– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Courtesy in the Canyons: Do Slow Drivers Let You Pass?

In the past week, I’ve been to two different press introductions, each of which found me riding twisty canyons and mountain roads, but in two entirely different areas. Last week I rode the 2007 Buell lineup in the area surrounding Bakersfield, a mid-size city in the farmland of Central California (review coming soon). Earlier this week, I was a little closer to home, riding the 2007 Harley models in and around the Julian/Mt. Palomar area, located in the northeastern corner of San Diego county, just south of MD’s Temecula headquarters.

Of course, every road is different, and each riding experience is unique, but one of the main differences I noted between these two events had nothing to do with the roads or the bikes – it was the drivers.

Riding through the twisties around Lake Isabella (a popular tourist destination, near Bakersfield), I noticed that a surprising number of drivers where pulling into turnouts or onto wide shoulders to allow our group of 6-8 riders past. In fact, during one particular session which lasted for about 1.5 hours, I’m certain that more than 75% of the cars we came upon promptly pulled to the side to allow us past, many of them even offering a friendly ‘point-by’, as they call it at a track day.

In the Julian/Palomar area, however, things were back to business as usual – that is, we spent quite a bit of time stuck behind drivers who feel the need to brake 300 feet before every corner, and figure their final corner speed by taking the posted yellow ‘suggestion’ signs and multiplying them by .5. Out of at least 25 cars that we were held up by that day, I can remember only two who had the courtesy to allow us past at the first (or even second or third) safe opportunity. It’s not as if we were going that fast – in fact, being mounted on a variety of Harley-Davidsons (the original cruiser), we were, if you like, cruising. Well, most of the time, at least.

Since I first noted this disparity, I’ve been thinking about the possible causes. Was that day in Bakersfield just one of those rare, perfect rides, where all the planets are in alignment, and you just happen to encounter only polite people sharing the road with you? Or are drivers in some areas more courteous than those in others.

To find out, I’m asking you, the reader, to email me with a few pieces of information:

  • The area you typically ride in (city, state or region, country).
  • What type of bike you ride.
  • A short description of your typical pace on twisty two-lane roads (cruising, moderate, aggressive, knee down and about to highside, etc.).
  • Estimate what percentage of drivers pull off and allow you to pass when they realize they are holding you up.
  • Any other related information, such as a general description of the level of courtesy and common sense drivers in your local twisties display.

By the way, if you think courtesy has nothing to do with letting motorcyclists pass an automobile, let us know.

Complete, well-written responses will appear soon in one of MD’s famous ‘Readers Response’ articles!

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