Look Twice, Save a Life


And I to my motorcycle
Parked like the soul of the junkyard
Restored, a bicycle fleshed
With power, and tore off
Up Highway 106, continually
Drunk on the wind in my mouth,
Wringing the handlebar for speed,
Wild to be wreckage forever.

~James Dickey, “Cherrylog Road”

We love being in the wind, driver or rider. James Dickey said it best, “Drunk on the wind in my mouth.” But there are those who do not know the rules of the road here in California, or worse, they do not care. The concept of “Lane Sharing” here in California for many drivers is just something they would rather not have to do, an inconvenience when trying to apply makeup, text, eat and read emails via their smart phone I guess.

Two weeks ago as Thomas and I came down the 215 toward Temecula on a Sunday morning there was traffic due to a road crew cleaning up the shoulders. Traffic was very heavy and not typical of an early Sunday morning. On this day more drivers either refused to yield to us at all or moved closer to the inside of their lane than normal. Stupidity…? Absolutely.

On February 11th 2010 the CHP began its 2 year campaign “Look twice save a life” in an effort to educate the drivers of California to lane sharing. When the signs first came on, Cal Trans was flooded with phone calls, about 800. But in San Diego County, “None of the calls we’ve gotten have been positive,” said Edward Cartagena, spokesman for the San Diego Caltrans office. “One call was a 20-minute rant.” About a dozen callers angrily complained that it wasn’t their job to watch out for motorcyclists who speed, double up in lanes with cars or otherwise ride aggressively. (According to an article from February 19th 2010 on Signon San Diego.)

I am not writing this for the rider, but for the driver and for you to pass it on to others that drive here in California. We have to be a part of the solution to educating others, regardless if it is your Son, Daughter, Grandma, or out of state friend that visits here.

According to GHSA.org From January – September 2008 there were 454 motorcycle fatalities in California, and during the same period in 2009, there were 321. State wide fatalities are down about 10%. However, we still lead the nation in motorcycle related deaths, followed closely by Florida.

So for drivers, here is the skinny on Lane Sharing in the State of California.
The California Highway Patrol’s Web site says lane splitting “is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner,” However, it is not up to a driver to decide if a motorcyclist is being prudent or safe. Drivers should always yield to their own common sense and allow the rider to pass. In addition, the law is open to interpretation by the officer that may write a motorcyclist a ticket. The California Vehicle Codes used are not “specifically” written for motorcycles and therefore may be interpreted differently given speed and conditions of traffic, road conditions and weather.

Lane Sharing Laws in California

Motorcyclists who split lanes are sometimes cited under three sections of the state Vehicle Code:

Section 22350, the basic speed law
Section 21658, which governs lane changes
Section 21755 which allows passing on the right only under safe conditions.

When changing lanes, it is simple, look twice and listen; you may hear a rider before you ever see him or her.

If you are sitting in stop and go traffic, pay attention to your mirrors, if you see an approaching motorcycle move to the outside edge of your lane. And remember there may be more than one… we sometimes travel in packs! The riders appreciate your courtesy more than you know!

It just takes 2 seconds to give another look around when making a lane change, those few seconds could save a life!

Watch the lights and Stop signs! The worst collisions occur when a vehical has run a light or stop sign.

Do not attempt to pass riders on a two way road. Any number of things can go wrong causing an accident, from an animal on the road to the glare of the sun.

Do not merge in to a group of bikes. Allow them to pass please.

Don’t follow a bike too closely, what is a minor rear end in a car could be catastrophic to a bike.

Also keep in mind. Bikers don’t need a reason to ride, but if there is one, we’re all over it. Bikers all across the united States donate millions of dollars to charities every year. They give of their time to put together and to promote these events. So the next time you see rolling thunder en mass. Instead of griping about the noise and the minute or two is takes for them to pass, give thanks that they do what others rarely consider and show some gratitude and respect.

Wounded Veterans
Love Ride
Bikers against Child Abuse
Desert Thunder, Benefiting Children In Ca and NV.
Remember911 Charity ride Orange County Ca.
RIPS Ride, (Riders against Diabetes)
Save a Stray
Wheels of Steel Benefiting Ronald McDonald House, Yucaipa
Lost Girls Breast Cancer Ride, Visailia

Upcoming Bike Events to be aware of

Here in California it’s almost always a good time to ride. Between now and the end of October there are tons of Bike related events going on throughout Southern California.

These are some of the events that close out the riding season and bring out hundreds of bikes. Please be aware and pass this on to anyone that drives. Always use caution, but these weekends use a little more!

Every weekend in Old Town Temecula you will encounter many bikes. Stop at the stop signs please and be careful when driving through wine country.

The route to Cooks Corner in Orange County on any given Sunday including the 241 toll road and Santiago Canyon Road are particularly busy.

On 911 there are many rides that are occurring. The largest ride I am aware of is:

The 911 ride leaving Cooks Corner at about 2:15 pm.

This ride will include over 1500 Riders. The route is as follows and will pass these areas approximately at the given times.

241 South 2:30 -2:45
PCH north 2:50 – 3:10
Newport 2:55 – 3:10
PCH Bridge over the Back Bay 3:05 – 3:25
Enter Huntington Beach 3:30 – 3:35
Pass Huntington Beach Pier 3:30 – 3:50 pm
Sunset Beach 3:35 – 3:55 pm
Seal Beach/ Long Beach, North on PCH turning onto Studebaker then onto Marina Drive. 3:40 – 4:00 pm
Arriving at McKenna’s in Long Beach 3:45 – 4:05 pm
The ceremony begins at 4:30 and there will be many bikes in and around the area for a good portion of the evening.Please use caution if you are driving in these areas, expect traffic delays while riders are passing through. For more info you can go to remember911ride.com

Reno Street Vibrations is Held September 21 through the 25th. Watch for bikes heading out as early as the 19th and returning on the 26th. This year Street Vibrations is expanding into Virginia City. Be aware!

Las Vegas Bike Week. Use caution if you are traveling to or from Las Vegas or the routes in between So Cal and Vegas September 29 through October 3rd. Bike events in Las Vegas are not confined to any certain area. So use a little extra caution through out the region as there are several rides going on through out the weekend. (LANE SHARING IS NOT PERMISSIBLE IN NEVADA)

American Heat Palm Springs. about 4 Blocks of Palm Canyon closed to vehicle Traffic for the American Heat Bike Event October 14th – 16th. This is a great local event that brings out many riders just for a day on Saturday or Sunday. So use extra caution throughout the weekend on routes around the Palm Springs area all weekend.

If there is an event in your area that you will like to caution drivers about, drop me a line I will be happy to add it!

From all of us that ride and those that love us, Thanks!

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