Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: My rant of a random Ohio driver (and others of that kind).

7.23.2010

My rant of a random Ohio driver (and others of that kind).

I had one of the strangest moments on a motorcycle involving a truck on the road yesterday (Thursday) evening. I'm coming home from my WOW meeting at the Tuttle Mall and traveling south on I-270. I'm the left lane doing about 75MPH (the speed limit is 65MPH). I then see this older, brown mid-sized pickup truck behind me change lanes, accelerate quickly, and blast past me doing over 80 and speeding away. I'm thinking it's another typical person in a hurry; I get passed on 270 regardless of how fast I'm going and what lane I'm in. It's very common around here in Ohio; they know you have a motorcycle and want to one-up you just to raise their self-esteem by two notches. I'd just let them go. I have never exercised my right to twist my throttle 1/4 a turn for triple digit acceleration out of anger.

I then get home and jump on the computer, logging onto my e-mail and one of the motorcycle message boards I read. There's a private message waiting for me, and I click it. It turns out that the driver of the truck that passed me recognized my bike and was also part of the same message board. Here's the message this person left (names and slogans have been covered up to protect the one I scratch my head at).


Now I normally don't get irked by these kind of things, but I'm actually more confused than anything else. It was a calm Thursday and I had nobody in my lane tailgating me so I figured my spacing was sufficient. Additionally, if I compare this to California traffic (for all my friends back home), what I was in was the equivalent of the 405 freeway at about 11PM so pretty much a very low volume of cars but enough for the freeway to look used. If I what I was doing (10 over posted speed limit) was too slow then sure, I should've been in the next lane over. If this person was so much in a hurry, the truck should have continued at 85 MPH all the way instead of wasting it on just passing me, the "obstruction." However, when I looked at the description of the bike that this person rides, it doesn't surprise me that I was passed like it was the final lap of MotoGP. Additionally, I don't know how a motorcycle "hogs" a lane. I usually ride in the center to make sure nobody shares it with me...I never thought Eleanor's 38 inch wingspan would be so selfish.

There are quite a few drivers like that on the I-270 loop that goes around Columbus, and I often hear that these moves are very common of Midwest drivers (the East Coast drivers deserve a whole other rant). I've invented a couple names for these moves; I call it as I see them.

"Show Me the Milk Bottle!" (It's an Indy 500 poke): It's the car or motorcycle that flies past you at an ungodly speed just to get to the other side of Columbus faster than everyone else. Look man, there's no chilled milk at the end, just a lot of chunky cranberry juice on the ground if you eat it or hit something else in your path.

"The Guilty Pass": This is where a car passes you at a noticeably higher speed, gets in front of you, then hits the brakes, forcing you to do the same. It actually looks like they're setting up a basketball-style pick for someone else to move past you. Ohio Highway Patrol (OHP) has several posts along the loop where cops in cars or motorcycles camp out with radar guns. What I think is that drivers get overly paranoid about stacking the extra speed to get around cars that they want to make it look as subtle as possible.

"The Lane Sweeper": Drivers from all parts of the US are guilty of this one. It's where you find a "line of travel" and slide your vehicle across multiple lanes without signaling. The last time I checked moving laterally while going forward increases the distance of travel on the road. Not only is it stupid and dangerous, you look like a total ass. I was sideswiped by a Jaguar on the 105 West toward LAX that was attempting that exact move. It doesn't take much to, (1) signal, (2) look, (3) change lane, (4) cancel signal, (5) repeat steps 1-4 until you reach desired lane. Goodness.

Look people, it doesn't matter what you do; in Ohio the OHP can cite you on visual (not just radar gun) confirmation of speeding and/or reckless driving. There's no point in speeding just to pass one car. If you're going to pass, holy crap, just go for the gold and pass ten cars. Flaunt that impatience, save those precious seconds, and set a date with the traffic court! It's not like you'd win the fight anyway. >.<

To the random Ohio driver that passed me yesterday, my 75 MPH in a 65 MPH zone was probably too slow for you and your truck. So be it.

Being here in Ohio is a change of pace and is calm enough to where riders and drivers have to make things exciting and dangerous on the road to get an adrenaline rush. I wish more vehicle operators would appreciate the fact that Columbus has a real "rush hour" that only lasts for, literally, one hour.

This is the way I see it: I don't mind riding at a spirited, yet reasonable speed. Unless you've actually lived in CA, one wouldn't be able to comprehend the high level of skill and courage that it takes to travel, lane split, swerve, and handle a two-wheeled machine through a state that contains most of the worst freeways in the nation. In the seven years and over 130,000 miles I've ridden, I have been hit by several cars, taken out by oil slicks, and had more close calls than I can count. There's no point in hurrying home; it'll always be there...I just want to make sure I get there.