Meatsacking and Solyzynitsyn

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Thank the motor gods, automated car technology is nowhere near ready – because the people are.

Ready to sit and gape and text and wait. Anything except drive. They will welcome the opportunity not to do so. To a startling degree, they already have. Here’s a story which is merely one of many. You probably have several such of your own:

I was driving home – well, trying to drive home – on a stretch of Blue Ridge Parkway that is being resurfaced. Since most people apparently can no longer negotiate a work zone on their own, cannot manage driving on the travel lane not being worked on – despite abundant visual evidence, such as cones and men working on the other travel lane – it has become necessary to shuttle the backed-up cars through the work area under the guidance of a Pilot Car. No more waving cars through the zone on the expectation that a driver can – ought to be able to – deal with such a thing without guidance.

So, the cars stack up and wait – twice.

First, they bunch up at the entrance to the work zone, where a human drone stands there holding a Stop! sign. That is his job, all day long. Be grateful it is not your job. Things could be worse. Anyhow, the cars bunch up. They wait. Not to go – but for the Pilot Car (which is actually a truck) to return from herding the cars bunched up waiting at the other end of the work zone through the work zone.

Be grateful this isn’t your job, too.

Imagine creeping back and forth and back and forth, blinkers on for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety, of course – all day long, herding presumptive morons and certain meatsacks through a work zone, something the sixteen-year-olds of earlier generations (before the Safety Cult took hold) were expected to be able to do and if they couldn’t were expected not to drive anymore.

Well, we wait. Stupidly, mindlessly wait – while the Pilot Truck does its thing, which includes wasting a lot of gas, by the way – and just think about all the carbon dioxide being emitted. The Earf cries for mercy, like that Indian in the famous ‘70s TeeVee commercial.

Eventually, the Pilot Truck comes, turns around – slowly – and positions itself at last at the head of the conga line.  We are finally ready to proceed. Except some are not. For some, it is too much to even follow a Pilot Truck with flashers on gimping along at less than 25 MPH.

The car I was behind on this day.

It was too challenging, apparently, to keep up with the Pilot Truck. It receded into the distance – the driver apparently not noticing he was losing his tail. Shortly, he disappeared completely. I found myself behind this full-flowered Clover whose BMW sport sedan must have had holes in the floorpans, because it was moving about as fast as you’d expect if being pushed by his feet, Fred Flintstone style.

This, by the way, has become a general truism of recent BMW drivers – who often aren’t.

Drivers, I mean.

BMW has become one of the leading edge purveyors of driver Dunseling – a term Star Trek fans will recognize which refers to a computer which made Captain Kirk a chair warmer. BMW’s new cars are among the worst at checking and pre-empting the driver, deciding for him what he ought to do – for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety, of course.

This seems to attract a new type of driver – aka, meatsack. One who prefers machines which drive themselves as much as technically possible.

Anyhow, the BMW ahead was holding everyone up even more than the Pilot Truck idiocy. The pilot Truck was already in the next county. So I did a thing which almost no one does anymore.

I passed the BMW.

This stunned everyone. The person in the BMW, of course – and also the other 15 or 16 cars stacked up behind the BMW. Not one of which followed my example. Despite all of them clearly annoyed and expressing their annoyance via tailgating the car ahead. You could feel them fuming, almost – but not one of them made a move.

As Spock would say, fascinating!

It – and similar social experimenting – reveals the degree to which most people are browbeaten rule-obeyers incapable of exercising any initiative behind the wheel. Who wait resignedly to be told what to do and where to go. If Authority does not do so, then they are baffled.

Since no one told them to pass the BMW and passing was probably illegal, too – notwithstanding that doing so was both reasonable and safe – they wouldn’t. Not couldn’t.


This paralysis of initiative is the defining attribute of the modern American driver. Even more so than his learned incapacity. He is beaten. Submissive to the extent that it no longer oppresses him because he no longer realizes he is oppressed. He has been habituated to it. He even venerates it.

In support of that assertion, note the outrage which often follows when a non-meatsack (a few still exist) seizes the initiative and passes our man in the BMW, or anything like that.

There is an angry flashing of the high beams, accompanied by equally furious laying on of the horn. Clover is angered, at last! One senses that – if they could get their hands on the offender – they would see him burned at the stake.

It is the same mentality – the same duality – which existed in the Middle Ages and in Soviet Russia and other such places, which the U.S. increasingly resembles. Cringing submission before Authority, terrified to do anything which might offend the Authority . . . yin yanged by savage adulation when a heretic is caught and punished by Authority for affronting it.

But not this time.

The non-driven-machine BMW receded rapidly in the rearview, along with its tail of 15 or 16 cars, all of them no doubt fuming at the spectacle of the lone heretic escaping and disappearing, Red Barchetta style.

These are the same people, by the way, who will not only willingly but eagerly assist when things get much worse than idiot-proofed work zone and Pilot Trucks.

Remember your Solzynitsyn.

. . .

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  1. The behavior exhibited by the BMW driver, and by those who wouldn’t dare to pass him; the behavior that has become the norm on the roads….is not just reserved for the roads. The roads are where we see it most in evidence amongst strangers, but such people who practice that behavior, do so in all other spheres of life too!!!

    It’s the inability to think for oneself.
    The refusal to do anything that hasn’t been prescribed as the official course of conduct for a given situation.
    The unwillingness to take personal responsibility, and to be accountable to yourself and your neighbor before any “authority” or rulesc penned by faceless strangers you’ve never met.

    It’s the smartphone generation of dummies. Virtual zombies who go through life not as human beings, but as programmed automatons- and that is what they are, having been programmed by schools and the media into being nothing more than the obsequious consumers that Uncle wants them to be- who react not on thought, but, like a computer, merely with predictable responses to rehearsed situations- and who are baffled when a situation arises which hasn’t been anticipated or for which no response has been programmed- in which case, it’s “revert to saaaafety mode and do nothing until told what to do”.

    We are so screwed in every way! As the older generations are dying out and being replaced by these zombies, it’s getting worse and worse.

  2. “I see it as a common sense and the courteous thing to not ride a bicycle on a road where traffic is dense”

    Exactly what Moose and I were saying. Naturally, the passive/aggressive response is “Oh, so you want bicycles eliminated from roads” . Bicyclists have the right to ride in traffic, just as bad drivers have the right to drive in a way that endangers everyone else. Those rights don’t keep a person from being killed or injured while doing something retarded just because it’s their right to do so.

    Those who do as they please will shoulder their own responsibilities. Like an addict who overdoses, those types generally eliminate the problems they cause all by themselves. Let ’em have at it.

    • So says the people who have never ridden a bicycle at speed.

      Go ride 20mph down a sidewalk. See how “safe” that is.

      Be sure to let me know when the pedestrian you hit sues you or you get creamed by a turning motorist who wasn’t looking for traffic on the sidewalk.

      • “At speed” for a bicyclist is still too slow to be out there in motor vehicle traffic. Riding on a sidewalk is even worse. Do as you please, Brent. You’ve been warned that what you’re doing on your bike is a danger to yourself and to motorists. I hope you never get hurt out there among the cars, and that you never cause an accident by being where you don’t belong.

        • Who says that roads are only for cars or vehicles that can travel at a certain speed? Uncle may’ve largelyconvinced everyone that such is the case- but shouldn’t roads be for everyone?

          It is pure statism that we are forced to pay for a gargantuan infrastructure of smooth-paved roads, suitable for high-speed automobile traffic, but if we practiced the Libertarianism/Anarchy which we preach, and lived in a world where such was practiced, wouldn’t all have to share the roads? Horses, bicycles, various home-made conveyances, ATVs, UTVs, etc.?

          Why is it assumed that the car driver automatically has preeminence and a superior right above everyone else? In a world with no government, who would enforce such an artificial right?

          Would a Ferarri driver have a right not to be impeded by cars that are going a mere 60MPH?

          • Way to miss the point, Nuz. Did I say that bicycles should be prohibited on the roads? I said, in effect, that riding a bicycle in traffic is dangerous to the rider and to drivers because of how poorly most people drive these days.

            Jeezly crow, son, you’re as bad as Brent.

            • Oh, I agree, Ed- it’s getting crazier and crazier out there. I’d hate to see how it is in the cities/congested areas now; it’s bad enough here in the country where cars are few, but drivers are so distracted.

              I just kinda got the idea that when you said “Bicycles should stay out of the way” that you were kind of advocating that cyclists just defer to automobile traffic because the cars have a right to be there while the cyclists don’t.

              Sorry if I misunderstood.

              My attitude when I cycle, is that if I can stay out of the way- like if there’s a shoulder- I do so. Where I ride though, it’s pretty much all narrow, shoulderless roads, and most of the time, the only thing to do is to occupy the lane fully so that you can be seen, and so that cars and trucks don’t try and squeeze past you where there’s not room- basically just the same as if I’m driving my tractor on the road (Well…at least my bike is faster than my tractor!).

