Thursday, March 4, 2010

Motorcycles on the Freeways

OK It's been awhile since the UT made a point of the responses to Cal Trans Highway Signs warning motorists to be aware of motorcycles.  As a rider I wanted to let it sink in and rattle around in the I'm ready...what's the problem here?  Apparently San Diegans were the only ones to complain about the message that was run statewide?  Really?  That much animosity toward motorcyclists here in Americas Finest?  My boss Cliff Albert on one of his "Cliffnotes" episodes on KOGO railed against the riders and the reckless way they weave in and out of traffic....I couldn't help it...I had to jump in and defend us against the generalization. Chip Franklin, morning pro on KOGO took calls and got an earful.  My friend and fellow rider, Clint August, afternoon jock on Rock105.3 posted on Facebook questioning  the negative San Diego response to the signs and got a pageful from his "friends"...Houston, we do have a problem here.
I will be the first to admit there are some wacked out riders out there, mostly young guys on crotch-rockets that need to be shown an accident scene....but in my world....just a little older....I've gotta tell you, it's the drivers in  cars or "cagers", that just don't get it.
I commute to work every day...put about 60 miles on the bike every single day, most of it on the freeway...and I don't think a day goes by without someone changing lanes into me... oblivious of my presence.  I'm not weaving, I'm not speeding...overly anyway....but apparently I am invisible.  Riders do get upset when this happens because we're not taking about a fender bender here....I could be fatal.  So what's wrong with asking motorists to look twice?
Another hot button issue seems to be lane splitting.  Done safely it is legal here in California.  So what's safe?  Who knows...up to the rider and the cops I guess...there is nothing written in back and white in the code.  For me it usually means riding under 30mph between cars going slower than that...usually stopped.  Again, there are guys who abuse the privilege and scare the crap out of you as they whizz by...but we're not all young and crazy...I wonder sometimes when a driver sees me coming and tries to squeeze me whether or not there's some jealousy involved.  Sorry man, buy a bike and you too can avoid the traffic jams.
So on behalf of my fellow riders...please don't throw us all in the same group as the wild young lads on their very fast bikes...I dare say the majority of riders, especially on bigger more expensive bikes, are more concerned about you and what your heavy metal might do next. So please give us a break San Diego and look twice before you change that lane....a grateful, friendly wave might follow and change your mind about us for good.
Be safe...see you on the