respect is a two way street
respect is a two way street

To get respect one must first give respect.

I first heard this saying from the head of the JROTC program way back in high school. The point is that one must show respect in order to be respected. A simple but deeply meaningful notion. One that I have integrated into my behavior within society. And it was my reply to the pedestrian who thanked me for waiting until for the green light before making my way into the intersection.

Here are some suggestions to increase the mutual respect between drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

For Cyclists

Shoaling

Don't do it. The reason the person already at the intersection got there before you is the same reason they are going to be 'tailgating' you intentionally for the next several blocks. Simply put, they most likely are faster than you.

Shoaling

"Shoaling" specifically refers to the act of stopping in front of somebody. Moreover, it's called shoaling because then the next person pulls over in front of that person, and then the next person pulls up in front of that person, etcetera ad nauseum and so forth. The resulting mass of humanity then starts curving in the direction of traffic as it enters the intersection, and the entire mechanism resembles a sandbar, or shoal, hence the word.

Bells

The only thing they accomplish is making the other cyclists around aware that you are a nOOb. Vehicles aren't going to hear you just as other amateurs with their headphones in both ears won't either. Pedestrians might scatter when then hear your annoying ding ding but there are better ways to encourage them to vacate your current vector. Examples being using your words (the one's that come out of your mouth) and my personal favorite, increasing your speed and breezing by them close enough that the wind from your passing conveys the message that they might have just done something unsafe.

Going the wrong way

Sometimes it can't be helped but it would be ideal to not put others at risk by doing something that I can't imagine you wouldn't realize is incorrect. Otherwise known as ‘Salmoning’, it should be avoided unless all alternatives are less safe to both yourself AND others around you.

Stopping in the Bike Lane

If you really can't wait to send that text message, then stepping onto the curb is the courteous way to go about it.

Headphones

One ear only? Move along, nothing to see here.
Binaural? Keep them on. Turn up your music as loud as you can. I am going to hope that the problem solves itself on this one.

Lights

This one goes both ways.

When riding at night, please use lights on your bike. Not only does it help you see the road in front of you, but it also allows others to see you. Have you ever seen a car driving at night without lights on? Extremely dangerous. A set of lights can be had for as low as 10 dollars.

On the other hand, having a flashing light that would otherwise be used for riot control is just as wrong. In fact, it is worse. At least the people without lights are not going around blinding oncoming traffic. Be mindful of where your light is pointed and if at any time it is into the eyes of other cyclists make the necessary adjustments.

For Pedestrians

Crossing against the light

Almost everyone is guilty of this, myself included, so I am certainly not going to say you shouldn't. Instead I pose the question: would you cross if there was an oncoming car or truck?

The last car goes through the intersection and you decide to impatiently step off the curb even though you see a bike going through the intersection. Ask yourself this question: if that bike moving at that speed were to plow right into me, would that hurt? Answer: probably. Maybe not as much as a car but still enough to ruin your day.

Conviction

Have some. Especially when you decide to cross against the light and there are bicyclists obeying their green light. These same bikers saw you well before they entered the intersection and had a diversion vector planned before you even turned and became a deer in the headlights.
The best thing you can do as a pedestrian in this situation is to make up your mind immediately. Ideally, you will decide to continue in your poorly chosen direction of travel since we will have held the expectation that you might never see us coming to begin with. Less than ideally, you might stop and jump back onto the curb. That is ok too since it is not too much trouble to cancel any changes in direction on our part.
But when you lack conviction and cannot decide what to do once realizing the folly of your choice to not regard hazard you become unpredictable and subsequently you get hurt.

For Drivers

Use your turn signals

Indicating your intentions when it comes to changing direction is one of the most helpful things you can do to improve the safety of everyone on the road, not just cyclists. It allows others to know your intentions on the road and thereby adjust accordingly.

Turning Left across a bike lane

All I can suggest here is to be mindful of the space between the front your vehicle and the rear of the one in front of you should there be someone ahead waiting to turn. The reason being is cyclists will often tend to go to the right behind the first car waiting to turn. If there is no gap here, they either will wait or attempt to go in front of the first car instead. Often this driver is trying to time the gap in pedestrians and adding a biker to the mix does not help that cause.

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