July 15, 2012
Observations from Indiana Trip
When we got into Pennsylvania there were two immediate observations:
- That state (and every state south of PA) is the land of bikers who wave to everyone – even across 6 lanes of traffic and a 90’ wide grass median. I have enough to do trying to pay attention to traffic around me, I sure don’t have time to look at what is going on way over there if it isn’t going to impact me. So, every biker we passed going the opposite direction on the highway thought I was a snob. That trend lasted in the southern states, but I didn’t notice it in Indiana or Michigan.
- If there are two bikes together, the one behind is in the greater danger from drivers merging onto the highway or changing lanes. They would hear the bikes, see WS go by (or wait for him to go by), and never look or check their mirrors for another bike (I know, because I was watching them thru the side windows). Several times, if I hadn’t anticipated it, I would have been run over/into. Sometimes I was able to move to the next lane. Sometimes I could slow down quickly, while avoiding getting run over from behind. One of those times the guy driving car that tried to run me over looked in his rear-view mirror and give me an apologetic wave. One time, I had no room to swerve into another lane and no time to slow down, so I twisted the throttle and squeezed the bike between the car’s bumper coming at me and the side of the car beside me. I literally made it thru by inches. It’s not like I was far behind WS either, so it's not like the driver's thought they could squeeze between us - they flat did not look once they saw WS go by. Fortunately I am always anticipating and watching other drives because I assume I am invisible (despite the 3 lights and liberal use of the horn when needed) and figure that everyone is out to kill me when I am on the bike. Okay, not all near misses happened in PA, but the first several were and the trend seemed to start there. I also had issues in the southern states – but not NY, MA, VT or NH. Probably doesn’t mean anything, just my experience this one trip.
PA, where the bikers are overly friendly, and the drivers are not.