31 December 2011


I am the son and grandson of bikers.

I was a biker for a long while too.

I've hung out with them for many, many years.

I've been to Sturgis when the big party was still in town.

What the fuck happened since I stopped riding?

Did Harley start administering IQ tests during the purchase process and if you score above 90 you don't get the bike?  Do they waive this test if you already own a scoot?

I ask because the ridership down here seems divided very sharply.  People who seem to know what they're doing and riding defensively and people whose heads are so far up their asses they open their mouths to see.  Gives new meaning to the term "eye tooth".

The former group I have zero problems with.  They stay out of my way, I can tell what they are going to do next so I can stay out of theirs.  Easy.

The latter, and larger group, seem to wanting to see if their helmet really can protect them after the 4,300 lb. of Biscayne fails to stop.  I got news for you, Dr Biker Esq. my car cannot out brake your bike.  I have four times the mass with about double the swept area; do the math.

Wildly varying your speed between five under the limit and five over flow of traffic and changing lanes seemingly at random makes it hard to predict where you are going to be next so I can give enough room to actually not hit you should you panic stop for optical illusions and unicorns.

Help me to help you!  Because if the worst happens I'm not looking at more than a trip to the body shop; you're going to the hospital.

Something else to consider, I was a biker so I pay more attention to bikes.  I try to give you guys more room and consideration.  If I am having trouble avoiding collisions with your bad riding, what makes you think the New York City expatriate who didn't have a license until they retired down here will have the clue and experience to dodge you?

This is pretty easy stuff, really.

Adjust your mirrors so you can see.

Look over your shoulder before changing lanes!

Clearly signal your intentions.  Vaguely waving your hand at waist level is not a signal no matter how cool you think you look doing it.  Are you closing your choke?  Are you switching to the reserve tank?  Are you dropping your cigarette?  Are you indicating a lane change?

Move with the flow of traffic!!!  This one is the most important.  While you are legally allowed to go five under, you're not making friends doing so.  The speed-up slow-down game also doesn't make anyone around you happy with you.  Try to remember that mass equation from earlier.

Be aware of the blind spots on the cars nearest you.  If you cannot see my head in the window or the mirror there's no way I can see you at all.  If I speed up or slow down to get you out of my blind spot don't move right back into it!  I am trying to help us both.

That "Share The Road" bumper sticker, that works both ways.

1 comment:

  1. It happened when motorcycling stopped being an everyday way of life and started being a trendy, fashionable thing to do.

    The saying "Twenty thousand dollars and 20 miles does not make you a biker" came from the voice of experience. The real bikers are still out there.

    That would be the half that knows what they're doing.


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