive-aggressive in thanking d!ckh3ads too, giving a cheery wave and "thank you" when i finally sail past them.
    For the very worst behaviour, i bring out the big guns of a cheerful kiss blown in their direction.

    I could get all aggressive back, waving my fists and fingers and shouting / banging on the bodywork. It would then provoke further aggression from them, either by direct retaliation or on the next poor unsuspecting cyclist who hoves into their view.
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  • I'l give wave or thumbs up to courteous drivers simply because it's nice to be nice to each other.

    Another thing I do when on the bike is if I'm first in line waiting at some traffic control going into a single lane, when the lights go green I'll wave the cars by (if there's not too many) rather than hold them up. Again, it's just being nice and courteous to each other and they'll often wave a thanks as they pass.
  • Another thing I do when on the bike is if I'm first in line waiting at some traffic control going into a single lane, when the lights go green I'll wave the cars by (if there's not too many) rather than hold them up. Again, it's just being nice and courteous to each other and they'll often wave a thanks as they pass.

    I don't do to that extent but when I'm at intersection waiting for lights, when lanes merge or the road narrows, I usually shimmy a bit towards the left side on the intersection or before the road narrows so that one or two cars behind me can pass with ease.

    When I'm at traffic lights, I tend to stay with the queue (as to creeping up to the front for the queue and eventually holding up the cars again that just passed you) or stay behind the first car. So that cars can't blame me for slow traffic.

    It's so nice to hear that not all cyclists are self-righteous, self-entitled, agressive, pesky nuisance on the road.
  • awavey
    awavey Posts: 2,368
    It's so nice to hear that not all cyclists are self-righteous, self-entitled, agressive, pesky nuisance on the road.

    no those are the ones stuck in the metal boxes, sorry forgive me but Im not dothing my casquette their way just for doing the job of not being arrogant so and so's who think they can just chuck a ton of metal towards me, to intimidate me out of their way.

    they are doing the minimum I expect if they drive safely around me, I dont see why I should thank them for doing it.
  • It's so nice to hear that not all cyclists are self-righteous, self-entitled, agressive, pesky nuisance on the road.
    It's not really a cycling thing. Whether I'm cycling, driving or walking it's just nice to be nice and it makes life less stressful.

    It's sad to read of some tales here of people who set out upon their bike with an antagonistic view and then, surprise surprise, find themsleves antagonised by the environment. Ultimately that is their choice.
  • Why not? In general, there's nothing wrong with a bit of courtesy, in the form of a simple gesture of appreciation. Makes me feel a bit happier for it and I hope it's the same for the other party.
  • wolfsbane2k
    wolfsbane2k Posts: 3,056
    Sometimes I do - when it's safe to do so, and they've really highlighted their awareness through hanging back, going above and beyond etc ( like overtaking fully in the other lane, when I'm in secondary in a really wide lane)

    The problem that I have in doing this is that this seems to empower some who believe they deserve it to get grumpy when you don't give them their little "boost", especially if they've barely met the standards)

    I've previously had someone grump at me at lights for not saying "thanks" for a reasonably poor MGIF overtake where they barely gave me 1m.
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  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    yup - if they've had a prolonged wait or gone above what I'd expect - I give them a wave when they start their overtake - but only when I know I've held them up beyond a second or two (which is what most of them are).

    As per CF22 - I do (where possible) pull out of the way of a larger vehicle that will struggle to get past within the next minute or two - it's usually on a climb - doesn't cost me more than a couple of seconds - and actually, I'd rather they weren't behind me.... I usually get a "thanks toot" for my efforts.

    Talking of the larger vehicles - I'll usually indicate when they've passed me - ie I'm clear of the back of their vehicle - that way they can return to the left side of the carriageway knowing they'll not hit me - whether they take any notice of me or not I've no idea - but I can imagine that it's a bit tricky judging the overtake when you've got vehicles coming towards you (not close - but close enough).

    I'm not out there to hold anyone up - I'm out there to get to work (or back) - and on a commute you'll often get the same drivers day after day ... why not be nice?
  • bartimaeus
    bartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    hopkinb wrote:
    Yep. Most drivers will hang back to let me pass a bus or a slow moving bike or whatever, I'll acknowledge that, just as I would in a car. Some will flash to let you turn right in front of them, care needed, but I'll acknowledge that. Equally, I'll signal that a driver can turn right in front of me if e.g. I'm slowing for a red light, and they'll acknowledge that. Just road awareness and courtesy really.

    Very much this... road awareness and courtesy.
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  • pastryboy
    pastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Yes. If it's a 50/50 where they might turn across my path but instead they waited then I acknowledge them for being the right kind of 50.
  • figbat
    figbat Posts: 680
    I was thinking of this post just last night. I had just left work in my car and pulled onto a narrow country lane behind a cyclist. There was a touch-and-go overtake option but I didn’t take it because I knew the car behind me, who was right on my bumper, would try and follow. I also knew the cyclist and knew they would be turning right in a hundred metres or so, so stayed behind them, to the frustration of the car behind. The cyclist duly indicated and turned right, acknowledging my patience and I carried on my way. The driver behind me no doubt had me down as some kind of dawdler but I couldn’t care less.
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