              • Nunz, Ever notice how so many motorists will be polite to someone blocking the whole lane with tractor or a slow truck but then get angry at a bicyclist who is moving faster and is easy to pass?

                They’ll get angry because they had to make a slight adjustment for a few seconds but politely stay behind a slow motor vehicle for ages.

                There have been times when I’ve been lined up with a slow motor vehicle to my left and when I get of it people get angry with me.

                • Morning, Brent!

                  I think I know why – in re your point about the disparity between the way people generally react to a tractor or other four-wheeled slow-mover and cyclists. I think it’s because the tractor and so on are considered necessary evils while the cyclists we are talking about are considered annoying because they are riding for pleasure.

                  The tractor has to use the road to get from A to B. The old lady doing 27 in a 45 is . . . an old lady. But a guy in a spandex suit on his $4,000 bicycle . . . several guys, in series or riding in a pack… that gets people backed up because while it’s legal, it’s annoying because it’s not a necessary evil.

                  To an extent, I agree – when the cyclists are out riding on busy roads without a generous shoulder/wide travel lanes and the traffic on that road is moving at a speed well above what a cyclist can maintain (e.g., a road with a traffic normally flowing at about 40 MPH or faster, particularly when that road also has steep uphill grades that reduce the cyclist to a speed just above walking speed).

                  If the road isn’t busy, has adequate shoulders and the traffic is moving at a speed within the capacity of a bicycle to keep pace, then it’s not a problem – or shouldn’t be.

                  I understand, of course, that the cyclists we’re talking about are usually not just knocking around but out for a 20 mile (or more) workout and that it’s hard to find roads for that which aren’t busy, with traffic that isn’t running at least 40 MPH and often faster.

                  And that’s the rub.

                  I think the situation is generously analogous to my shooting old cans with my guns in my backyard at 2 in the morning – while playing loud heavy metal music. It’s legal (in my area) to do so but I don’t do it because it’s not necessary and I understand the noise is obnoxious to people who are trying to sleep and that I can shoot my guns and play my heavy metal during daylight hours.

                  That’s my 50.

                  • Oh I love tractors, pass them all the time, I respect the work they’re doing and appreciate how for the most part they tend to stick toward the farthest point of the shoulder and are only on the road for as much time as they have to be to get the job done. Not an annoyance, truly can’t be helped.

                    • Hi Moose,

                      Yup, same. I live – as you gnoe – in a rural area. Lots of farms, lots of tractors. I have one, too. People understand and are patient with them.

                      But when you round a blind curve coming up Bent Mountain (PSL 45, easier – and fun – to go much faster) which is probably a 9 percent grade uphill and all of a sudden encounter a cyclist struggling just to keep moving … it’s oil and water.

                      Yes, I know they have the legal right to ride there. And I’m by no means arguing “there ought to be a law” outlawing it.

                      I just wouldn’t ride there, for reasons of common sense and courtesy.

                      Besides, I don’t do spandex… or cod pieces!

                    • I grabbed dashcam footage the other day as a good example. Just as I was approaching one popped out onto the road to do the edge of their property and quickly got back on the grass without bringing traffic to a slow. No biggie. There’s other giant ones through farm areas that take up a lane and a half. But plenty of warning, visibility and time enough to see around them and go.

                      Sure, the clovers who don’t understand what to do as they approach can create problems. But since I keep my distance behind themmm as well… I can see around to safely pass the line of em.

                  • Eric, that may be their perception but it’s really no different.

                    Why can’t a person buy a trailer and pickup and move his tractor that way? And if it’s a bigger tractor a bigger truck. It is no more or less of a choice to drive that tractor on the road than it is to use a bicycle.

                    If there is another route why doesn’t the tractor guy take it? Probably because its significantly longer.

                    Like I’ve mentioned before I have no love for group riders. They are rude to even solo bicyclists like me.

                    I’ve only done one organized ride in my life and have no desire to do another one because they the slow and rude would block the entire lane. I would have to slow to 8mph wait for a gap in on coming traffic, hammer up to 25-30 mph to pass in the small gap rinse and repeat. I couldn’t complete the full 100miles because of that. The whole thing is much worse with a bicycle than a car. It’s pretty easy to time things with a car to avoid slowing to the 8mph in first place and the acceleration doesn’t deplete the motorist physically at anything close to the same.

                    • Hi Brent,

                      Tractors generally operate briefly on the road – to get from field to field or from field to house (and so on). Most of the time – in my area – it’s less than a mile; and it’s not recreational – which I think is part of the source of driver annoyance with cyclists. Particularly when they are cycling on roads with travel speeds beyond ability of a bike to keep up with, such as secondary highways with speed limits of 45 MPH or more and cars generally operating 5-10 MPH faster (as usual).

                      It probably wasn’t an issue before Armstrong Fever took hold; when you rarely saw any cyclists on roads other than neighborhood roads and most of those cyclists were kids. But then – it seemed like someone snapped a finger – cycling became a popular adult activity/sport – and now adult cyclists are common. So now, unlike in the past, people are encountering cyclists frequently. And it’s the frequency that annoys.

                      It’s one thing – as a parallel example – to encounter a slow-driving old lady every now and then and just go around her. But when you encounter that old lady almost every time you’re trying to get somewhere… .

                      And of course, she’s not wearing Spandex 🙂

                      Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

                    • I don’t wear spandex. I don’t even use the special shoes. I do own a pair because I tried it for awhile but the clipping in and out was too annoying for the minor power gain.

                      Because I don’t wear the uniform of the serious bicyclist motorists often feel they are free to abuse me more.

                      I’ve biked to work, I’ve biked to go shopping. I’ve biked for fun. I’ve biked to go see friends. In other words all the things I’ll use my cars for.

                      I’ve been doing it since I got my first road bike in 1982. Back then “Breaking Away” was blamed instead of Lance.

                      If you want to understand where the rude people come from, they are new urbanists or other forms of automobile haters. I’ve described their politics and attitudes in the past. They aren’t real bicyclists. If I encountered “Critical Mass” on my bicycle they would probably attack me because I would insist on my green signal or something else regarding the rules of the road that would anger them. Never mind that I am far more militant about a bicyclists’ right to use the roadway than they will ever be.

                      Another thing, I don’t see anyone being harassed for taking their ancient cars out on the road for fun even though they slow people down because the cars are truly ancient or just don’t have the brakes for modern traffic or whatever. It’s a dangerous slope to accept the argument the roads should only be used for acceptable travel.

                      Anyway in NE Illinois the tractors can be easily on the road for miles. I myself have driven a tractor on public roads for miles back when I had summer job taking care of parks and had to mow grass and drag baseball infields.
                      But in my instance that tractor was more dangerous than the local traffic.

                  • Lately I have seen several times one or two spandex wearing bicyclers on a shouldered 4 lane U.S. highway being trailed by a car with flashers on the roof. What is up with that? The bicyclers are not “saving gas and therefore saving the planet” if they have to be followed by a slow moving car. Is the car carrying drinking water, Gatorade, and/or spare bicycle parts? The bicyclers appeared to be in their 20’s or 30’s.

                    • Maybe eric can do a clovercam series on bicyclists playing in traffic, Brian.

                      Though I don’t use the term “clover”, that’s pretty much what these guys are.

                • Exactly, Brent! Or how nobody complains when the pigs shut down all 6 lanes of a road because there was an accident in one lane….”for their own saaaaatey” (Something which only seems to be done here in America)…and nobody complains…

                  I think Eric is on the right track. I’ll just add that the average person views a bicycle as being a child’s toy- and therefore having “no bidness being on the road”- and they view adults who ride bikes as being retarded or something.

                  Here in my area, I am treated very well when on my bike- but I think it has more to do with the fact that there are no other cyclists here, so drivers have not had negative experiences with the ubiquitous dickwad types; than it does with the fact that I am courteous and considerate of other traffic when I ride.

          • As one of the other avid cyclists on this blog, I’ll chime in. By Eric’s standards, which I think are valid, I am an objectively safe cyclist. I have never caused harm to the person or property of others. I have had a few spectacular wrecks while riding mountain single track, but all of the damage was confined to myself and my bike.

            I have lived in the Detroit area, the Chicago area, Annapolis and Santa Fe. I’ve spent alot of time in Texas visiting family. I have driven and ridden extensively in all those areas. It is common that another driver does something stupid, inconsiderate and unsafe. However, it is rare that I encounter a cyclist who does the same. Other drivers are far more annoying and dangerous than cyclists. Perhaps, because I’m a cyclist, I do not consider having to slow down briefly to safely pass to be anything other than a normal driving experience.

            In my experience, most cyclist avoid roads where it is truly unsafe to ride. At least in Santa Fe, those who don’t probably don’t have a car and may choose the main roads because to do otherwise would make using a bike as necessary transportation impractical and too time consuming. I always avoid the main business thoroughfare through town, but I ride on smaller streets and country roads alot.

