Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All but 6 of the 54 miles I travel to the office is four lane, limited access highway. The remaining 6 miles is under construction and should be complete in about 8 or 9 months. This will make my commute the fastest is has ever been. And one of the most boring, too. You just don't "see" as many things at 70 mph as you do at 45 or 50. I suppose you have to take the good with the bad.

My multi-lane travels are pretty sedate compared to some of the horror stories I hear from other metro areas. Traffic isn't as congested and drivers aren't as oblivious to their surroundings in Columbus.
There are exceptions, of course and I've learned that entrance ramps are the most dangerous sections of travel during my commute. Most of the time drivers are just cruising along content to stay in their lane. But entrance ramps, where drivers must merge into existing traffic, can be a jumbled mess.

Almost without exception, if there are a string of cars entering the freeway, one of the drivers will be impatient about his merge. Believing the car in front of them isn't accelerating fast enough, they will move not only into the first lane, but will try to take a second lane as well.

These are the drivers I always watch out for on my commute. They will only take a micro-second to survey the traffic in the second lane and chances are they won't see me. This scenario happened to me a few days ago.

The driver of an older red Ford crossed into my lane by about a foot and I was in his blind spot adjacent to his rear door. I beeped my horn - I'm seriously considering getting an air horn - and accelerated until I was abreast of his door.

In this instance, I had at least one thing going for me: he had his window rolled down. The sound of my horn along with the sight of my blurred image must have scared the crap out of him because he immediately retreated into his lane and hit the brakes.

I'm sure he didn't see the angry look on my face or hear me shout, "What are you doing!!!" But he did stay on my six about 6 car lengths back until my exit came up 12 miles down the road. Serves him right. Better for him to soil his pants than occupy my space.

I have approximately 11 or 12 ramps on my commute and fortunately attempts on my life only happen about once a week. And even though they are never intentional, hurt is still hurt and dead is still dead. My travel time is about an hour before the morning and afternoon rush hours or my encounters might be more frequent.

Still, I wouldn't give up the 2 wheeled commute for anything. For me, there is no better way to start or end my work day. Even though I have to contend with what Lucky from The Great Motorcycle Pizza Tour calls zombie drivers.

Now how is it they get rid of the zombies in the movies???

Ride Safe!


irondad said...

There are a lot of ramps, both coming on and going off, in Portland where I ride a lot. What makes them worse is that a lot of traffic needs to cross at these. Folks on the freeway need to take the exit to a main arterial and folks from the main arterial need to get onto the freeway. There's not much room for it to happen.

It all happens again a half mile or so down the road.

Yikes! Keep your eyes up and alert, my friend.

Doug C said...

Irondad - There are a few of those types of "intersections" in the Columbus area, but not many.

Those babies are scary in a car. For some reason, drivers in central Ohio believe that indicating a turn or lane change with a turn signal is a sign of weakness and therefore seldom use them. Another frustration...