Sometimes people wonder why I don't necessarily like other motorcyclists. I wave, sure; those riders are passing through in the opposite direction. But, no, to be frank, I often don't like encountering another motorcyclist on the road in my direction of travel. I've just seen too many stupid behaviors, and, worse, I've actually been hit by motorcyclists a few times.
So the coming of summer isn't all that welcome, particularly during the commute hour, when I get on the Bay Bridge this morning. I start in the carpool lane, and, as every morning, immediately start moving left across all lanes of traffic. Why? Because I think it's best for the motorcycles to split that lane. I think it's especially best if we split the same lanes, so that there aren't bikes in between all cars on all sides. Ever seen a helpful driver try to move aside for you? Well, now imagine there's another motorcyclist on the other side. No, it behooves us to split only one or two lanes in traffic, as much as possible. Particularly when we know, as we do in the commute hour, that there are a lot of other motorcycles out.
So I move over, and this morning, as I got into the #2 lane, I slowed to check the in-between lane, and as I did that, a motorcyclist honked his horn at me, I suppose thinking I was about to run into him. I wasn't, but I waited for him to calm down and go ahead before diving in. Which was a mistake. Well, maybe not, knowing the temper he had. I mean, the guy was slow. He was riding some big late 1970's/early 80's honda thing, I think maybe an Oldwing or something? And, I split behind the guy for a while, but he's slow. Will he let me pass? No. Note: it is the polite thing to do, when someone lanesplits up behind you, to pull into the lane and let them pass.
Fine, I'll wait, and plod behind him, maybe he'll get the hint. He makes a big show of flipping a car off, for changing lanes, about 400 feet in front of him. At his speed, it was NOT a danger. He's just an ass. I start thinking about breaking my rule and going to the next lanesplitting lane over, just long enough to get in front of him. I try this, and he speeds up. Now he is racing me. Look, fucker, I'm just going to work! YOU'RE SLOW. OK, fine, I'll get behind your slow ass again. And he slows back down. And next, NEXT he punches a delivery van, for no reason. This poor cager does NOTHING, and asshole honda guy hits his mirror in. Woah! Yeah, thanks asshole, you've just made a whole new set of motorcycle-haters. And those of us lanesplitting behind you (since you won't let us pass) now have to face these drivers' anger. At this point, I can't follow him anymore, and move over two lanes to get away. At which point he starts racing me again.
I don't say this often, but I honestly hope you eat shit, and soon, since you're making the world a more dangerous place for the rest of us.
so here's a review:
1.) If you are lanesplitting, and another rider comes up behind you, pull into the lane and let them pass, and then go back to lanesplitting. Painless!
2.) If you aren't checking your mirror for riders because you're afraid you'll hit something in front of you, then you are riding too fast/over your head. Slow down, check your mirror, and let others pass.
3.) It really helps if we don't have to go to the next in-between lane to pass you, since this multiplies the problem of heplful drivers accidentally taking one of us out when they try to move out of the way of the one of us they do see. (in other words: don't surround the cars on all sides if you can avoid it)
4.) If another rider does finally go around you because you don't check your mirrors and pull over, please don't take this as an oppurtunity to race. Other riders are just trying to get to wherever they are going. The race is in your head, and you already lost it, if they are trying to pass you.
5.) If you are an asshole, just go crash somewhere by yourself, and stop flipping off and *punching* cars that didn't even do anything, as that makes lanesplitting and riding more dangerous for the rest of us.
6.) Lanesplitting is a separate skill. If you don't feel comfortable doing it and maintaining yourself, your awareness, and composure, just don't do it.