            As to pleasure vs necessity. The vast majority of auto trips are not necessary. Short, 1 mile or less, trips could easily be walked by most people; and vanity trips like going to the mall to hang out, cannot be considered necessary. Of course, I begrudge no one for doing this. I actually use my bike for most short errands and I often incorporate longer rides into a “necessary” trip. We have a bicycle wholesaler in town and I usually ride my bike to pick up the parts I need for my business. Depending on the route, this gives me a nice way to get in a 15 – 25 mile ride.

            In most cases, cycling is “unsafe” due to the actions/attitude of drivers. As Brent and Nunzio have pointed out, many drivers behave very differently around cyclists than they do around other drivers, even when the other driver is being a clover. I don’t find the pleasure vs necessity argument to be convincing. Part of being an objectively safe driver is being able to stop/avoid an unexpected occurrence, whether it’s a cyclist riding up a hill, or a slow moving car looking for a turn, or a tractor, whatever.

            I am a hyper aware and assertive cyclist. However, I apply the same rules for myself when riding as I do when cycling. I never pull out in front of someone, forcing them to slow down or change direction. I don’t block intersections, etc… I will pass stopped cars, which annoys some but I don’t think they’ve thought through the issue very well, as they never want to stay behind me once the light turns. In short, they want me to take the full lane when stopped, but move over when traffic moves again. I choose to not interfere with them while traffic is moving, and pass them when it is not.

            Where I completely agree with others here is with the group ride. I also avoid them like the plague.


              • Well-said, Jeremy!

                If cyclists would only practice the same behavior when riding as they do when driving cars, trucks, motorcicles, farm machinery, whatever….and drivers would deal with cyclists the same as they do with other vehicles at whatever given speed the cyclist may be going, there would be very few probblems.

                Same deal with mopeds. I was in back of a guy on a 49cc scooter one day….I hung back and gave him room, and when he came to a spot in the road where there was an opportunity, he pulled over and let me by. Win/win. Why do so many others have to asset some imaginary rights and lay claim to their “ownership” of the roads and battle everyone else, instead of cooperating like that?

                All of the laws in the world can not replace that kind of simple voluntary cooperation.

                And I third the group-ride thing! Never have ridden with a group…never will! Cycling is a bout freedom; not following the guy in front of you.

              • Exactly Jeremy. Vehicular bicycling. There is little difference between how bike and how I drive.

                I refuse to filter to the front of the queue. This has made some motorists angry. But I have a rule of not passing those who have passed me. First it annoys me to pass the same bicyclist twice when I am driving so I don’t do it others and second I don’t want an angry bicyclist hating motorist to have any violation of the vehicle code to use on me. Your state may vary there.

                Another thing I hate about traffic lights is all those clovers who can’t find the accelerator when you’re behind them can find it when you’re in front of them on a bicycle. I swear these people don’t match my bicycle performance when I am behind them driving or biking but if I am in front of them on a bicycle…. look out.

        • Ed, I’ve been warned? The only appropriate response to that uses language Eric probably doesn’t want me using here.

          I’ve been a full time vehicular bicyclist for 22 years and been riding roads for 36 years or so. The only problems I ever have are with people with attitudes like yourself who go the extra mile and decide to use their motor vehicles as weapons because they’ve decided I don’t belong on their road. The way to get hurt is to ‘stay out of the way of cars’ where the garden variety moron isn’t looking for traffic. That’s how you get killed on a bicycle. Murdered, sure someone with your attitude may decide to murder me some day.

          Where I belong is on the road. With traffic because bicycling is just as much traffic as anything else. In the city of Chicago sidewalk riding is a huge fine. More than “speeding”. It’s also illegal in various suburbs. Furthermore it is bicyclists that started privately and otherwise building smooth paved roads in this country that paved the way for the mass use of the automobile in the first place.

          Nunz, exactly. Here’s what streets were like when this was still a free country:

          It’s a shame there is so little film of mundane things like this that survived.

          • Brent, you’re being your usual drama queen self. Now you’re saying that I would run over a cyclist. You’re also claiming that I suggested you ride on the sidewalks. I didn’t suggest any such thing.

            I usually don’t respond to you, or even read your passive/agressive posts, but you responded to me with your silliness. I don’t care if you want to pretend that you, on your bike, are safe riding in traffic with the insane drivers we have on the roads today.

            If you are killed by a car, it won’t be by someone with my attitude, it will more likely be by someone who is a lousy driver who doesn’t even notice you on your bike.

            You can’t go back to the days when the streets were like they were in the video. That was 112 years ago. Today, traffic is murderous. Ride in it if you like, but don’t try to say that my attitude, which is simply that bicycles are dangerous to ride in traffic, makes me willing to run your silly ass down because I’m willing to point out to you that bicycles and crazy drivers are a bad combination.

            Thanks for the latest in your series of hysterical posts. I’ll go back to just ignoring what you post here, but now I’ll also ignore anything you direct at me.

            • Yeah.. Nobody ever jumped to using vehicle as a weapon. We’ve stayed very cool headed in this discussion. It’s relief for me to finally hear from other people who actually understand what I’ve been saying all these years. My whole point is I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of running them over!

              • Moose, it’s been my experience that the majority of cyclists out there are dickwads….and the rest of us suffer for them- just like the good nigger suffers because of all the rest of ’em….

                • That has been my experience as well. Around here they delight in taking over roads that have no shoulder or bike lane. Especially when roving in packs they’ll spread out and block vehicular traffic. (Not to mention that many have total disregard for the rules of the road that the rest of us are forced to follow.)

                  I drive an old V8 barge with no emission controls and a manual choke (added when the automatic one failed). So when being inconvenienced by dickwads such as Brent, when I can finally pass I’ll pull up on the choke and nail the throttle to give ’em a nice cloud of unfiltered unburned hydrocarbons to brighten their day.

                  • Dickwad? Name calling now? Well for your information your assholishness, I avoid group rides like the plague.

                    The way I ride if you can’t pass me then you have no business behind the wheel of an automobile. But it’s assholes like you that I have to deal with who deliberately try to cause me harm because they think I have no business on “their road”.

                    You come across like the shithead who decided to accelerate and brush pass me to the point of 2 inches on a 35mph PSL RESIDENTIAL two lane street because he didn’t think I should be there. All he managed to do was end up on the bumper of the vehicle in front of me and then well I followed him. Fucker got to house maybe 5 seconds before I did.

                    • Hey! Hey! Hey!

                      I wasn’t talking about YOU, Brent.

                      I was saying that a majority of cyclists seem to be dickwads- and I’m sure that you’ve seen many examples of such- i.e. the ones who act as if all other traffic should defer to them; who blow stop signs without a care (and then sue the car driver when they get hit); the kind who struggle up a hill at 5MPH and refuse to pull over when they come to a wide spot to let the line of traffic that has formed behind them pass safely; the “Critical Mass” asses; the douches who do 25MPH on the MUT…..etc. etc.

                      [Although your response was posted under Jason’s post, I assume you were replying to me, because I’m the one who said “dickwad”]

                      I assume that you are NOT one of them…..

                  • I would say, Brent, based on the available evidence that you are both a shithead and a dickwad. Congratulations. That’s not an easy combination to achieve.

                    • Hi Jason,

                      I know this is a heated topic, but let’s try to keep it above board! Brent’s a long timer here and while we may disagree about some things, he’s almost always got something smart to say.

                      You, too!

                    • Jason, there was a story I saw once. It was about a guy who drove a tank and treated motorists like you the way they treat bicyclists.

                      If you want some hierarchy of vehicles, then get rid of the laws, the vehicle code, the social conventions and just make it might makes right. Faster, bigger, tougher wins.

                      I don’t think you’ll like that world very much.

            • Ed, You’re the one who clearly wrote that bicyclists don’t belong on the road. You’re the one who chose the words “you’ve been warned”.

              When someone uses their vehicle as a weapon towards me they use exactly the same claims you typed out. No “drama queen” about it. Same words. Same arguments. Same attitude. I didn’t accuse you of anything except having the same attitude, so you should can your drama queen projection that I said you would run over a bicyclist. You express yourself like those who have used their vehicle as weapon towards me express themselves.

              Each time I’ve nearly been killed over the last couple decades it came at the hand of someone who was quite deliberate about it. Either clearly so because they did something like veer across the double yellow line and drive right at me and then return to the proper side. Those who accelerated and moved right. Those whom I caught up to and got to hear from their own mouths. Those whom yelled things like “GET OFF THE ROAD” as they took their action. Those who parked up ahead on a side street or parking lot and then waited for me to tell me how I shouldn’t be on their road. The garden variety clover? Much more rare and never anywhere near as close.

              Your attitude is beyond the grossly misinformed and ignorant “bicycles are dangerous to ride in traffic” you went to the point of using language on par with “nice house you have, shame if anything should happen to it”.

          • Ah! Thanks for posting that vid, Brent!

            Now THAT’S the way it should be!

