When I ride my motorcycle on the freeway I monitor my speed with GPS and try to stay at the limit or at the most 5 mph over. Where I live – Arizona – that’s how fast most people drive. If I lived somewhere like Southern California, where freeway traffic runs 10 to 20 over, I guess I’d go that fast too. You really need to go with the flow, especially these days when 18-wheelers and Greyhounds roll as fast as the cagers. You can’t afford to get rear-ended when you’re on a bike, no matter how big and heavy it is.
Once, on a deserted 2-lane highway between Sonoita and Tombstone, with a posted 65 mph limit, I got up to 105 trying to catch up with a pack of friends. The instant I saw a car coming over the crest of a hill toward me I throttled back to idle, but as we passed I was still rolling pretty fast, decelerating through 90. I didn’t slow down because I thought the oncoming car might be a cop, I slowed down because I was going way too fast, and now, with a car coming at me in the other lane, my situation was a little more unsafe than it was when I had the entire road to myself, as I had a moment earlier.
But it was a cop! In an unmarked car! And guess what? Instead of whipping a U-turn and running me down the patrolman just flashed his lights and blipped his siren as we passed, then kept right on going.
At that exact moment, my only thought was IT’S A COP! About a second later reflection set in. First, I was amazed I hadn’t dropped dead of a heart attack right there in the saddle. Second, I was amazed that my buddies up ahead hadn’t backed off even a notch when they passed the same patrolman – they were going 85 or so. Had I seen a brake light or two up ahead, I’d have had a clue there was a cop coming, and I wouldn’t have merely backed off the throttle, I’d have hit the brakes and gotten back down to 65 like right then.
I was a lucky guy that day! Haven’t sped . . . well, grossly sped . . . since then.
© 2004 – 2007, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.