Motorist Tip of the Week, 3

Smile.

Riding home from work on Wednesday, coming down International Blvd, a woman in a white Lexus was coming out of the driveway of her office complex. Now, any cyclist knows that driveways, especially office driveways at quitting time, are some of the most dangerous bits of road. Knowing this, I make it a point to lock eyes with a motorist as I approach, looking deep into his or her soul to determine if it is safe for me to proceed. When I saw this woman, I hesitated for a half second because she was looking away from me, to her right, and I wasn’t sure she’d seen me in her brief glance my way. But, when she turned her head back and our eyes met, she smiled. It was a warm and welcoming smile that said, “take your time, I’ll wait,” and perhaps, “I wish I was out riding my bike,” or, less likely, “you sure look good in that Lycra.”

The point is, the smile went a long way to making me feel safe even after I crossed the driveway in front of her and she turned right and passed me. I knew she understood what often goes unsaid, that, while we had chosen different vehicles, our goal was the same; we both wanted to get home and that stretch of road was no more hers than it was mine.

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