what's your commute like, motoxer101?
mine is basically a twice daily vacation. about 25 miles each way: starting in topanga canyon (some of the best curvy roads anywhere), then down to pacific coast highway where i ride along the ocean through pacific palisades and santa monica to the 10 freeway, through exciting west side traffic to century city.
i have been riding it every day, all year long for 2 years except in the rain (which is very rare here). the trip takes about 35 minutes, and is never more than 45 even in the worst traffic. (by worst i mean pch blocked, which has made my trip home take 2.5 hours in a car in the past).
i find most la drivers to be inattentive, but friendly and cooperative when they do see a motorcycle. In my two years of riding I’ve only had two people (that I can remember) show anger that I was pulling to the front of an intersection, and only one tried to do anything (a girl in her early twenties in a bmw, aimed right for me as we left the intersection). Thousands of cars have voluntarily moved over to make more room in the lane for me to pass. Cars pull out on me all the time when they don’t see me coming – but I look at that situation as my responsibility to manage, and as long as I’m focused and prepared it is not a problem. I just got back from riding 2000 miles on country roads and highways and in small towns, and I didn’t have a single problem with a car the whole time. But la traffic can be very messy – here are few recent stories from the road:
today on my way to work I was riding through a construction zone on pico (7 lanes, 35 mph limit) that closed the right two lanes. Cars were merging to the left and crawling so I pulled around the cluster of merging traffic to the right, skirting the construction cones. As I reached the intersection the light turned green and a lady in the first car made a right turn right in front of me. I hit the front brakes hard (I had been covering them), and was moving slowly enough in the first place (about 10 mph) that there was no problem (though it did get my heart going – the front locked momentarily on an oily spot and I needed to manage the braking very carefully).
Last night I was on the 101 (10 lanes, 65 mph limit) in medium, slowing traffic. i was going about 65, pulling between two cars that were driving side by side in their lanes at about 55 (they were about 5 feet apart). When I was about even with it’s a-pillar the car on the left started coming over hard to the right, closing the gap. It happened so quickly, it felt as if he was trying to hit me. But in retrospect I think he just didn’t see me or the car to our right, and wanted to get the next exit (which he took). He got within a couple of inches of me as I swerved to the right, avoiding him, and gunning it so that I could escape before I got too close to the car on the right.