A few months ago my girlfriend faced to quite different experiences in one day. First a guy tried to run her off the road. Then 30 seconds later cursed her out at a traffic light when she pulled up beside him. Later that day in the same intersection someone rolled down their window at a traffic light. She was expecting the worst. The driver said ” thanks for stopping at a red light”.
The whole thing made me think about how we act on the road as bicyclists, pedestrians and even at the wheel of Zipcar. Are there things we can do to make our fellow users feel like we’re paying attention? Even better can we make each other smile or feel good about an interaction on the street?
To address this be-kind-to-each-other-thing, I worked with Nina Garfinkle to set up Civilstreets.org — this is a website associated with a little sticker. The sticker is there to remind us to be kind to each othe and also hopefully generate some conversations:
What constitutes a civil street?
What’s good behavior? When should we obey or disobey traffic laws? Is there a way to do that gracefully? Does it matter if no one is looking (4AM)?
Yes it would be nice to figure all those things out. In the mean time let us talk to our friends and neighbors in the street. I hope you’ll join the conversation by getting a sticker (civilstreets.org) and engaging your friends and fellow road-neighbors in generating more smiles as we move about.