We're all familiar with the awful concept of road rage. Most motorists feel it occasionally, and you've never met an urban cyclist or parent of a double buggy trying to pass a car parked on the pavement if you haven't also experienced it from non-car drivers. However, this is a post in praise of the antithesis of road rage, the road grin.
This morning, I was negotiating a zebra crossing across a dual carriageway (if you know Bristol, the one by St Mary, Redcliffe). As usual in Bristol, most drivers stopped immediately to let me cross. But a van driver continued as far as the traffic would allow, stopping right across the crossing. As I walked around the front of the van, I gave the driver a classic Paddington hard stare. But rather than the usual avoiding of eye contact, he looked straight at me with a sheepish grin that clearly said 'Whoops! Sorry!' I couldn't help but smile back (though to maintain Britishness, I only did this after I had looked away).
It is my contention that if we had rather more road grins we might have significantly less road rage.