Saturday, September 4, 2004

I just about killed someone yesterday

Driving down Highway 101, in the car pool lane, at about 65, and changing lanes to the right after signalling, into a hole between two cars in that lane. After I started my lane change, a motorcycle passes me on my right between the lanes of traffic. Fast. If I was doing 60-65, he was easily clearing 75. I probably missed him by about 3 inches. If I had started my lane change even 2 seconds earlier, I wouldn't have missed him at all. Or perhaps more to the point, he wouldn't have missed me. I drive a honkin' big truck, it isn't as if he didn't see me. Or as if he might survive going under one of my wheels at highway speed.

Now, some may comment here that motorcycles shouldn't pass on the median or on the dotted line between lanes, but in fact this is legal. Legal when traffic is stopped, for the very simple reason that an air-cooled bike without a fan can't tolerate being stopped in traffic for very long. But here is California it seems that they will pass at any time, safe or not.

I hear of collisions involving motorcycles fairly frequently on the news, and I'm always sympathetic. I used to ride myself, for several years, summer and winter, in a frequently rainy climate. I have my collection of stories about bad car drivers that I barely escaped. Even bad municipal bus drivers that forced me to choose between dumping my bike and several less palatable options. So I have been truly sympathetic, as only one who has been there can be.

This particular occasion, I found myself worrying more at how I might have extracted my young children from the situation without them seeing the blood.

But this blog is really about and to that biker, not about me. If you're reading, thank you ever so much for leading me down this chain of thought, and taking away my well meant sympathy for rider victims of motorcycle collisions.

You jerk.

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