I’ve grown up in a family where trying to rebel is actually impossible. I could cover myself in tattoos (The two I have are barely worth a second glance), get facial piercings and dye my hair bright red, and my parents would barely flicker an eyelid.
Whilst most parents shudder at the idea of their daughter being brought home via motorbike…. mine can tell what sort of bike it is from the kitchen, with the blinds drawn.
Coming from a family where two wheels (or three if we are talking about Papa Pigeon’s Trike) are predominant, I sort of knew that I’d find myself in a relationship in which I’d end up on the back of a bike somehow, even it meant I wasn’t pillion and I was single. I’ve added a pillion definition for my American (and some British) readers. Yeah…there’s biker lingo.
P loves taking Gladys (that’s his girl in the piccie up top) out for a spin, and I try to head out with him as much as is possible. And what I have noticed recently as we gallop along, me sitting happy as larry in pillion, is the lack of road etiquette.
For those who don’t know, when a biker spots a fellow on the road, he or she gives a little nod. This is usually not noticed at all by car users, but it’s a little camaraderie and respect between those who are a minority on the road and those who try to look out for each other. We’ve been pulled over in a lay-by, looking for directions on P’s phone when another bike has done a U-turn in the road to come sort us out and point us in the right direction. It’s a nice feeling to know that we have ‘friends’ on the road.
Something else that a lot of bikers do, is thank cars for pulling up tight to the kerb so they can pass as traffic is moving. I make sure I always thank as we pass, as P is often manoeuvering and requiring both hands, but he does almost always remember to stick his hand out in thanks too.
So why is it so hard for car drivers to say thank you? I bomb down some small country lanes on my daily commute and always say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ by a little raise of the hand when it is required. In fact, most of the time, I don’t even need to take my hand off the steering wheel. 5 out of the 20 cars I passed this morning didn’t thank me for pulling in to aid their passing or letting them go. Ridiculous no? Just a flip of the hand is all this commuter is asking for.
So if a biker, who also is trying to watch the road (potholes can actually KILL you know), steer, indicate, mind my mirrors and stop his visor steaming up on a cold day, can thank me as he passes, could my fellow car commuters do the same?
I’m climbing off my soapbox now…but does this actually bother anyone else?!