Diatribe re: lane encroachment (warning: lengthy) - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 33 Old 04-28-2014, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Diatribe re: lane encroachment (warning: lengthy)

I'm not sure where to post this since some of it is just riding talk (General Discussion), potentially-colorful venting (Off-topic) and dealing with unusual events (Riding Proficiency) but here goes. I feel it's critical to explain the fine points about what happened so I apologize in advance for writing a book about it:

I had a rather unusual encroachment into my lane the while riding home on Friday evening in a rainstorm in heavy traffic. I was in the leftmost lane on a 4-lane freeway and in the HOV lane, which is allowed to be occupied by any vehicle with two or more passengers, hybrids and motorcycles are also allowed. Traffic was crawling along at 10-20 MPH for miles, and cases like this I keep about 2 second's worth of space between me and the vehicle in front of me, or a car length or less when it gets under 10 MPH (any more than that you're inviting people into your lane in front of you)

Normally I ride on the left side of the left lane (right next to the yellow line) since it offers good visibility ahead and plenty of time and space to react if/when someone decides to move in from the adjoining lane. However if traffic on the right starts going by faster I move to the right side of the lane so I'm more easily visible to someone coming up from behind. Behind me, there was a red SUV which had been there for some time, it was in that lane when I merged into it several miles before with plenty of space in front of it - it had many car lengths of empty space in front of it when I merged in and I did not force my way into the lane in front of it. It stayed back there for many miles keeping a safe distance and didn't appear to be a factor, so I kept a casual eye on it without undue concern compared to everything else going on around me.

Until I noticed suddenly, it got quite close and all of a sudden the right front fender is coming even with my left elbow...and the guy is in my lane, coming even with me, and of course I'm reacting by squeezing right and riding the line between lanes as I watch this guy pass me on the left in my own lane. He didn't even seem to have the courtesy to cross the yellow line on the left to give me space. Since I was already in the (small) escape route that existed, I didn't have too many other places to go or much else to but look at him through the passenger window as it came even with me. At which point I laid on the horn as I was looking right at him and he was looking directly at me. And I am POSITIVE he knew exactly what he was doing and saw me the whole time. He had been behind me for quite a while, and I'm tall, quite visible, and very hard to miss.

For whatever reason this made him back off and I raised my left arm in a "WTF!?" kind of gesture, and he backed off many car distances behind and stayed there - I had the impression that his passenger, a woman, was his wife and maybe she was chewing him out something fierce. I mean I hope she was.

I chalked it up to being just a true brain fart and kept my eye on him closely but eventually, after more miles, what with rain and other traffic to watch, and the situation seemingly having calmed down, I was caught by surprise again somewhat when he decided to change lanes to the right when that lane started moving faster again, and he passed VERY close to my right side. So close as to appear intentional.

Since it was raining and getting dark, discretion was the better part of valor and I fought off any urge to chase him down and shake my fist at whim or whatever. Thinking about it since then at odd times over the weekend, I've played out various Sons Of Anarchy-themed scenarios and toyed with the idea of mounting a quick-release clip to the bike that could carry a small 4-lb sledgehammer to be used on windows or side mirrors, but that's just a fruitless exercise in fantasy that always ends up in some no-win scenario at the side of the road with blue lights flashing, or in court. So keeping cool was the right choice. This time.

Other than reminding myself that it's impossible to be too vigilant even in regards to drivers or situations that appear to be non-factors, I'm tempted to use this as a case to rally for legalizing lane-splitting here in this state during rush hour. Seriously - if some putz can force me into lane-splitting by knowingly shoving me onto the line by passing me in my lane from behind, then why shouldn't I be given some control over the situation and do the same thing, but at my own discretion?

Thanks for listening.

"Ignorance is a powerful tool if applied at the right time, even usually surpassing knowledge." - E.J. Potter
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post #2 of 33 Old 04-28-2014, 05:48 PM
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The only smart thing you can do is to work to control your emotions and get away from the fool. If you get mad, you can't ride smart. If he gets mad, you might get run over or shot.

Lane splitting/filtering works great if the car & truck drivers let it work. If they feel like you're taking something away from them, they'll crash you.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

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44 B.C.
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post #3 of 33 Old 04-28-2014, 06:40 PM
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I had something similar happen to me on Saturday in bright sunshine. It happened to be a red vehicle, a KIA sedan with temporary tags. In my case it was the driver showing the passenger something on her phone.

I chose to express my frustration with a lenghty Stebilization and a gesture indicating the hanging up of a telephone. The driver was probably too young to know of a time when telepones were attached to anything but it made me feel like I might have communicated something to the experientially-deprived young motorist.

Good luck, Stoopster, in that DC metro insanity.

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post #4 of 33 Old 04-28-2014, 07:44 PM
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I was nearly killed last summer by 4 guys in a new Charger that passed us (me leading , 4 bikes total) at I swear 140 mph. He lane changed before he was passed me (He was in the fast lane , we we in the next lane over) and was literally under my left hand guard with his right rear quarter panel , but was going so fast that he missed me. Hard to explain , I was pissed and shaken simultaneously. Ten miles later we stop for fuel and guess whose getting gas at the station we pull into. You got it. The 4 guys in the Charger. I spoke my peace , and cooler heads prevailed , but I wanted to lay a butt whooping down. Sometimes , it just ain't worth it.

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post #5 of 33 Old 04-28-2014, 08:57 PM
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If someone does the dumb thing on you and misses, no sweat. Near misses don't count other than to raise your blood pressure and remind you to pay more attention to your surroundings.
Had you been watching your mirrors you may have seen bozo bearing down on you.
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post #6 of 33 Old 04-28-2014, 09:03 PM
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I had a guy follow me in heavy stop and go traffic for two miles. Then he punted me into the intersection because he did not want to stop for a RED light.

It helps to wear and do riding habits to be seen, but some drivers are not paying attention and will never see you.

Bike is ok and you are not hurt.
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post #7 of 33 Old 04-29-2014, 12:28 AM
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That probably wouldn't have phased me after being in Cali for a while.
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post #8 of 33 Old 04-29-2014, 04:11 AM
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Just ride like everyone is out to get you and you will actually find that it's actually less stressful.

The other thing I learnt a long time ago is that in every situation, apportion some of the blame to yourself. Even if the other vehicle is 99% in the wrong, look back and wonder what you could have done to avoid the situation
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post #9 of 33 Old 04-29-2014, 05:15 AM
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The roads have definitly gotten a lot more crowded over the last 40 years, today drivers are less curteous and have an all for me attitude when it comes to others. My riding style has had to adapt to the changes. Every vehicle is suspect and I try to anticipate every movement a vehicle could make. So far its worked for me. I know sometimes you want to drag them through the vent window and stomp them into the asphalt, but the laws of physics dictate that the car always wins. You have that much more experience and are all the wiser for the incident, glad you are ok.


If You're Gonna Be Stupid, You Better Be Hard, because stupid hurts!
I no longer own a V Strom, but I'm still here because its the best bike forum going!

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post #10 of 33 Old 04-29-2014, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveinNC View Post
The roads have definitly gotten a lot more crowded over the last 40 years
40 years. Who is old enough to have been driving for 40 years.

I started when I was 12 and it's only been 38 years for me.

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DL650A K7 (Greywolf Moto Lab's R&D test mule) June 1, 2012 - present
DL650A K7 April 23, 2007 - January 6, 2012, RIP

"Look here brother, who you jivin' with that cosmik debris?" Frank Zappa, 1975
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