RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

The Road Often Traveled: Sound Familiar?

May 01, 2012 View Comments by

Motorcycle riding, and especially the morning commute, opens a rider’s eyes to all kinds of bad driving behavior. I was somewhat amused coming up with this list of offenders. If you’ve ridden long enough, I’m sure you’ve come across some, or possibly all, of these.

The Decelerating Merger: This is the driver who’s afraid to merge. As you slow to allow him to merge, he also slows so as to not cut you off, which of course creates a near accident where there should have been none.

The Morning Snacker: A favorite of mine. I once pulled up next to a car at a light, glanced to my left, and saw the driver lean over the passenger seat, reach into a bag, pull out an entire ear of corn, and munch away. I know. Who eats corn for breakfast?

The Tailgater Who Refuses to Pass: You know this guy, tailgating a motorcycle yet when a passing opportunity arises, he stays glued to your rear wheel anyway.

The Lane Hopper: The driver who thinks switching lanes repeatedly is going to get him to work faster. This person can’t look more than one or two cars ahead to get the entire picture, so they lane-hop all the way down the road.

The Cell Phone Walk and Talk: This is the person walking while talking on the cell phone, oblivious to the world around them, who is prone to stepping off the curb directly into your path. I take silent, delicious delight in utilizing my air horn in this situation.

The Eye Contact Cutoff: This is the driver who looks directly at you, which relaxes you since you think you were seen, then creates an “oh s***!” moment by pulling out directly into your path anyway.

The Stoplight Drifter: You’re at a light behind a car, the car begins to slowly roll back toward you. This exact scenario is why I bought an air horn in the first place.

The Creeper: The person waiting to pull into traffic who keeps slowly moving ahead, which makes you unsure whether or not you were seen.

The Hoodie: Usually a young driver wearing a hoodie, which totally obscures his or her peripheral vision and adds to their blind spots.

Mr. Turn Signals: This one has three classifications:

  1. Never uses turn signals. Never has, never will.
  2. Turn signal has been on since the day the car was purchased.
  3. Uses the turning of the wheel to trip the turn signal, giving no notice whatsoever.

Right Lane Exit from the Left Lane: This driver suddenly cuts across two lanes to exit with no notice. See Lane Hopper and Mr. Turn Signals.

The Left Lane Blocker: The infuriating car on the highway riding slowly in the passing lane (oblivious to your high-beam flash), which causes the car behind you to tailgate.

The Squeeze-By: This is the driver who can’t wait for the light to turn and has to see if he can squeeze by your side cases to make his turn.

The Last Second Lane Change: The driver who makes the split decision to be in the other lane, doesn’t look or signal. Like a cat suddenly deciding it needs to be in another room.

Commuting is always an entertaining challenge. To deal with the stress, I mentally give a “worst driver of the day” award. What other kinds of driver behavior have you come across?

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About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.