            Even my mother and her siblings growing up in the heart of NYC in the 20’s and 30’s remember the frequent sight of horses and wagons, and push carts and street cars, etc. all sharing the streets with cars.

            Oh, and I love that those street cars in the vid were NOT government-run nor government-subsidized! Back then, “mass transit” was purely a free-market private enterprise, established and run by investors for profit, who charged enough fare so that it the riders would actually have to pay for their ride, and a profit for the company.

            Man, what we have lost!

  3. Speed limits are supposed to be for safety, but I spend more time looking at my speedometer (worried about getting robbed by Roscoe P Coltraine) than I do watching the road! That’s not very safe. But I actually LIKE the speed limit signs because they help you to know what a recommended safe speed is for dangerous areas (like mountain corners), but Roscoe is just driving everyone crazy.

  4. Once a line has formed, it is very obviously a line reguardless of whether or not bread is at the end. Why else would you purposely pass other people who are obviously getting in line in order to smoothly travel through the zone unless your intent is to cut in line? The comment I was replying about is of a guy driving well over a mile in order to cut in line. Where there not any Construction Ahead signs? I bet there was. Did he read them? Apparently not. Those assholes in line who stop and let a bunch of cutters in probably cut the line themselves just a little bit earlier, and they want to assist their asshole brethren. I have had a 4 wheeler shoehorn himself ahead of me and immediately hitting his brakes in order to make room for another line cutter. I damn near crashed into his dumb ass, and I laid on the air horn big time!
    Your suggestion to fill all lanes is what we are being forced into switching to, thanks to the line cutters. What if we started doing that at post offices and banks? There is space on the floor by the clerk: Go occupy it. To hell with people waiting in line!
    Like you: I also hate virtue-signalers and people who don’t merge onto highways correctly. This world has far too many assholes, and they drive, ride, and pedal all types of vehicles.

    • In a perfect world what would happen is that people would use both the closing and the through lane and do a zipper merge at the choke point, one vehicle after the other alternating from both lanes. Of course this is not what happens.

      I have to admit that on warning that a lane is closing I get into the through lane on the basis that I would rather be granting admission into the lane rather than depending on someone else to let me in. When I get to the merge if there are people waiting to break in I’ll generally let one in per the zipper merge theory. (The car behind me can let the next one in.) Whether the guy or gal is a self-important jerk engaging in linebreaking or just trying to make effective use of road space is not really relevant. Traffic still has to move. No purpose is served by blocking them. The exception would be if it is a cop or other car with gunvermin plates or insignia trying to break in. Then I just keep looking straight ahead and pretend that I don’t see them.

      I suppose when we are all forced into self-driving pods then we will see true zipper merges happening when lanes merge. We must welcome our robot overlords.

      • In a perfect world, people would get into a single line and steadily go through the zone without rubbernecking. This would be easy to prove. Place 100 cars in a row and forbid passing. The other group would also have 100 cars total, but would be broken into 2 lanes of 50 cars. Both groups have to go through a single lane zone. It should be obvious which group gets through the zone fastest. Zippering would be slower than the single file method without lane cutters, but the selfish lane cutters have screwed everyone else for years now, so we have to go for the more inefficient zipper method to keep them from cutting. Pathetic!!!

  5. Eric,

    Spot on as usual. I love your POV on both autos and on how the world works. I also love that I often find a new word to add to my vocabulary in your articles.

    Auto and health insurance along with the “Shared Responsibility” nonsense are topics that should be near and dear to all thinking people, your articles really touch on the crux of the issue(s).

    I always look forward to a new article and hit refresh at least once a day- and whenever I’m not banned on Facebook (because I also like to speak my mind, unfettered), I share your articles with my like minded friends.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. The US used to be a moral, peaceful, and free country with a balanced budget. Now the USA is an immoral bankrupt warmongering police state. Saying nothing just seems wrong.

    The US government is no longer legitimate.

    The USA is no longer a democracy. Why obey the law or pay taxes when Americans have no control over what laws are made or what the tax rate should be?

    How can you obey the law when everything is illegal?

    Why should Americans obey the law when the government and illegal aliens don’t?

    How can you obey the law when our overlords don’t even tell you what the law is?

      • Hey Ed,

        Democracy, especially the large scale nation state form, is incompatible with a free society. No greater gift has ever been given to the power elite than democracy. We are taught that democracy provides a check on government power, but the opposite is true. The purpose of democracy is to legitimize the state and to weaken what Nock called social power.

        Cheers, Jeremy.

        • Hi Jeremy,


          Democracy is brilliantly devious because it gives the illusion of consent, which legitimizes coercion in a way that a monarchy or dictatorship can never emulate successfully.

          Instead of a single thug ruler and his minions, “the people’ rule. Except, of course, they do not. Some people rule everyone else. A ruling caste, which pretends to “represent” the “people.” It does not stand up to critical thinking, of course. But that is no problem because most people do not think critically, if they think at all.

          • Hi Eric,

            “It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power. There is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power.” – Albert Jay Nock

            Democracy is the means by which “we” grant power and legitimacy to the state. As you point out, Democracy is brilliantly devious because it is the most effective means of transferring social power to state power, made possible by deluding the people into believing that state power is an expression of social power. To some extent, you have to admire the bastards; under the guise of “the will of the people”, the state acquires legal power to do that which would be illegal and immoral if done by an individual. The entire edifice rests on the concept of the delegation of just authority, but I cannot delegate a power that I do not possess. Thus, virtually all of what government does is illegitimate on its’ own terms.

            This is true of any form of government, but democracy is the most pernicious because it asserts that every exercise of government power is justified by “the consent of the governed”. As you state, monarchs and dictators must be leery of arrogating to much power to themselves because there exists no assumption of consent. This creates a check on power much more meaningful than the vote.

            The vote has effectively destroyed any other means of protest. We are told, as long as we can vote, that the only legitimate means of changing unjust law is to petition the lawmakers and hope that some of them will promise to do as we wish. Of course, once elected, none of them are legally obligated to do so.

            “The competition of social power with State power is always disadvantaged, since the State can arrange the terms of competition to suit itself, even to the point of outlawing any exercise of social power whatever in the premises; in other words, giving itself a monopoly.” – Albert Jay Nock

            The state asserts that one can freely object to any particular exercise of state power, but one may not legally withhold the funds that allow such exercise. The state asserts that one may disagree with any particular law but one may not legally ignore such law, nor refuse to punish others accused of transgressing the law because the law is unjust. Judges routinely lie to jurors about whether they may judge the law as well as the facts. Such social power was once considered indispensable as a check on government power. Now, if one believes a law to be unjust, the only legal avenue is to vote and hope that the law is changed. Democracy has ushered in this change.

            Churchill had it half right.


        • True, Jeremy. My view in a nutshell. I love skewering republicans who mention “our great democracy” by asking them, “What are you a fucking democrat?”

    • The US government has been invading other countries for a long time. It was the way you described (moral, peaceful) for probably the first few decades of its existence.

      • Hi Escher,

        The more I dig into it, the more I see that things began to go sour almost immediately. Washington pursued the “tax rebels,” Adams criminalized criticism of the government. Jefferson “decided” to buy Louisiana with authority he lacked and money he stole.

        The Spanish (and Mexicans) were raped of their land; the Indians were dealt with like the Germans dealt with the Jews and untermenschen of Eastern Europe (Hitler himself noted the commonality).

        We enjoyed a degree of liberty for a period of time because of the necessity of paying lip service to the ideas of the Revolution – which was really about replacing the British elite with the colonial elite, though the common man was gulled into thinking it was about freedom, which it was not.

        But as generation succeeded generation, even paying lip service became less and less necessary because the people became more and more used to having their conditional and piecemeal liberties encroached upon and because there was no longer any conception of principled, inviolate liberty it was easy to turn liberty into conditional privileges, if even that.

        • Well-said, Eric!

          In a nutshell, I think what it boils down to is that the further back we go, the smaller and less powerfull government was; and the lower the level of technology, made it possible for those who cared to more easily evade interference and control. Not that this was ever a “free country” at any time (Except perhaps when it was populated purely by Injuns).

          As time goes on, the government just keeps growing exponentially- even just in our lifetime. And this continues unabated…as, if one dares to look at any real “news”, literally a day does not go by when they are not enacting some new laws/legislation.

          As one example: Not that there weren’t plenty of civilians and government leeches 100 years ago who wanted to get their hands on your children…it’s just that the infrastructure to do so on a nationwide basis wasn’t yet in place. So they put such an infrastructure in place, and used propaganda to quell the objections of most.

          Now that Obammycare is in place, how long will it be before what we choose to eat, or how much exercise we get, or when we sleep will be regulated too?

          And the stuff that we were taught, but never questioned! Like the Louisiana Purchase that you mentioned. Why would *they* care about adding to their territory, unless they were as kings deriving benefits from having a greater territory?

