Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Other uses for a car door (and why thinking about them is disturbing)

4.02.2011

Other uses for a car door (and why thinking about them is disturbing)

There are times when I would get into a conversation with someone about motorcycling that I would mention that I had learned to ride in California and spent tens of thousands of miles traveling through the Golden State on two wheels. Immediately I get a question that opens up a whole different discussion all together.

"Aren't bikes allowed to ride in between cars out there?"

I would reply, "yes," and then go into the benefits of being able to treat the space between two cars as an additional lane on the road especially during heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and Orange County. (For more of my insight on that Californian privilege, check out my blog post, "Why I miss lane splitting...")

Disturbingly enough, especially here in Ohio, I will sometimes receive some of the following responses to my opinion on lane sharing as a safe/alternate travel route for motorcycles.

"If a motorcycle tried to pass me like that I'd take the car door and open it right in front of them. They should wait like everyone else."

"I'd move the car to block a bike if it tried to ride down the middle or through a small space. That's just crazy and dangerous."

"If motorcycles don't want to get hit they shouldn't even be on the road in the first place."

Okay, let's backtrack to the following statements. First off, regardless of what your opinion of motorcycles (and the concept of lane sharing) is, you as a four-wheeled vehicle operator have just declared that you will go out of your way to attempt to injure a two-wheeled vehicle operator. Isn't that borderline pre-meditated attempted murder? Second, if you're going to waste the energy to stop a forward-moving vehicle just because you can't move, there has to be some demented underlying reason behind your malicious intentions. I mean seriously? Even the thought of causing harm to another person is already cruel and to do so to a defenseless motorist is beyond reason.

I have found that there's a good handful of drivers here in the Buckeye State that risk themselves so unnecessarily. Some popular, unsafe practices include:
  • Tailgaiting behind an 18-wheeler's blind spot and coming within five feet of the truck trailer's bumper.
  • Weaving across multiple lanes in a zig-zag pattern without signaling until a car moves out of the way and then blasting down the road 20-30+ MPH faster than the speed limit.
  • Trying to pass me (the motorcyclist) regardless of how fast I am traveling, because 75 MPH in a 65 MPH zone is just too damn slow, and 80 MPH is just turtle status.
  • Passing me to my right and then crossing back into my lane and stopping, thus cutting me off, knowing full well that the lane to the left of me was completely empty and you could've just sped down that part of the road like the careless jerk you are.
  • Coming to a complete stop when entering the freeway when the sign clearly says "YIELD" and is even shaped like a triangle. (The only place I know where you have to start from a complete stop is the north end of the CA-110 Pasadena freeway where the on-ramps are so old that there's no way to extend them to get the moving start.)
  • And my biggest pet peeve of all...the inability for Ohio drivers to properly merge into oncoming traffic. CA and NY drivers have the "zipper" style method of merging down to a science. Alternate cars, one lane after the other, during the merge until everyone ends up in one straight line. It's not hard, really! (And by the way, it is okay to use the lane that's about to close up two miles down due the road to maintenance until it actually does taper off into one lane.)
Since there isn't any real way to encourage drivers to use their heads while going down the road, the only defense I have is to keep my wits about me, be completely aware of my surroundings, and master those learned skills such as swerving and emergency braking. And please, if you're one of those types of Ohio drivers mentioned above, before you get in that car and contemplate destroying one of us motorcyclists in your road rage fantasies, please remember that we're just people on a different form of transportation trying to get where we need to be and where we want to go.