Dear Motorist

Editorial note: Sam Bell (AKA: the “lusty wrench”) is a Cleveland Heights cyclist who submitted this letter to address proper intersection etiquette between cyclists and motorists. If you’d like to add a tip, please leave a comment below.


Dear Motorist,

I appreciate your courtesy in waving my bike through the intersection. But, really, I’d rather you just treated me like another car on the road.

Here’s why:

  • I can’t always see you wave! Whether it’s the reflection of the sun, or just dark at night, your courtesy wave may not get the message across.
  • If I take the wave, and you turn behind me, then I’ll just slow you down. I’d rather have you out front where I can see you, and where you can get to your destination on time.
  • While ensuring that I’ve interpreted your wave correctly, I’m losing valuable energy! If you just go, I can conserve my momentum.
  • You may be inadvertently waving me into oncoming traffic… This puts me in a tough spot, and I could get hurt.
  • All I really want is predictability. Just treat me like another car on the road, and we’ll all get along.

One last thing: If I meet you at an intersection, I promise I won’t wave you on when I should just take my turn.



  1. ChrisHarvan on November 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    AMEN! I would like to add that waving cyclists through often aggravates drivers behind the more patient motorist and creates a traffic snarl. So, indeed, treating us like traffic is preferred.

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