          The genius of the Founders, was in coming up with the idea to pay lip-service to liberty; to tell their subjects that they were “free”- to made them think that by cooperating with and participating in a system of governance, that that would somehow constitute and promote “freedom”- the very thing which all government destroys.

          Their plan worked brilliantly. 200 years later, in this police state, we have more people believing that they are “free” because they can vote (LOL); and who gladly fork-over 50% of their wages to their overlords, and send their kids of to kill and be killed in the service of their kings…..

          Just look at the last 100 years alone- even with the broadest glass:

          The establishment of the Federal Reserve.
          Income Tax.
          Establishment of FDR’s commie regime.
          Confiscation of gold.
          Huge public works projects (Dams, Highways; CCC camps…)
          WW2 (Everyone and everything went toward “the war effort”- there was NO anti-war contingent. Thank goodness we didn’t live then- we would have been shot- or just died from the disgust of it all!)
          90% top tax bracket!
          GI bill.
          Korean War.
          Overthrowing the gov’t of Iran & installing “our guy”.
          Destroying gov’ts in Central & South America for banana/rubber companies, under the guise of fighing “communism”.
          Special rights for some people at the expense of others (“Civil Rights”)

          Well, you get the idea- but we could go on and on- and those are just some of the major events on the national level- not to mention all of the never-ending day-to-day stuff, and on the state, county, and local levels, which is what REALLY affects us day to day……

          If this is liberty…..

  7. What you say about BMW is so true too…. coming of age and figuring out cars in the 90s BMW really was the ultimate driving machine…. today its sad but to drive its like any other high end luxury car…. worse they are getting so big and heavy….

    was thinking about picking up an old (early 2000s) m3…. but it turns out people are noticing…. they are shooting up in value, and its actually more expensive then a 911 of the same year….

    • Hi Nasir,

      Yup. If more evidence is needed, consider that BMW’s CEO recently stated that future BMWs would be automatic only, because automatics are more “efficient.”

      • also Gov mandated ‘Automatic Breaking’ along with most ‘nanny’ stuff requires an AT. Manuals will be a thing of the past soon… ;-(

  8. Hey Eric, love your stories…. look forward to hearing about the day you commit the ultimate sin… and overtake the pilot car itself….. We all know you want to……

  9. It’s gotten to the point where no one even passes when it’s allowed.

    Last weekend coming back from south GA I took two lane US321 instead of I-95 & 26 (to avoid that idiocy). I was behind about seven cars stacked up behind a semi who kept tapping his brakes. A BMW suv was first behind the big rig…about ten car lengths doing 45-50 in a 55 zone where people normally run 65-70. After a couple passing moves up through the line I noticed a motorhome that was ahead of the semi. After getting around I noticed NO ONE passed even though there were several straights of nearly a mile that was clear of on-coming traffic.

    Also, both the motorhome and BMW had tags from the Sunshine State, yes, they were Floridiots.

    • Mark, one thing to keep in mind about Floridiots is that they’re usually retirees from states other than Florida. The motor home driver was likely a retired G7+ who had driven in DC beltway traffic for the past 20 years and thought that creeping along at 10 mph below the posted limit is still recklessly fast. Couple that with the fact that he has never driven anything larger than a Prius before buying his dream machine “camper”, and you get a rolling roadblock type of driver.

      These fedgov retirees infest other states as well. They are clogging the highways here in south/central Virginia. All-You-Can-Eat fish head buffets for all of them.

      • I agree with you about the retirees Ed. I have long suspected that the real reason people don’t need special licenses for pulling large travel trailers or motor-homes is because politicians and the ruling elite do not want to take those tests themselves. It is far more difficult in Missouri to get a motorcycle license or CDL, especially if the CDL holder requires a hazmat endorsement, than it is to get a standard car license.
        Here are examples of people who have to get special licenses in Missouri:
        I see those RV idiots, rental moving trucks such as Ryder, and pick-up trucks pulling a trailer crossing over the center line all of the time in construction zones which have a concrete barrier just outside of the lane, as if they are afraid that the barrier will jump out and get them. Meanwhile, I am right behind them with my much wider 18 wheeler driving centered between the lane stripes.

      • Hey Brent, guys,

        You are probably thinking thats the most useless job known to man. Its not…. when I first moved to London, saw it on the underground. Basically you use an “oyster card” at the gate – touch the reader it beeps, lights green and the gate opens, a guy goes, the gate slams shut – fairly efficient automated system. But no. The transport authorities here see it in their wisdom to have a guy standing at every barrier, watching the reader, and making sure everyone who passes touches his card before the gate opens. Originally I thought – this must be the worst job on the planet. Till I learnt that it paid about twice the average wage in the city……. then realised what a mug the rest of us non government workers are….

  10. Time to blow minds…I was on I90 west out of chicago to the mississippi. Where construction is after 30 years…complete. I was on my ’78 cb750 and traffic was doing 85 plus! So I hit it Up to 90…still being passed by 20 percent of drivers. Then I hit 95mph…and a dodge ram casually passes me. I gave up and dropped down to 90 for over an hour with or slower than a lot of traffic. I got off and my bike was overheating from running at 7k rpm all that time, it actually was idling at 2300rpm from the oil being so thin. Also noticed my master link half flew off somewhere. I got home on half a link all slow like but damn! That was freedom! I’ll probably stay to the right and do under 80 for my bike’s sake next time

    • Hi Anchar,

      Excellent about the speed – but, damn! My teeth hurt thinking about you riding home on an open master link…. even I wouldn’t have done that. And I have done all kinds of crazy stuff! 🙂

  11. Allow me to share a gooh guhl maps image of one of the more recent developments around these parts — part of what looted proceeds that went to fund ‘American Reinvestment and Recovery Act’ went into:

    Naturally the gooh guhl man drives in off peak hours, but, take a look at this left turn, also take a look at that dedicated left turn light, finally examine the park sized median.

    What inevitably happens at this intersection are there are a number of folks who want to go left, but, also a number of folks going straight. You can see where this is going. Folks going straight end up blocking access to the left turn lane because once you’re about 4 car lengths deep the ability to access said left lane is blocked. Plus more often than not a couple of clovers assure that you really only need 3 cars going straight to block access to that left turn lane.

    Naturally, it’s an advancing left turn, meaning in each direction the left turn goes first, and then are stopped so that those going straight may proceed. You miss that advance green, you’re gonna sit there for about 2 minutes while the straight ahead’s finish off, and then the process is repeated in the E-W direction. Of course, it’s like this 24 hours a day, so, even if there’s no traffic, you must ‘obey’ the traffic light because apparently the assumption is that we’re incapable of making a safe left turn unless assisted by a ‘green arrow’.

    But back to morning commute, it gets worse…

    As you can guess, those that missed their left due to being blocked, often fill up that same 3-4 car length left turn lane, overflowing into the straight ahead lane. Yup, now we’re down to 1 lane of traffic on the straight ahead.

    And all this so we can have what amounts to a park in the middle of the road — only just constructed in the last 10 years, and been cluster fucking the traffic here ever since.

    This is just one example, there are many more.

    Serenity Now!!

    • Oh, and almost forgot to point out the ‘mini median’ to the right of the left turn lane. Effectively negates any possibility of someone ‘bailing out’ of a missed left turn opportunity, and occupying more road space of course.

  12. We haven’t had the pilot trucks here yet…. Another, why aren’t they using a small car instead of a pickup? What a waste no matter. I have noticed around here, they have replaced the stop sign guy with temporary stop lights (on each end). Guessing that setup is less then the cost of labor, don’t know how they slipped that one past the unions.

    • We have had pilot cars and temporary stop lights in Missouri for many years. The pilot cars seem to only get used when the construction area is fairly long. I suspect that the pilot car is used in order to better time the traffic flow as dump trucks and construction vehicles cross over or enter into the open travel lane. I am sure that the pilot car guy has radio contact with the construction crew chief, because I have been behind one that slowed way down for about 30-45 seconds before speeding back up to a higher slow speed. If the construction crew is able to section the work they do every day, then at the end of the day they will pull up the cones, and both lanes of the two-way traffic are re-opened until the next morning. The temporary stop lights seem to only be used when the work cannot be finished by the end of the day, such as when they are rebuilding the concrete pavement on top of bridges.

  13. This paralysis of initiative is the defining attribute of the modern American driver. Even more so than his learned incapacity. He is beaten. Submissive to the extent that it no longer oppresses him because he no longer realizes he is oppressed. He has been habituated to it. He even venerates it.

    Not just driving, but every other aspect of life. People are being zombified, and not only do they not even realize it, but don’t care.

    The Deep State recognizes human nature and uses it to control us: MPALI (most people are lazy idiots).

  14. On my commute, the clovers drive me bonkers at two very large intersections. Each has two left turn lanes, and there’s a big intersection after the left turn where most people turn right. So, what happens is that the clovers all line up in the outer (right) left turn lane, and block off access to the left one, and create a giant backup, also halving the throughput of that intersection. What makes it even worse, is that there’s often no car at all in the blocked off inner left turn lane, so the traffic sensors think they’re in a low traffic condition and reduce the amount of time for that left turn.

