Monday, November 20, 2006

The Most Aggressive Lane Splitter. Ever.

I just rode my motorcycle from my house into work this morning, as usual. Around 20 miles each way through, generally, very heavy morning commute traffic. I don’t really love lane splitting but it is a way of life out here and, if I couldn’t lane split, then I might as well drive since its more comfortable and would result in the same time to commute. It’s the time it takes me to get in that makes me ride most of the time. Well, that and I enjoy the hell out of riding my motorcycle.

Anyway, this morning’s ride was cruising along nicely. One idiot doing an on-ramp cage block but that’s really nothing new or noteworthy. I passed her easily and quickly out on the open highway. Since it’s the Monday before the Thanksgiving break I expected traffic to be a little lighter than usual but no such luck. Brakelights started in about the usual place.

Only this morning I was already running a little late, had to get gas before hitting the road and that slowed me down enough to get stuck behind a Harley road-yacht. One of these “motorcycles” that’s three feet wide, weighs a ton and looks it and, to top it off, the guy had highway pegs at the widest point on his bike making it just a little bit wider. I settled in behind him and expected to meander my way into work. I will say that he set a decent pace for sure, more so because of the tank he was on.

But the ride got, um, uncomfortable when a car had the audacity to change lanes in front of him. I nearly lost control of my bike when he smacked the guy’s side mirror on his way by. A way of sending the message that what he’d just done wasn’t cool. Pretty ballsy for someone hanging it all out on a two wheeled water buffalo of a bike. Ballsy and really dangerous for anyone behind him, namely, me. So I let him roam up ahead and hoped he would not make my ride a short one with a long recuperation in the hospital.

And I watched this guy slap mirrors, give thumbs up, thumbs down, kick one car and pat several car’s side mirrors as he worked his way through the middle lane. I felt embarrassed to be on a bike anywhere near this guy. I watched him try to flip one car’s mirror back and it wasn’t a flappable one and he nearly lost control of his bike. Another one he nearly knocked off the car!

Do I understand his rationale? Yeah, barely. He was letting the drivers know that they were behaving like jerks. The problem with his behaviour is that he was making life a lot more difficult for other bikers, not just me who happened to be behind him, but for all bikers as a result of his brazen response. And the right side mirrors he folded back made it impossible for them to keep an eye out for other bikes coming up the center lane.

So I let him roll away, I had zero interest being associated with someone who smacks cars and kicks them when they don’t immediately cede his ponderous right of way. And I could tell, from a flash of his face I saw in his side mirror, he wasn’t playing, he was pissed off that the cars weren’t moving aside for him before he got there. Which is, to say, he was a complete asshole.

I do not enjoy being near people like him. At all. And I expect he is and has been road pizza before. Here’s a hint, dude. Get a bike that’s not three feet friggin’ wide. You’ll have a much easier time of riding the center lane. And stop being an asshole and thinking solely of yourself, you represent all bikers and being an asshole makes people think all bikers are assholes.

Which, I guess, we are to some degree or another. I generally think people dislike bikes already because we can lane split and they can’t. But adding mirror slaps, kicking bumpers and being an overt prick makes me look like Mr. Manners.

While I was impressed with his ability to handle his bike, lash out at the car’s and get that tank through some pretty narrow gaps, I was and am appalled at what a total asshole he was on the road. I’m glad he doesn’t ride a sportbike because we don’t need another asshole in our ranks.

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