Share The Road

When I am driving any vehicle I willingly share the road with any other motorist. Don’t care what you are driving as long as it is a mechanized (has an engine) vehicle. However, what I won’t tolerate is a bicyclist expecting the same treatment. I understand that most states/counties have “share the road” laws making anyone on a pedal bicycle supposedly equivalent to a motor vehicle, but honestly I don’t agree with that assessment.

When you are on a bicycle you are not able to maintain anywhere near the speed a motor vehicle can and maneuver ability is questionable. Visual acquisition is also sometimes sketchy even with reflectors and brightly colored clothing. At night is actually much worse. Which brings me to my story.

The other evening when I was commuting home from work I came upon slow moving traffic. Everyone in the traveling lane is trying to merge into the passing lane so as to get around someone slow moving. I thought it was just one of the municipalities moving their front end loaders to another work site for the next day. Most of them have the for site to move their heavy equipment during the late evening so as to minimalize the disruption of traffic. Being as there is a constant flow of traffic in the passing lane I have to wait my turn to move over.

When I finally get to move around other vehicles I find that its a lone bicyclist causing the traffic issue. Instead or using the sidewalks or moving to the side of the road to allow traffic to pass easier she decides to ride the center of the lane holding up traffic. Granted the law says she is allowed to ride in the middle of the lane and be granted the same clearance and space as any other road vehicle I honestly just don’t care. A bicycle is not equivalent to any truck, car, or motorcycle. Shit its not even equivalent to Vespa scooter.

When on a bike trek with my boy scout troop we always try and stay off roadways unless absolutely necessary. And when we are on the streets we maintain a single file line as far to the side as possible so vehicles can quickly and safely maneuver past us.

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Driving In The Snow

We’ll after much delay some snow has finally returned to my corner of the world. With the return of the snow we also have the hundreds of drivers who forget how to drive safely in the snow. I am sure I have stood up here on my soap box and pontificated about it in the past, but here are the highlights again.

The most important thing to do is STAY in your lane and maintain a safe speed. You may not be able to maintain the speed limit depending on wind, visibility, and slick road conditions and it is acceptable to go below the speed limit. However, it is not acceptable to be at an almost negligible speed and still traveling. I don’t care if you have your hazard lights on you are now officially a road hazard.

At the same time don’t speed either. The only thing you are going to hurry up to is getting in an accident.

It’s common sense people. Don’t be on the road unless you have to and if you are drive safely.

Throwing The Bird

Somewhere in the last month or so while driving home from a team training I had someone decide that they needed to throw me the bird (see middle finger) in response to me honking at them. Normally I could care less, but I wrote my experience down that day and figured I would return to the thought at another time much like I am now. Let me run through the story and explain why it wasn’t warranted.

While waiting for the light to cycle to green I try and pay attention to traffic around me just to see if even when the light turns green I’m going to have to wait an extra second before proceeding myself because some other motorist is going to run the red so they don’t have to wait another cycle. There are some fairly impatient people out there. I was not first in line at the light, but having a good situational awareness while driving I consider mandatory. (See Jedi Powers) In this situation that would not be occurring at the light as the flow of traffic crossing in front of us cleared quickly and there was a decent delay between the red and the change to green on our side.

Now as a courtesy to the person leading the line I’ll give you a three Mississippi before I start honking to motivate you into moving unless I know it is a badly timed light then there is not a blessed thing I can do and will achieve nothing with the honk. In this instance there was ample timing and the three Mississippi had passed so a quick honk was issued and sure enough the driver in front of me started moving. I thought for sure that would have been the end of the exchange between me and the car in front, but I would be wrong.

For whatever reason the passenger of said vehicle took it upon themselves to roll their window down and throw me the bird. I drive a full sized pickup truck and have a height advantage over the Volvo in front of me so I had a clear enough view over the top and could see that there was no reason for the delay. If Wild West justice was still applicable I would be justified to shoot through the windshield and put a round through his hand for an unjustified insult. Since we don’t live in that era I’ll have to settle for complaining on here.

Drivers Liscense Retest

Aside from a freshly minted driver and discounting the obvious dangers there are when you intoxicated or texting while driving I would say the next most dangerous group driving are the elderly. Before anyone decides to get high and mighty on me and start throwing he ageist term around hear me out.

Every time I have to go anywhere further than a mile from my home I will come across a senior driver whom for whatever reason drift from side to side of their lane. Now, I know that any vehicle will just by the nature of physics drift a little, but these said drives are drifting feet not inches. What’s worse is sometimes its into the emergency shoulder, the next lane, or worse yet opposing lane of traffic. They will correct quickly, but there will come a time where that’s a day late and a dollar short.