    People, on average, don’t drive anymore. They’re no different than cows staring at a passing train.

  15. “that Indian in the famous ‘70s TeeVee commercial”

    Only it wasn’t an “Indian”. Iron Eyes Cody was Italian…something we were told to ignore. Only the intentions were important.

    What a hoot that bit of deception was!

  16. You sound a tad upset from the experience Eric.
    I’ve been through a couple of these in my back country days where its 1 lane each direction and no shoulder. I’ve seen the Men-At-Work ‘Stop Sign rotating guy’ roasting hot dogs in a coffee can stove at one of these junctions. Most of the time the constructions stretch is bare empty of any type of work going on so the whole thing is pointless. A graduate advisor behind the wheel lamented once that the stop sign rotation job could be exported to china and some guy behind a computer and a camera just rotating it with the flick of a button.
    On a similar note, people who don’t pull up enough when space is provided to let cars behind them through to do left/right turns or uturn. On several occasions I’ve just jumped the curve when the clover pulls up with 3 car lengths to spare and diddles on said phone and doesn’t notice me trying to get around.
    Or even worse, in your scenario, did you dare cross the dreaded double yellow line?!?!?!?!

    • re this: “A graduate advisor behind the wheel lamented once that the stop sign rotation job could be exported to china and some guy behind a computer and a camera just rotating it with the flick of a button.”

      In the absence of labor unions and personal injury attorneys, sure.

  17. The thing that totally annoys me is how few people know how to merge properly

    I got stuck in a long backup on I75 in Georgia a month or so ago. It was 8 miles of stop and go, very frustrating. As I got closer to where Waze was telling the backup originated I noticed the two right lanes were EMPTY, not coned off but EMPTY and cars were piling in to merge into the left lane. Looking at the open road I stayed in the right lane, there were no other cars, the left lane was at a total standstill.

    I drove 1.2 miles on open unimpeded road before I saw the road crew painting new white lines at 11:30 on a Saturday morning! (great timing guys).

    I merged at the last minute into a convenient gap between two clovers right at the point where the road closed. All I could think of during the serenade of angry honks were “You idiots” .

    Had the sheep merged properly there would have been room for – try to imagine 1.2 miles of two additional lanes of cars. That would not have stopped the backup but come on guys it would have been way-way less severe.

    We all suffer from the sheeplike tendencies of people so poorly trained that they are too afraid to merge at the last moment (The Zipper Merge). I fear that the American driving public are too stupid to understand such a system.

    • Hi Alex,

      Yup – same here.

      The Clovers also follow each other like circus elephants. Example: There is a two lane left turn off of US 220 to get to the access road which leads to the local Wal Mart (I know, I know). The farthest left lane is invariably empty. The cars all conga in the right lane, effectively reducing the capacity of the turn lanes by half. So you often end up missing the light or aren’t even able to get into the turn lanes (leftmost or right) because the conga line stretches back all the way onto 220, the main road.

      They really have fluoridated the water…

      • Same shit here in Australia, esp in Victoria. No one can merge safely doing 40 km or more below the traffic being merged into. Creates all kinds of havoc at ramps now. I call this the scamera effect.

        • Hi To5,

          It’s learned incompetence, the end result of at least a generation’s worth of encouraging passive – they call it “defensive” – driving and browbeating people to follow The Rules above all. Earlier generations laughed at this stuff but the ones who grew up with it know no other, just like having six air bags in every car and kids never being allowed to do anything on their own.

    • A local highway was down to one lane in each direction for several months. To my complete flabbergastery, the DOT had put up “USE BOTH LANES” signs for several miles ahead of the choke point, as well as “MERGE HERE – TAKE TURNS” signs where, you know, anyone with a working brain would actually merge, right before the choke point. That didn’t stop twunts from straddling the two same-direction lanes (or suddenly swerving from one lane into the other!!!) a mile or more before the choke point, as well as flipping off and honking at people (like me) who passed them. Did it cross my mind to pass some of these doorknobs on the shoulder, especially since I was driving a Suburban? Of course, I also got noise from my passengers, because “it’s unsaaaaaaaafe.” I’m not the one acting like a douchebag!

      I absolutely will not say what I do on my motorcycle in situations like this. I won’t infringe someone’s life, liberty or property, naturally…

      • I know why people straddle the line. Because of bassackwards american courtesy. What happens is that in the lane that does not close these asshats won’t let one person in, they’ll let in three maybe six. As a result the lane that closes moves much faster. These people who want virtue signal how good they are will hold up traffic until the supply of people to let in comes to an end. Which is approximately never unless someone blocks it.

        But you ask, why not move into the closing lane and go to the merge point? Well at this point the self proclaimed do-gooders will become vicious blockers and run you into the barriers. They seem to watch their mirrors and notice who is merely trying to escape them.

        How do I know this? I’ve been stuck behind these virtue signalers and when I was able to change lanes they always moved to block. That’s part of their perversion, they enjoy having the power to delay everyone behind them.

        I’ve approached the problem in many ways. My solution is to choose the lane that ends or to get two lanes over from it long in advance.

        • > My solution is to choose the lane that ends

          I do that every time on my (very torquey) bike. At least one person in the jammed-up lane is ALWAYS leaving plenty of room in front of him for me to slide in. I hate to say it, but I act more Clover-like if I’m in my decade-old Pilot, because, let’s face it, it isn’t build for speed, acceleration or agility… but I paid CASH and it doesn’t have all the safety/surveillance crud.

        • BrentP, You will get no argument from me about the Clovers. I think the biggest problem is the lack of consistent expectations. I have to wonder if schools even have Drivers Ed any more. There should be consistent rules that all drivers get taught about merging onto highways and the like. Car drivers should also be taught about what truck drivers and motorcycle drivers do, and WHY they do it. Right now, truck drivers and bikers are simply told to look out for the idiot car drivers who don’t know any better.

          • There is all kinds of garbage taught in drivers’ ed and traffic school. Then there is the word of mouth stuff. Really bad. As a bicyclist you wouldn’t believe the made up rules of the road people were willing to kill me over.

            Don’t get me started on truckers. The truckers around here look out for themselves and that’s about it. I’ve been nearly killed by truckers who thought it was acceptable to brush pass a bicyclist with a semi and that’s just the start. The crap I’ve dealt with on the road when driving….

            • I’m pretty anti bicyclist on roads. Driving is a pain in the ass enough without introducing the hazard of suddenly having to slow down or move into oncoming traffic, or dealing with being behind clovers who aren’t paying attention and wait until the very last second to change lanes and advert the hazard, or the ones tailgating who aren’t prepared for the possibility of having to suddenly slow and maneuver left. Plenty of parks and trails out there for recreation. They’re right to be pissed but I’ve personally no rage about it, and I give room, mainly because some idiot’s eventually gonna decide to ride into traffic so they can collect a fat lawsuit, and I’m not gonna be the asshole whose life gets ruined for it.

              • Hi Moose,

                Lots of angles to this one…

                My general position is that competent drivers should be able to deal with bicycles and so the general principle of not dumbing things down on account of those who can’t applies. Rather, expect more of people; raise the average!

                That said, there is the relatively recent phenomenon of the Tour de Francer flash mobs. The occasional guy on a bicycle is no big deal and was no big deal for decades, through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and into the ’90s. Then Armstrong Fever happened. Suddenly, lots of cyclists – often in groups – on roads not meant for that. Some of these ride on roads which cyclists used to avoid because they didn’t have adequate shoulders, too much high speed traffic, blind curves, etc. – but which some now insist on using because they have the legal right to, which is true – but not (my opinion) either advisable for them or considerate of others. I personally wouldn’t ride on a road with traffic operating at speeds well above what I am capable of keeping up with – or which doesn’t have a shoulder sufficient for me to easily move to the right on, in order to allow cars to get by without inconveniencing them or endangering me.

                Your mileage may vary!

                PS: Interestingly, it used to be that bicycles – which were generally ridden by kids – rode on the sidewalk. Which made sense to me. There weren’t many pedestrians, usually – and it kept the bikes away from cars.

                • Yeah def not a fan of the midlife crisis spandex gangs.. they’re not people worth setting up roadblocks for, but that’s what we’re stuck dealing with out here every time the weather starts to get “niiiiiiiiiice”.

                  My brother’s been riding BMX ever since we were kids. Skateparks, dirt trails, legit tricks, real feats of strength both physical and psychological…a hobby where you hone your skills, stay in shape, and socialize with other folks who are into the culture. You can grab just about any bike and upgrade parts and go out and do some cool shit, entertain random locals passing by, it’s fun and unpretentious.

                  But blowing money on a fancy tour de france lifestyle.. is just more of the same miserable “keeping up with the joneses” nonsense, and that’s why they’re so aggressive about their rights… They don’t have the sense to pick a meaningful battle in life. They’re just butthurt. So they start self-righteous trouble as an outlet.

