Thursday, January 10, 2008

If a tree falls in the forest....

This is just a sort of quick and humorous thought for the day.

Yesterday morning I was riding up the freeway in the dark. With the official sunrise being a little before 8 AM that's pretty typical. Sophie and I are settled pretty well into the hammer lane. If possible, I try to cruise just a little faster than prevailing traffic. Being prudent, of course. So the fast lane is where I spend a lot of time.

During one stretch there was this tiny little car behind me. It looked like a slightly overgrown golf cart. Seriously. I've seen different ones around but never on the freeway. It was too dark to get a good look and they never went around me. Instead, the little car pulled over two lanes and took the Woodburn exit. While the car was following me it was close enough behind to be considered tailgating. Traffic was heavy enough all I could really do was increase my own following distance.

As I'm keeping an eye on this little car an old story came to mind. One time I was helping an old man who'd stumbled in the crosswalk while crossing the street. As I dusted him off I was pulling him towards the sidewalk. I warned the old man about a VW bug coming along. The old man responded by saying, "What's it going to do? Crawl up my leg and kick me to death?"

Thinking back to this little car, the question about a tree falling in the forest and nobody being around to hear it came to mind. Then it transferred to this tiny little car. I know that anything can make an impact. Still, it's a whimsical question.

If you're riding a bike and being tailgated by one of these tiny little cars, are you really being tailgated?

Miles and smiles,

Dan

9 comments:

Conchscooter said...

I'll take any excuse to "increase my following distance." This morning there was water on the highway and I just had to pass the cars to keep my pants away from all the water they were throwing up. I only reached 70, just barely, officer.

Bryce said...

Suspect the "bug" may well have been
a "Smart" car. Produced in France, serviced by Mercedes-Benz dealers,
at least here in Canada, has a 900cc
Puch diesel. For the American market, propulsion was to be a petrol
engine, seems the Americans don't know how to relate to a diesel prime mover, and US diesel fuel is still poor quality compared
to what one may purchase elsewhere. hey are expensive
to purchase and to service.

There are many of them here in
Southern Ontario, two seats and not much else, superb fuel mileage and
really as suggested not much more
than a power golf cart. They do
appear to be unstable, they are not, that's for sure. And they cruise very nicely at 140 km/h.

Would I buy one? Doubtful. My Honda
Civic is far more comfortable and easily maintained, and for the price I could purchase an ST1300.

Steve Williams said...

Damn.

I just wrote a long comment, probably one of the best ever and when I hit the publish button I got an error message.

So it's gone forever. This gist of it was yes sir, been there, react in different ways, what do you mean 70mph officer, no Smart Car, maybe a Golf, and stuff like that...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

irondad said...

Conchscooter,
I swear, officer, faster CAN be safer!

Bryce,
There is a Mercedes Dealer here that has them. Actually, there's a custom home builder offering one free with the purchase of one of their homes. I'm not sure if this was one or not. Didn't get that good a look in the dark and rain. All I was was lights and the outline.

Steve,
Dang. Another treasure lost to humanity! I've had that happen to me. If it's a great and long comment I've taken up copying it just in case I need to paste it back in. You can never duplicate them, can you?

Take care,

Dan

Allen Madding said...

Anything within 3ft of my back fender is tailgating even if it is a crow :)

Biker Betty said...

I sure do hate it when cars follow too close.

David said...

"If a man makes a statement in a forest, and no woman is around to hear him, is he still wrong?" :)

Tailgating is wrong no matter who does it. Safe following distances seem to be disappearing out here in the land of blacktop. In my truck, when fully loaded, I try to leave 6-8 seconds following distance. There are brake lag issues with air brakes, reaction times, and if the road is slick with ice, snow, rain, or dirt, you may have traction problems. So the longer the distance the better. The problem is all the cars that seem to think that big hole was left for them to zip into. Wish I had a fix.

Dave T.

irondad said...

Allen,
Your nerves must be calmer than mine!

Betty,
I totally agree.

Dave,
As to your question of how to maintain space cushion: Rocket launchers come to mind. I've also thought about a force field. All that really works is rolling off.

Take care,
Dan

David said...

My initial thought for keeping sufficient distance between myself and the car in front of me involved flip up doors in the bumper and a couple M2 .50 caliber machine guns, aka "Ma Deuce". Unfortunately, the company said no, that there was too much liability involved. ;)

My next thought was that when you are issued a drivers license you are also given a paint ball gun. When you see someone doing something stupid you shoot their car. Any police officer seeing a car covered in paint would then be able to stop that vehicle and write them a ticket for extreme stupidity in the operation of a motor vehicle. Plus you'd have a way to ID the idiots on the road. Their cars would be covered in paint splotches! :)

Just a couple thoughts to try and brighten your day.

Dave T.