funkshn (Regular) View all posts in this topic  
Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:16 am

Once or twice a week I ride to Santa Monica for work, about 27 miles each way, almost all freeway. L.A. traffic is constantly bad and I'm grateful that lane-splitting is legal in California. Tuesday morning I was transitioning from the 110 freeway to the 10, and the 10 was jammed. I got on in the rightmost lane and started working my way over, lane-splitting a few car lengths to a gap between cars, switching to the next lane stripe to the left, and repeating the process. I intended to get over to the #1 lane and split between that one and #2. as nearly every rider does out here.

When I was still one or two lanes away I heard, even through my earplugs, Mr. Loud Pipes Save Lives somewhere behind me. I glanced at the mirror and saw a "bagger" splitting in the #1 /#2 lane a bit behind me. I didn't want to be stuck behind one of those because they tend to be slow due to (1) excessive width and (2) lack of skill. So I split for a while between 3 and 4, trying to get some distance before moving over. Mr. LPSL sped up and, as I moved to the #2 lane, slid up past me, vigorously pointing to the #1 lane stripe, then the #2 stripe while shaking his head, talking with his hands and moving his jaws, too. Nut case. I don't like being lectured by a buffoon, and my initial urge was to flip him off. But creating additional drama while riding a motorcycle is unwise, and I suppressed my urge.

It wasn't easy suppressing it, though. Mr. LPSL would split for a brief time but as soon as he had less than 4 feet of clearance he would hang on the bumper of the obstacle car, screaming his exhaust pipes until someone moved. He would shake his finger at drivers that displeased him, wave minimally to drivers that did, all the while blaring music from the big speakers in the fairings. His armor was a set of blue cotton coveralls. What a great ambassador for motorcycle riders everywhere. When the way was clear he split at higher speeds than I would, but overall he was much slower because he would frequently pause behind gaps that I could easily clear myself. Etiquette out here is to slide into the center of a lane when a faster lane-splitter is behind you, to let them pass, but this ego on wheels just blocked me for about five miles until he reached his exit. In the past when someone in front of me is slow but not deliberately (just not checking their mirrors) I have sometimes split in different lanes until I was past them but, as previously mentioned, I felt that this fool would react poorly to that.

Anyway, I kept my impulses down. I viewed it as an exercise in self-control, and I was kind of worn out when the exercise was done, LOL.

The return trip was strange, too, but in a more positive way. Traffic was very crowded, even for L.A., and at two different points long-distance commuter buses saw me in their mirrors and edged over a bit to give me more splitting room. Those buses NEVER do that, and today they did it twice! Good karma? I dunno.

To complete the day, as I got out of the central city and onto a faster freeway where everyone was doing the speed limit or more, I spotted something strange on the shoulder ahead. As I got closer it resolved to a woman on a motorized skateboard riding down the shoulder at about 8 MPH in a black top and pink sweatpants. Picture a Razor scooter with a tiny gas engine the size of a melon next to the rear wheel. Why she was there, I have no idea. There were plenty of surface street alternatives nearby. But at least she was wearing a bicycle helmet.

Ride safe!

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