Sunday, September 13, 2009
Ever think about downsizing ?
Anybody who rides a motorcycle on our public roadways will be able to tell you a story or two about a close call with a car. As we all know well, those of us on two wheels won't fair as good as those on four wheels with all that metal around you. You can be the most defensive driver in the world and still have a few close calls.
Those of us who are lucky enough to ride a motorcycle for a living day in and day out stand more of a chance becoming too intimate with other cars on the road.
I was responding to a call of a CHP motor on a traffic stop at the south end of our city on the interstate who was dealing with an irate driver. I get there and see nothing unusual. The CHP motor officer held up 4 fingers indicating that he was Code 4 (situation under control) as I rolled to a stop.
After the truck driver had left, we had a brief conversation. Needless to say the location of the stop was just south of the last exit for South City. I jumped back onto the interstate and took the next exit in the neighboring city to the south to get back onto the northbound side of the interstate.
I'm waiting at a red light behind this huge Hummer (H2). The light cycled to green as I made a right turn behind the Hummer as we drove toward the onramp for the interstate. The onramp for the interstate has two lanes which eventually turn into one lane about 200 feet. This onramp curved to the right and with an uphill grade.
I made my right turn onto the onramp behind the Hummer. I noticed the Hummer made a wide right turn and straddled both lanes. I stayed behind the Hummer not knowing the driver's intention. When the Hummer moved over to the left lane I began to accelerate and pass it in the right lane.
I have this habit of looking into cars as I drive by for things like seatbelt or cellular phone violations. As I'm passing this Hummer and I'm right about at the right rear passenger door I see this Hummer start moving to the right into my lane. I had to move over onto the shoulder of the onramp to avoid becoming one with the soundwall and really turned on the throttle.
Now as I passed this huge behemoth of a vehicle, I look over and see the driver talking on her cellular phone. Since I'm already on the shoulder I slowed down to let the Hummer pass me. I then did what comes so natural to motor cops, I got behind it and turn on my pretty flashing emergency lights.
The Hummer pulled over on the shoulder of the interstate where I contacted the female driver and told her why I had stopped her.
She of course told me the vehicle was too big and that she had to occupy both lanes because the sides of her vehicle would be to close or even scrape the soundwalls. She also said she wasn't talking on her cellular phone, but was listening to her voice mail. She just couldn't comprehend the "hands free" law here in California and how it just doesn't apply to talking on the phone.
I noticed that her address came from the snooty North Town where too many of the residents believe they're "special" and deserve every break their stature in life entitles them to.....BULL SHIT! But it sure explained her attitude.
So after getting her driver license, registration and insurance, I told her I was going to issue a citation to her. She had to ask me, "What's a citation? Is that the same as a ticket?" It just goes to show that being affluent has nothing to do with the level of intelligence..... She did tell me that she was in a hurry and to make it quick which was right in line with the attitude of many persons in North Town.
Now here's a clue. Don't ever tell a motor cop or any cop for that matter that your in a hurry and to make it quick because you'll get the exact opposite from me. I walked back to my motor and did what I love to do.... write tickets.
Since she was in such a hurry and demanding that I make it quick, I took my sweet ass time. My printing on that ticket was so neat you'd think it was done by some architect on one of their drawings.
After finishing her ticket, I walked back up to the Hummer. Because we were on the interstate with cars zooming by at 65+ mph (in California it means more on the plus side) I had made a passenger side approach on my initial contact and the second contact to issue her citation.
For those not familiar to law enforcement, by making a passenger side approach it keeps me away from the side where the traffic on the interstate is, as well as gives me protection using the vehicle I had stopped.
So I told the driver I had cited her for straddling lanes, unsafe lane change and yes, the cellular phone violation. She of course told me she personally knows the "Police Chief of Sonoma County". Her statement verified she was truly a blond because there ain't no such thing as a "Police Chief" for a county in California. Now had she said she knew the Sheriff of Sonoma County, she at would have at least sounded somewhat intelligent.
Needless to say, she told me she was going to see me in court with her lawyer and tell the Judge what happened and she'll win. I asked her if she would bring the Police Chief too.
Her last parting shot was that I had contacted her on the passenger side because her vehicle is so wide. I wasn't going to get into a pissing contest about tactics and safety with her as I handed her my cite book with pen and said "Press hard, three copies."
I handed her copy of the ticket to her as she crumpled it up and tossed it toward the floor board. I just love it when people have that reaction. I told her since it was obvious that she couldn't safely manage her Hummer she ought to think about downsizing to something like those new "smart cars".