In the last two posts, I illustrated how cagers don’t notice motorcyclists on the roads and how they often misunderstand motorcyclists riding habits as selfish and rude.I understand that not all motorcyclists are perfect, no more than all cagers are really jerks. It’s mix — there are some motorcyclists out there who ride selfishly and horribly and dangerously, giving the rest of us a bad name. And there are some cagers out there who have taken it on themselves to be freeway vigilantes, giving cagers a terrifying reputation among motorcyclists.
Incident the third.
My husband switches lanes in an interesting manner. It is designed to catch the eye of the surrounding drivers and make them aware of his presence. Many motorcyclists (myself included) switch lanes in the manner of a cager — we signal our turn by hand or turn signal (often both), shoulder and mirror check, then drift into the lane.
John does the signal and shoulder/mirror check, but rather than drifting into his intended lane, he aggressively throws his bike into the lane. There’s really no other way to describe it. The first time I saw him do it almost two years ago, my heart leapt into my throat — I thought he was about to wreck. It’s a full lean, almost parallel to the ground, followed by an abrupt straightening up. It’s very eye-catching, let me assure you. The thing is, he’s in complete control the entire time.
Last week on his way up to work, he got off our exit onto the freeway, doing this maneuver. He proceeded to quickly move over to the far left lane (our freeway is a two lane road, so including the exit lane, three lanes) and just sort of slab it (freeway riding) to work.
Except some 20-something kids who had gotten off at the same exit saw his lane-changing style and decided that his “crazy swerving all over the road” was “dangerous,” so they pulled up next to him in their SUV. The female driver began squirting her windshield wiper fluid and running her wipers so it squirted at John, laughing and pointing at him as she did.
Remember how I mentioned the freeway was a two-lane freeway? It’s like that for quite a while, so John was stuck, blocked by the cars in front of and behind him and the SUV to the side of him that was now squirting windshield washer fluid all over his helmet visor and motorcycle. Unless he wanted to pull a seriously illegal (and, incidentally, impossible, due to all the road work and lack of a shoulder) move and speed away along the shoulder, he was stuck next to that SUV for about 23 miles.
He followed them when they pulled off at their exit to find out why they’d endangered him like that — slicking up his tires with wet, soapy fluid and obscuring his view. Obviously, he wasn’t in the best temper. The explanation they gave was that he was riding dangerously, “Swerving all over the road,” and, “Speeding in and out of traffic.”
Apparently they felt so passionately about his actions, they informed him that they’d even called in his plates to the police, which had John laughing pretty hard a few hours later (after he calmed down from their possibly unintentional attempt to kill him).
Side note here — if you call the police to tell them a motorcyclist is riding like an insane person, swerving in and out of traffic and speeding dangerously, but you’re able to easily and coherently read that little teeny tiny license plate, the police might guess you’re a retarded liar. Just sayin’.
Look, if you don’t like how a motorcyclist riding, don’t take it on yourself to be a road vigilante, okay? Maybe you’re shaking your head saying, “He’s going to get himself killed,” or, “He’s going to get somebody killed.”
Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. You don’t know. But do you want to be the road vigilante who, in an attempt to “teach that guy a lesson,” ended up accidentally killing that guy?