Dear Fellow Vehicle Operators,
I left California for six years to ride my motorcycle and drive my car
in the Midwest. Upon my return I was greeted by such irresponsible
vehicle operations, I am scared to be on the freeway with you. First
to the motorcycle riders.
1- loud pipes will not make you safer or more visible. The sound from
your exhaust is going behind you, cars in front of you--at highway
speeds have no clue you are there. If you want to be more visible,
trade in the black leather and black t-shirt for something a little
brighter, like say yellow or orange. That will get you noticed when
someone checks their mirror.
2 - it is a car pool lane, not a drag strip. When I had a discussion
with a very nice CHP officer on the side of the 5 Freeway some years
ago, he said, lane splitting, or lane sharing, is not illegal, but
also not really legal. The guidelines he offered me to prevent a
discussion on the side of the road again was, "split lanes at no more
than 10 mph greater than the flow of traffic and never exceed 45 mph".
Thus, if the traffic is going 65-70, there is no reason for you to
blast past me on my bike at 80 in the car pool lane. Not only is it
stupid, it's illegal, the speed limit is 65.
3 - about lane splitting. Don't be an ass when you do it. The worse
of an image you create getting through traffic, the more bitter those
car drivers are when someone else needs to lane split.
I am not only targeting motorcycle riders in this commentary, Southern
California car drivers are not innocent by any means.
1 - you are not really fooling anyone by holding your cell phone three
inches from your face and using the speaker. In fact I think it makes
you more distracted.
2 - if your kids are blasting Barney or Lord of the Rings so loud in
the backseat entertainments system that you are getting annoyed, have
them shut it off. As an annoyed driver you are much more dangerous to
me on my motorcycle. Think back to the time when kids sat in the back
of the car and listened to whatever their parents wanted on the radio
and got yelled at for acting up. It's ok, they don't need to be that
3 - turn signals come standard on your car for a reason. If, between
the cell phone and coffee cup you can't manage to reach the lever,
stay in your lane until you can.
4 - I recognize that traffic is bad in SoCal, but if you miss your
exit, turn, driveway, etc. Go around the block and get to it on your
second pass. Slamming on your brakes and waiting for the lane to
clear so you can get into the store is not only dangerous, it's plain
I am sure my credentials need to be brought out to support this
commentary. Start with 41 years of motorcycle riding experience in
total with 33 on the street. I spent almost five years as a
California Motorcycle Safety Program instructors and 12 years working
on nationally published motorcycle magazines as a test rider/editor.
By no means am I a perfect rider/driver, but I practice what I preach
and am always complimented on my smooth riding and very relaxed
driving attitude. I want to enjoy riding my motorcycle to work each
day, not go at it with a fear for my life. If you see a 2009 Kawasaki
Concours piloted by a guy in a full riding suit with a tie showing
through the top of the jacket, please give me the courtesy of the road
that I will give you. Then, if you give it to everyone else,
driving/riding in SoCal may become fun again.