[Elist] Blowing in the wind

John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 14 15:29:00 PET 2011

By John Del Santo
Do you want to talk about exciting !!   You’re toolin’ down the road on your bike on a beautiful, sunny day when out of the blue comes a 4’ X 8’ piece of plywood, flipping off the roof of a car, tumbling through the air at you!  Wow !!  Super Adrenaline Rush !!!  Do I have time to move to another lane?  Is someone in the next lane?  Will the plywood shift to another lane before it lands?  If I have to hit it, at what angle should I try to hit it?  If I brake hard enough to avoid it, will the car behind me have enough room to stop before he squishes me?  Decisions, decisions, decisions, and you only have about one second to make them.  Seeing the problems a little earlier would be a definite advantage.  Are you aiming far enough up the road to see cars swerving around something, or to see a bunch of brake lights come on all of a sudden?   Just about everybody  is driving a van or SUV these days.  If you’re following one of those,
 you can’t see through it, so leave enough following distance to see around it?  Do you have enough space to stop or accelerate out to someplace safer?
The most common foreign objects to find laying on the road are bungee cords, and the hook on those can puncture a tire.  The next most common things to find laying on the road, are the things that bungee cords were  holding down.  As we’re riding down the highway, we check out the cargo on the vehicles in front of us.  If we can’t see any visible tie-downs, we don’t stay there!   The average driver has no clue as to how much force the wind can create.
They’ll watch the news on TV and see a 65 mph gale blowing down houses and tall trees on the   Florida coast,  and yet they’ll put wooden chairs, a mattress, or an empty garbage can in the back of a pickup and drive down the highway at 65 mph and expect the stuff to stay there!  Expect  sudden attacks by beach chairs, empty coolers, barbecue grills, couch pillows, living room chairs, and aluminum ladders.  When this stuff appears on the road, how will the car in the lane next to you react?  Will they brake in a straight line, or will they get all Freaky and Swervy?  If you’re in their blind spot when things go bad, be ready to alert them with your horn.   You can run across these anytime, but more so in the hotter weather you’ll find big pieces of truck tire, “road ‘gators”, on the highway.  If you see a piece fly off a truck, expect more pieces to be launched at you real soon.
Once that foreign object is on the road, will it stay still where it is?  Big plastic Bed Liners have a nasty habit of popping out of the back of pickup trucks.  Recently, a rider saw a Bed Liner laying in the next lane of a freeway as he approached ….”Whew, got lucky on that one!”  And as the van in front of him passed the Bed Liner, the vacuum in the air behind the van sucked the Bed Liner into his lane where his motorcycle smashed into it.   Major Damage!… Major Bummer!
It sure would be nice to expect a clear highway in front of us.  But until we can fence off a couple of hundred miles of road, and not allow anyone else on it,  we’ll just need to stay alert  and be ready for just about anything that’s out there where it shouldn’t be. 
So, be aware, get your knees in the breeze, and….Ride Safe!

John Del Santo
( 619 ) 223-0421   


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