                  And right, that’s the other thing..pedestrians and bicyclists are as much at war as drivers and bicyclists. They’re not allowed on sidewalks anymore because people get fussy about getting run over. They just can’t peacefully coexist.

                  There are neighborhoods with wide shoulders where you should be able to reasonably expect to ride a bicycle safely (barring being taken out by a wandering 5-time DUI drunk and left for dead as a group of my brother’s friends were, one of whom didn’t make it).

                  And then there’s cases of assholes up here riding their bikes into yuppie rush hour and mall traffic intersections on two-to-three lane 50-60mph highways outside of major shopping areas, turning themselves and their bikes into pretzels and damaging people’s vehicles, backing up my morning commute, not to mention the poor guy in the truck was probably just trying to get to work himself. It’s insanity.

                  And when all’s said and done there’s just no solution to this stuff. People are stubborn and retarded.

                  • Morning, Moose!

                    Like fuzz behind the ‘fridge, everyone has an opinion – including me! Here’s mine: Regardless of law and even right, I see it as a common sense and the courteous thing to not ride a bicycle on a road where traffic is dense (e.g., major arterial, rush hour) and operating much faster than a bicycle rider can maintain (generally, speed limit 45 MPH or more) without a generous shoulder and with lots of curves and uphill sections… unless you absolutely have to.

                    As in, it’s the only way to get to work or where you need to be.

                    If I rode a bicycle, I’d avoid such roads and ride on side roads/secondary roads to the extent possible. I would not purposely seek out the roads described for recreational riding. I might use them in a pinch, if I had to, and there was no alternative.

                    I think that is essentially the nut of this debate. Mass recreational riding by adults is a relatively new phenomenon. When I was a kid in the ’80s, it was almost exclusively kids who rode bikes – and they generally did so on sidewalks and secondary roads. Main roads and mass adult recreational cycling strikes me as a bad idea.

                    This debate makes me think of something that may – or may not – be a relatable example; you tell me:

                    Out here in The Woods, it is perfectly legal for me to shoot my guns anytime I like on my property. I could have several friends over to shoot guns, too. But I don’t invite six friends to shoot my guns at 2 in the morning – even though it is both my legal and natural right to do so – because it’s just bad form. I’m being deliberately obnoxious. I regard the groups of adult recreational cyclists on the roads described above – fast-moving traffic, lots of cars, no or not much shoulder, curves – in much the same light.

                • “away from cars” is very dangerous unless you creep along at a walking pace. Because there are still crossings and nobody is looking for 20mph or even 10mph traffic over there.

                  The problem is that there is a general lack of proper grid systems. I rids lots of roads I would rather not to but they are the way from A to B.

                  • Morning, Brent!

                    The longer I live, the more I come to the conclusion that – as a practical matter – density is determinative. This applies generally, but let’s consider roads (and cars and bikes). It is pleasant to drive when traffic is light – and the lighter, the more pleasant it is. If you encounter a Clover, you just go around him. No hassles. It’s actually kind of fun to blow by him and watch him receded in the rearview.

                    Same with cycling. You have the road mostly to yourself; the occasional car passes without fuss or muss.

                    But as traffic increases, so do you chances of encountering a Clover – and the more difficult it becomes to get around/avoid the Clover. There’s one after another after another. At a certain point, it becomes hopeless. See: Northern Virginia, Atlanta – etc.

                    Add cyclists to this recipe.

                    And the same rule of thumb applies. The more of them out there, the greater the odds of encountering one who is also a Clover; or a pack of them, riding together.

                    Sartre was right: Hell is other people.

                    • Bicycling gets better again once density increases to a certain point. Riding in downtown chicago was fun before the bike lanes and crap were put in.

                      Fun for me because I was maintaining the normal speed of traffic. I would get in the left lane, take the lane, and pass traffic to my right and keep up with the vehicle immediately in front of me.

                      Then again that John Henry streak in me of man vs. machine too made it fun.

                    • Hehe, yowser, Brent! That’s actually what got me hooked on road cycling: The first time I rode a real road bike on the streets of Manhattan- getting in there and jamming with the jaffic, and getting where I was going ahead of them, and feeling free despite all of the traffic- it was amazing.

                      Of course, that was the 80’s, before all the bike lanes, and before all the pigs learned that there’s just as much revenue to be had ticketing bikes for BS little technicalities as there is in ticketing cars.

              • I agree, Moose. It isn’t that I don’t watch for cyclists, or afford them room to maneuver (which I do, always), it’s that some asshole in front of me will drive right up to the cyclist, then slam on his brakes or swerve so that another driver behind him, who hasn’t seen the cyclist yet, is put in the position of having to deal with an imminent collision with the bad driver in front of him.

                Cyclists are in danger on roads these days, given the poor driving abilities of most drivers and the traffic congestion on most roads. Those who ignore the danger and ride in traffic anyway are not only endangering themselves, but endangering others as well.

                This thing of insisting that they have a right to ride in traffic with autos is a passive/aggressive move that ignores the fact that their rights won’t protect them, or the drivers they share the roads with in case of an accident.

              • So because someone else can’t operate their vehicle bicyclists should be removed from the road? Ahh the grade-school way of running society through government power. Limit people because of what idiots do or might do.

                It’s like the new code for closet lights. Can’t have bare bulbs anymore because some more stored stuff that could catch fire next to bare bulb and it did.

                I don’t have any issue with vehicular bicyclists and they are easy to deal with compared to numerous other things that people accept as part of the task.

                Bicycling is rather safe regardless of what your feelings are.

                My rights do damn well protect me because there is nothing that encourages people to run a bicyclist off the road more than cowering and not using them.

                • Your rights as granted by the legal system do protect you.. financially.

                  I can’t trust bicyclists on busy roads to safely operate their bicycles a safe distance from traffic, so I take the calculated risk of suddenly moving head on into the oncoming traffic lane (vehicles approaching at only god knows what speed and with varied levels of sight distance), or suddenly greatly reducing speed or even having to come to a stop with clovers on my bumper until the opposite lane opens up to safely pass, to avoid having my vehicle come into direct contact with their person. I can say without butthurt, I’m pretty sure drivers are on the losing end of that recurring madness..

    • Just sunday night, some merge impaired driver merges into the rightmost lane but that’s not good enough so he has move another lane left immediately forcing me to brake, but only because he refused to accelerate. I hit the brights. He sticks his arm out in a ‘what’s the problem fashion’. A 1/4 mile later he’s going faster than I was initially. It’s happened a few more times this week in different situations. They accelerate quite well, just long after they should have done it.

      • Hi Brent,

        Me too. Every day, just about. I will be driving along and up ahead, see a car pulling up to the main road. I am closing fast and anyone with any sense of time/distance relationships can see I’ll be where he is in short order. But they pull out in front anyhow and then – instead of accelerating up to speed – they just creep forward gradually, as if a Faberge egg were under the accelerator pedal. If the speed limit is 55, they’ll take 30 seconds to achieve 47.

        Now, the kicker is, no other car after me. So they could have waited the literally 5-10 seconds it would have taken for me to pass them before they pulled onto the road.

        But no, they have to get in front – and then slow me down.

        I just pass them, assuming the coast is clear – and usually get the flashing lights/honking horn, too.

        • Hi Eric, I cheer you for passing that clover in the front car in the construction zone. I sure as hell would have done it too, unless I was driving a semi-truck. I already mention the lack of consistent standards in my reply to BrentP. What I meant by that is some entrance ramps have a Yield sign at the end. Some people seem to believe that the main traffic is supposed to ‘make room’ for them, after seeing so many cars switching lanes for them in the past. You and I were taught to look over your shoulder and find a gap that you can accelerate and merge into. I strongly suspect that the State LIKES this confusion.

          • Indeed, Brian!

            Also, in the situation described in the article, there is the absence of the most basic common courtesy. The Clover doing 17 MPH could simply have waved me (and all the other cars stacked up behind him) by. It had to have been obvious he was holding up the line… but Clovers don’t give a damn. They expect everyone else to accommodate them.

    • Alex and Eric, you do not understand what is happening here. If you are standing in line at a bank or where-ever, and I waltz in to the front of the line and cut in: you would probably want to kick my ass! You are cutting into line ahead of them at the construction merge. YOU are causing the stop and go repeatedly traffic as people have to hit their brakes when you and others cram yourself in front of them, or when someone slows way down to let the line cutters in. The traffic speed becomes even more erratic as many of the drivers pack themselves in very tightly in order to prevent the asshole line cutters from getting in front of them. You deserve to get squeezed out at the end. It is too bad that trucks can’t accelerate as quickly as cars. This is why oftentimes you will see 2 semi-trucks driving side by side, blocking the line cutters. Next time you see that; notice that after the earlier line cutters up ahead finish fucking everyone up, the traffic begins to flow smoothly as everyone steadily passes through the construction area. This smooth going will of course end as soon as one truck lets the other one back in, and the line cutters just behind them start fucking everyone else up again. Remember that everyone except for the clovers are also in a hurry.
      Be advised that some truck drivers will purposely pull right out in front of you, forcing you to drive off of the road into the grass in order to avoid a collision. I’ve seen that happen to a Jeep driver once.
      This ‘merge at end, take turns’ thing is something new. It may take awhile for people to get used to doing things this new way instead of fighting the lane cutters. Time will tell whether we see an improvement with this new way. But I do agree with you guys about the merging onto highways idiocy.

