Dec 262016

I was driving in a four-lane (two in each direction) boulevard, in the left lane, preparatory to turning left onto I75, In front of me was a bald guy on a Harley, I think a “Lowboy”, if I understand the designation correctly. I had been in his vicinity for about 20 minutes, and I had been thinking that, by his behaviour, he was a novice rider.

Image result for bald harley motorcyclistHe was now exhibiting another such behaviour, by riding on the yellow line, all the way to the left, almost on the shoulder. My own motorcycling philosophy is to ride in the middle of the lane in traffic; pretend I am a car. Besides, the lines are slippery when wet, so making a habit of avoiding them is a good thing.

Anyway, he was going slower and slower — ┬ásomething that he had been doing before — the traffic light ahead is red, maybe he’s not confident about stopping? or about taking off? But it’s still about 300 yards ahead, clear road, and it’s going to turn green any second.

Now he’s going really slowly, to the point that he is wobbling. Has he broken down? Is he lost? Does he want to stop for a pee? I overtook him on the right, giving him a wide berth. I thought to myself that in South Africa, the rider would raise a hand to me to thank me for being so courteous.

He immediately accelerated, driving dangerously close to my left side, and obviously shouting abuse. I activated my “road rage” behaviour: eyes straight ahead, keep my course, keep my speed. He accelerated again and pulled in diagonally in front of me. I couldn’t move; there was a line of cars on my right.

I wound down my window, and he screamed at me that it is FLORIDA LAW! that I am not allowed to overtake on the right. Plenty of insults and expletives. I resisted the impulse to explain to him that it is perfectly legal, see Florida Statute 316.084. The number was actually stuck in my head because of an argument I had with Jenna a few weeks ago.

I asked him why he was going so slowly, I thought he was going to stop. Or fall over. He screamed about the red traffic light, still 250 yards away and now bright green. More expletives and insults.

I saw a gap on my right and I made a getaway.

I know I shouldn’t have wound down my window.

 Posted by at 2:30 pm

  3 Responses to “Lessons in Florida Law”

  1. People are all on edge… I whip out my phone and take pictures of drivers who act dangerous. You were polite. Nicer than me.

  2. If he was bald, he was not wearing a helmet. Is that OK under Florida law?

    • It is legal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet in Florida. At the time of getting your license, you have to sign an affidavit that you take full responsibility for your own stupidity.

      There is actually quite a comprehensive study that concludes that there is no difference in death or injury severity in cases where the rider was wearing a helmet and where not.

      But, speaking for myself, I am more comfortable with a helmet.

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