Apparently some people took offense to a new sign on some of Southern California freeways.Back on February 17, we here here at The MotoWorld published a story about the signs, a couple of days later other motorcycle media jumped in and then it hit the mainstream media…newspapers and TV. You know any publicity is good publicity.
On February 19th The San Diego Union Tribune published a front page story titled “Freeway messages stir outrage in some drivers”. In the article, Edward Cartagena, a spokesman for Cal Trans San Diego says, “none of the calls we have gotten have been positive, one call was a twenty minute rant” continuing on, Cartagena says “Cal Trans has received (at that time) eight hundred calls, mostly positive except here (San Diego)”. So what gives with San Diego? San Diego County is number two in motorcycle deaths right behind Los Angeles County. This sign project is a joint effort between Cal Trans and the California Highway Patrol, neither wants to be picking up downed motorcyclists.
As I have written before, yes it is legal for we motorcyclists to ride between lanes but we too have a responsibility in doing this. Don’t speed excessively, the CHP basically (it’s an officers judgment call) allows for about 15 MPH above the flow of traffic; learn how not to be in a drivers blind spot, pay attention to their mirrors, like the truckers say “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”. And speaking of mirrors, learn how to watch the driver’s motions…things like when they start looking in their mirrors it’s a good chance they’re getting ready to make a move and you don’t want to be in that spot. Don’t make aggressive lane changes where you might scare somebody and they jerk the steering wheel right in your direction. We need to pay attention to drivers as much as they need to pay attention to us.
For those drivers that called to complain, there is an old saying ” before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes”…in this case my feeling is that those who are upset by motorcyclists on the road should spend just one week commuting by motorcycle on the freeway’s and their tune would change very quickly.
And lastly, when someone moves over and gives you a little room to get by, give a little wave or a friendly nod. That can and will go a long way to generate better relations with car drivers.
Oh wait, I forgot one thing…when a driver isn’t quite so courteous, do your best to avoid giving them the one finger salute…that only encourages them dislike motorcyclists.