      • Yep, exactly. These assholes who stay in the lane that is ending had as much warning that the lane is going to run out as everyone else did. They’re just special, in their own minds. They see the open lane and think they should be allowed to stay there until the lane runs out, so that they won’t have to slow down until it’s time for them to make everyone else stop so they can finally move over.

        Fuck them. Feed ’em fish heads, too. Let’em try that in the line at a restaurant so that someone can just beat the fuck out of them. ahaha

        • Hello Ed, Please allow me to add to your closing statement: Feed ’em (cat)fish heads. They are forcefully stealing someone elses place in line and slowing everyone behind them down. They smirk at the idiots waiting in line without ever considering common courtesy. They do not even see that this new way of having everyone pile up to the merge and (hopefully) taking turns is intended to thwart their line cutting/space stealing ways. After all: They can’t really cut in line very much if all lanes are full. They will finally be forced to at least nearly taking their turn. The big question is whether or not the over-all travel speed increases.

          • Ah, yes. We are getting to it now. The big question about travel speed will draw out the lurking Walter Block style debaters who will take the side of the line jumpers and drag libertarian dogma into the discussion.

            Get your flamethrower ready, Brian. I hear them tuning up.

            • Hi Ed,

              Some of this amounts to combat tactics. We have to deal with the mess out there. I try very hard to be considerate, but I also will do what I have to do in order to not be blocked by Clovers. I take action in such a way that it causes them no more harm than emotional trauma which attends witnessing someone evade “the law”!

          • Hi Brian,

            This is a global problem. People – too many people – have never learned how to merge, nor how to accommodate merging traffic. So what we end up with is a complete shit show out there. I am not a line cutter, but I am also not a virtue signaler (as Brent brilliantly describes them) and when I find myself behind such a cretin, I usually just go around, build speed and merge when an opening opens up.

            This business of stopping on merge ramps and expecting a virtue signaler to wave you in is absurd. And creates jams by ruining the smooth flow of traffic.

      • It’s not like a bread line. It’s a merge. No different than the acceleration lane ending when entering a limited access highway. Find a gap and move into or if really heavy traffic alternate. You don’t block people merging on to the expressway do you? But then there are the people who leave the travel lane, enter the acceleration lane and then use that to pass people. Those are line cutters. Line cutters also use the shoulder or some other space that isn’t a travel lane.

        The only reason it seems that people are cutting the line is because of idiots who let in two, three, six, ten vehicles in front of them and hold everyone else up. The standard virtue signaling look at what a good person I am american. These are probably the same people that vote for taxes on you to help some third party and then want to be considered a good person for it.

        No virtue signalling idiots, no merge impaired people who force traffic to a stop, the problems go away.

      • You and Ed are absolutely wrong. and your analogy is bad. This situation I am talking about id the equivalent of people lining up across the street from the movie theater and getting mad when we don’t.

        THese long merge lines are actually dangerous. I reviewed the dash cam from that trip to Georgia. It was actually 4 Land stretch, the backup was 9 miles of stop and go that took over an hour. The empty area was 1.28 miles. I went to the front, there were gaps a plenty, no one had to brake for my entry.

        Along the way there were at least two fender benders form the backup and 3 cars on the side with the flashers on.

        I make no apologies for cutting the line because there should not have been a line or least not one literally a mile long! If anyone was in the wrong it was the ones merging a mile too soon and I refuse to contribute to the mess when it was 100% unnecessary.

        think of the gas wasted for no purpose think of the caaaarbon released for no purpose think of the disabled vehicles – out of gas – over heated who knows. Think of the two people whose day was ruined even more from being rear ended.

        Just because half the world is doing something stupid doesn’t mean I have to follow along.

        I performed a public service and all I can say is “watch and learn”

        • As I said, Alex; try it at a restaurant some weekend. You’ll get your ass whipped and everyone there will watch and learn.

          • So by your theory if I come to a red light and there are 12 cars in the right lane (Happened to me today) and no cars in the left lane. Instead of getting to the left lane then get ahead of the pack to the turn 1/4 mile ahead I should instead line up behind the 12 cars?
            Something about your theory makes no sense.

            These people piling in a full mile from the merge line are the problem not me. It backs up traffic, creates safety hazards inconvenience people and wastes gas.

            Sorry, no deal.

            • “So by your theory if I come to a red light”

              No, old shoe, my theory posits that if you go to a restaurant and there is a line to get to the hosting stand to get on the list for a table, and you behave like a classless asshole in that line as you do in traffic, bypassing everyone to get to the head of the line, you would get your ass whipped.

              That’s my theory that I suggested you test at a restaurant. You made up an entirely different theory and tried to ascribe it to me.

              Eventually, you’ll get into an accident or trigger some idiot into road rage with your discourteous driving. You’re welcome to what happens to you then.

        • Alex, if there was over an entire mile gap between the line and the place you cut back into the traffic without having to shoehorn, I would say that you have misread the traffic events which took place before you got there. A back-up that long takes a good while to decompress anyway.
          How many exits did you pass during that 9 mile stretch? What happens fairly often at major exits is you’ll get the right lane full of traffic trying to exit, and the second lane gets full of people trying to shoehorn their way into the exiting lane. This would explain the fender benders you saw. The exit(s) may have had an accident directly on them which caused the back-up, or maybe some sporting event or something was drawing enough traffic to overwhelm the traffic lights at their present timing, causing the huge ramp back-up. I seriously doubt that those drivers were staying in clogged lanes without a good reason; ie; a need to exit.
          Another possibility is that an accident had just gotten cleared before you arrived at your merge point, which was at the accordion area of traffic speed recovery, but that would not explain why one lane had been wide open for you for that entire time.
          Different areas of the U.S. have different types of drivers. I once drove into Delaware which must be Clover-central. A light would turn green, and it would take about 5 seconds or more for the front cars to move each time.
          In northeastern New York, they always drive with their lights on bright and absolutely will not dim them when you flash your lights at them. The northeastern states have drivers who will get furious over being inconvenienced in any way apparently. I several times had a car well ahead of me stopped in traffic waiting to turn left into a business, make the turn, and an outraged idiot behind him would pull up to where the turning car had waited, stop his car, roll down his window, and lay on his horn while flipping the offender the bird. The above 3 examples are what I experienced back in the early ’90’s. I do not know if they still do those things. Since then, I have always picked trucking jobs that do not enter the northeast coast where the Yankees live.
          More recent examples of area differences include I-75 in Georgia between Atlanta and Chattanooga where clovers purposely get in all lanes and drive below the speed limit. Virginia and western Texas has idiots who will pass you on the shoulder.
          Jefferson City, Mo. has many courteous drivers; sometimes way too courteous. I have been behind a car getting ready to enter onto U.S. 63 from U.S. 54 with a line of cars and trucks behind me, and a single semi-truck pulls up to the yield sign. The lady stops all of us to let him cross over to the U.S. 54 on ramp. This is an odd interchange trying to work with 3 highways at once. Picture a roundabout on bridges. What the lady essentially did was to stop the roundabout traffic in order to let a newly arrived truck cross over the center of it onto an on ramp. Another example is when an accident happened on the Missouri River bridge. The main highway to the bridge was by far the slowest one, because people would allow all of the traffic trying to enter onto it in without any waiting time. There were 3 entering points between me and the bridge; therefore I did not move at all for 20 minutes. Another example actually worked out perfectly and happened twice just recently: The road got narrowed into one lane, and everyone got into line just like they were supposed to. I traveled slowly and steadily to the construction area 3/4s of a mile away and not even one line cutter passed me. Perfect!!!!! Yet Columbia, which is just 30 miles north of us, has a huge percentage of rude and idiotic drivers. They _expect_ traffic to make room for them at on ramps. They stay in the hammer lane until they get to their exits, then cross all the way over all lanes in one fast maneuver. In heavier traffic, many of them will stop in the center lane while waiting for a gap to open up in the exiting lane. That is a college city, and some students are apparently from foreign countries, because they don’t even understand how traffic lights work. How did they even pass the written test at the license bureau?

          • It was road work, I passed 2 exits – it was I75 north just south of Tipton. They were all piling in at the warning side that the was road closed ahead. I blame the GDOT for putting the merge sign so far from the actual closure. Had they put it 1/4 from the closure there woud have been less of backup.

          • Advancing Ed’s theory to its logical conclusion we should never pass anyone because that would be cutting in line. Man that is clover talk there !


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