You know when you’re cruising along, texting, GPSing, scrolling through mp3s, flossing, day dreaming, y’know, “driving your car,” and a SCUD missile explodes mere centimeters from your brain and you know you’ve just died and you forgot to tell your grandmother you love her and then you see that fucking motorcyclist, his smug backside somehow giving you the middle finger, catapulting ahead to ruin other people’s lives?
That’s called lane splitting, a dangerous and selfish means of hithering and thithering. The unexpected is scary, like a court summons or something wiggling in your stool, and no one foresees a lane splitter, unless you’re only monitoring the rearview mirror (also dangerous) or have advanced military radar in your Chevy. Causing alarm, fear and heart malfunctions among your fellow road-denizen is inherently selfish: you arrive five minutes earlier, they are now inflicted with PTSD, leading to years of therapy, scorn from peers and a helpless feeling of trying to get by while feeling ever more isolated and alone.
And you know these my-way-or-the-get-out-of-my-wayers think you’re jealous. You wish you were them, straddled atop that manly piece of metal, testes squeezed tight as if trying to make semenade. You are sinning the deadly sin of envy, not comfortably sipping on a Mountain Dew Big Gulp listening to AirTalk, receiving road head, and safely transporting your new IKEA wine glasses home where you’ll serve your friends $2.49 wine that you’ll claim is actually good, no, seriously, it really isn’t as bad as you think. For the record, I’m not jealous. I’ve been riding a bicycle since I was out of diapers which did happen to be age eight for reasons I don’t need to get into right now, but the point is I don’t wear diapers anymore, and if I wanted a motorcycle, I’d go buy one. What I’m jealous of is tall, attractive people with high metabolisms.
Meanwhile, the motorbicyclists are the ones risking their lives. It’s true, can’t argue that, if they want to bravely and needlessly face death, let them; in a match up of car versus motorcycle, the rider of the former will die gruesomely, flesh strewn like silly string upon the asphalt, and the driver of the latter will just miss the previews. But, and here’s the catch, the latter will have accidentally killed an actual fucking human being! There’s a social construct to which the rest of us in general agree: protect oneself from death via hard metal exoskeletons and soft pillows that blossom upon impact. By snubbing this agreement, motorcyclists thrust unsolicited responsibility upon us “cagers” with an up-yours-world-I’ll-die-if-I-wanna philosophy that could devastate the unfortunate driver’s life forever. It’s a similar argument to the one the NRA uses: if everyone had a gun, it would be a safer world. But I don’t want to kill anyone! Ever! If that makes me less of a man, and I don’t have a lot of wiggle room here, then I’m even less of a man. Sorry, Dad.
Finally, let’s address the tried and true (read: tired and untrue) justification that lane splitting is legal. Now, it’s legal for me to wear a thong at the beach, or to marry my cousin, but legality does not connote obligation, nor does it guarantee that society won’t be negatively affected, though the aforementioned examples could potentially cut down on the number of Christmas presents my aunts and uncles need to buy (because I already own a thong). But is lane splitting legal? According to the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, lane splitting is not illegal when done in a “safe and prudent manner,” implying – now follow along closely – that it IS illegal if done in an unsafe or a non-prudent manner. The CMSP then defines dangerous activity as lane splitting at a speed in excess of 30 MPH or when the speed differential between motorcyclist and the flow of traffic is 10 MPH or greater. Therefore, if you are traveling over 30 MPH, like on a “freeway” during “trafficy times” or the motorcyclist passes you at a relative speed of over 10 MPH, like if you’re stopped and he’s going 11+ MPH, he or she would be eligible for a ticket, because it’s illegal, and dangerous, and stupid, and selfish.
I expect motorcyclists, and I have some among my friends and acquaintances, will cry like little babies because of what I’ve written, and they will continue to split lanes and maintain their divine right to do so. But if just one rider says to his or herself, “huh, I guess I kind of am a selfish asshole,” my time will have been well spent. And if that happens, I promise next time to use my persuasive abilities on something we can all agree on: ending veganism.
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