Friday, December 15, 2006

The Joys of Commuting

Last night on my way home from work my commute was a little bit more exciting than normal. If you've ever commuted on a motorcycle in the Greater Atlanta Metro area, you have probably come to accept that someone is going to swerve over into your lane and force you to make a "survival maneuver" at least once a day. My experience has not changed that presumption. But last night was different. I'm riding on a controlled access major highway (what they call roads with overpasses and on/offramps). Traffic is moderately heavy but the left hand lane is running around 75 mph. I'm behind a mini-van (as the billboard says, there are NO cool minivans). Suddenly I see something round and white come out of the rear side window of the van and bounce in the roadway. Golfball? I don't know. Then another one comes out the window and bounces. I'm concentrating on not getting hit by whatever it is and avoiding running over it. Can you imagine running over a golfball at 75 mph? Then a third one come out and I manage to change lanes and pass the van.

A few miles later, we have left the controlled access section of the highway and are headed towards the first stoplight and my turn off. Suddenly, a woman changes lanes right over towards me. Usually, you swerve towards the white line at the shoulder of the road, hit your brights and your horn and they realize they should have looked and stop coming over, but not this time. She came all the way into my lane and I was forced on the last 6 inches of asphalt at the edge of the road. I managed to get past her without dropping the bike and into the turn lane. I look over at her and I can see her mouth is moving, but my lip reading skills are somewhat deficient. Maybe she was saying "I'm sorry I didn't see you or hear your uncapped exhaust"...*shrug*

So I'm thinking ok, two in 8 or 9 miles, nice. As I'm waiting for the turn signal at the stop light, I notice the mini-van is behind me turning as well. It even turned into my neighborhood. So, I decided to pay a neighborly visit and dicuss the golfballs(??). The young couple in the van (she was driving, he was riding shotgun) seemed suprised when I told them I hadn't appreciated having things thrown out the rear side windows at me on the highway. At first the lady said the kids rear windows were closed. The father opened the side door and asked who was throwing things out the window. The lady walked around the passenger side (where the items were launching) and said "Oh! This window IS OPEN!" and she quickly appologized. I'm guessing someone got dressed down by mom and dad. I appreciated their handling of the situation and drove home.

Those of you commuting on bikes, watch out for the swervers and the minivans tossing golfballs.

Those of you driving cages (cars, minivans, trucks) look before you change lanes, hang up the cellphone and pay attention to your driving, and use your signals.

Be Safe out there!

1 comment:

Kathleen Jennette said...

I am glad you are okay and got home safe. I was also REALLY glad to read you stopped and said something!!! Most won't or just can't. I have made sure even in parking lots when people back up before they look I tap the window with my KEYS and tell them now. I still believe that EVERYONE who has a drivers license take a motorcycle course so they know what we have to know as riders. Maybe we should have a couple of golf balls in our pockets and throw them back....ughghgh!
Happy Holidays to you in any case!!