It is a fact of life that as we age even with preventative exercise and vitamins your reaction speed will diminish. Which is why I want the elderly retested when they have to renew their license’s every so many years. I am aware that peoples doctors can revoke their licenses for a variety of medical reasons, but physicians are more empts to hand out a handicapped tag before they’ll revoke or suspend someone’s license.

I can dig up plenty of newspaper articles to back my logic and I have a few personal experiences with older family members to back me up as well. I know a lot of people will point out that driving is sometimes seniors only form of independence left but I will ask if their life or another’s life is really worth the potential accident they could create. I will also hold my maternal grandfather up as a shining example of the ideal situation. As he aged he realized that his reaction time was slowing and even with the aid of glasses eye sight was diminishing. So as time went on he would restrict when and where he would drive. Finally one day he would stop driving altogether. Never asked him to surrender his license, just knew it was a good idea to drive unless there was no other choice.

Holy Pothole…..

One of the biggest pains in the ass I deal with on a daily basis is dodging the potholes that happen on the roadways. I get that wear on tear on the road is unavoidable especially with road salt and the plows during the winter. Fact of life when living in the northeast.

However, when the warm weather hits I expect patching to begin and repaving to begin shortly thereafter. It normally does without issue. I also expect it to be wrapped up by mid-July. Again it normally is. Normally throughout August I will see the street crews going back to fix patches that were compromised by rain or were just a band aid until they could come back and do a larger repaving of the area.

What doesn’t make sense is when what is clearly a road area that needs some TLC hasn’t received even an inspection and when inquired as to why is told they are behind and won’t be able to get to it until November. Really?!?! Once we hit mid-October there is a reasonable chance that snow will be on the ground again and the potholes will be a non-issue cause they are filled back in with snow. If I sucked that much at my job I would be shit canned.

I may not have a full grasping of how patching and paving work should be done, but to me the patching part should be completed in a quick and timely manner.

Smashing The Tomato

Whenever I have my mother in my truck with me I will inevitably go through an intersection on a yellow light. She calls this “squeezing the lemon.” I’m sure this is a common term but I don hear anyone else throwing it around either. Subsequently my sister and bride to be remind me not to squeeze the lemon when driving with me.

To all of them I respond with, “at least I’m not smashing the tomato.” Essentially running a red light. However, I do occasionally watch people smash the tomato and the chaos that ensues afterwards is normally spectacular.

My first example is when I was returning from the garbage dump in the construction companies that I used to work for dump truck. This thing is a beast of a truck. 1985 Chevy Alfa Romeo CV 33. (Google it.)  Some idiot at the light at the main entry way decided to run it and side swiped the dump truck and then hit one of the municipal garbage trucks. I was fine, the dump truck and garbage only had some cosmetic issues, but said pick up that ran the light was toast.

Second example was from earlier today when someone again ran the red and was towing a boat. Had there not been anything towed the offending vehicle it would have been missed by inches, but with there was a green light and all. Let’s just say the boat is toast and the truck towing it no longer has a rear bumper or axel or frame…..

Moral of the story here people. Don’t run red lights.

Go Speed Racer Go!

Most main roads have two lanes in both traveling directions. The right hand lane being for general travel.  The left hand lane is for passing, moving into the middle turning lane when available, and oh yeah…..FASTER MOVING VEHICLES.

One of the things that annoys me the most are turtle racers. (People who stay in the fast moving/ passing lane.) Although debatable I will say they are causing a safety issue. More so is the inconvenience they are causing not only to me, but to every other motorist on the road. Seriously, get the hell out of the way. Everyone wants to get from point A to B in a timely manner.

Some of these people will normally take a hint when you come up on them quick and move over. However, there are still a great enough number of these entitled assholes whom refuse to move over. I have developed a standard procedure on how to deal with these people.

1. Give it a five Mississippi. This should be enough time for the offending driver to realize they are holding up progress and at least declare a merge.

2. If the previously mentioned time frame has passed flash the lights.

3. If the visual queue with the lights doesn’t work. Give a single honk.

4. In the instance of a failure to acknowledge the audio queue flash lights again and double honk.

5. If the offending driver has failed to acknowledge the need for them to move at all at this point I would consider the game to be on. Use discretion with high beams. No sense in causing an accident. However, judicious use of your horn I don’t see being a problem. If you happen to be lucky enough like myself and have a diesel train horn installed in your vehicle have at it.

***Please note that a few moments pause between each step should be given so that the driver holding things up can respond appropriately.***