Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Honing Defenses

About half of my daily commute is on I-270, the outer belt that encompasses Columbus, Ohio. I travel the northern section and about half of the west side. And, of that super slab, most of it is three lanes with some sections adding a four or fifth.

(Not my commute, thank God!)

My entry and exit points are pretty hectic areas with cars merging and jockeying for position. After riding this route for 11 months, I can almost always tell which car is going to try and invade my space, usually in these areas.

Its the car that is merging onto the expressway sometimes following other cars also merging but always a little impatient with the pace of the merge. The vehicle will make their lane change before the cars in front of them and not seeing me in the adjoining lane, decide to take two lanes and pass the pack.

Invariably, this driver will not take the time to turn their head to the left and actually look to see if the lane is empty. They barrel on over.

I've come to expect this and I'm always on the edge of my floor boards looking for an escape route. My escape might be the the next lane left or maybe the space behind me - just by rolling off the throttle, Lady can brush off 10 mph in a second or two.

My favorite lane to ride is the number one lane, closest to the median or barrier wall. In this lane cars can only run over you from the rear and from the right and by staying in this lane, I figure I've decreased my crash chances by about a third.

But the number one lane is also the fast lane - I've never seen a diamond lane in this state. The fast lane travels about 15 to 20 mph over the posted speed limit which is 65 in this neighborhood.

The fine for speeding in Ohio is prorated depending on how far over the limit one was clocked. And Ohio loves to ticket speeders! The list above was compile from a survey of motorists and not actual statistical data, but their perception is pretty accurate, as far as Ohio goes, I think. Everyday I see at least a half dozen cars stopped swapping stories with an officer!
A 15 mph violation costs about $150, something I can sorely afford, so I spend most of my time in the number two lane constantly watching for the driver that plans on invading my space.
Sometimes I think I'd like to have an automated pea shooter on Lady to nail those drivers as they encroach. Something with a small tank of compress air and a reservoir of navy beans...
Or maybe a Taser for cars...


Conchscooter said...

If you are in the flow of traffic you should be safe from tickets, no? Even if you ar eharing along at 85 mph sustained. When I go to Miami the Turnpike is my chance to open the Bonneville up and see what it can do, and it does it well!Always in the middle of the flow of maniac speeders though.

Doug C said...

That's always been my philosophy but I always tend to find myself in front or bringing up the rear.

I bet the trumpet rockets down the highway...

RazorsEdge2112 said...

I have a similar issue with speed and tailgaters. Lane 1 is also 10 - 20 MPH over posted. The advantage is that there is little merging in and out and less congestion. But, my bike has almost nothing left at 70MPH. I can peg the speedo at 85+ but it takes a while. That being the case, I usually battle traffic in lane 2 & 3.

Now, I am not going to name names, like the fellow who told me this... There is a rider somewhere here that hates tailgaters SO much, he keeps a hand-full of small ball bearings in his pocket. If he can't shake a tailgater, POP, out goes a ball bearing. I do NOT advocate this, but it does work. :-)

A fellow ex-rider mentioned to me last week the possibility of mounting a small paint-gun to the bike. Someone violates your space? POP, POP, POP!

Doug C said...

Ken - Never thought about the ball bearings but that wouold work and they'd be impossible to trace/find/blame...

The paint gun would be the fun thing to do, though.