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Motorcyles, cars, American driving sucks

There's a basic concept missing from most of America's driving:
cooperation. Many of the comments on this list about motorcycles say things
like, "I work hard to keep a space around my car, why should a motorcyle
invade it? I'll just ---- with him by sticking my arm out." This sounds
almost exactly like people driving along in the left lane and saying, "I'm
going the speed limit, I'll just sit here and back up traffic for miles.
It's my god-given right."

In France, Italy or most other Euro countries, there's a much more
cooperative feel on the road. In Italy it's common to split the center line
on two-lane roads while passing; nobody freaks, it's just courtesy to move
and let the faster car through. In the US the drivers would probably flip
out and crash into the ditches on either side of the road if anyone split
the center line on a pass. In Germany I've seen drivers look acutely
embarrased at being caught driving 100K in the far left lane on major
roads. In the US drivers look totally bent if you are coming up on them and
invade their space by more than about a 1/4 mile; some will move out of the
way, some decide that they own the lane and to hell with every other

When you make a minor driving error in the US (and everyone does at some
point), you're likely to get flipped off or sworn at. In France you'll
probably get a stern look, but it's not considered the end of the world.
It's a testament to the other driver's skill that he was able to avoid your
problem, not an insult to his personal space.

Even less-developed countries often have a far more cooperative driving
style than the US; in Mexico you go for the Machismo, but it's also
courtesy to work with other vehicles carefully, know the exact dimensions
of your vehicle for city driving, and generally exhibit basic skill while
behind the wheel. I don't think most American drivers even understand the
idea of skillful driving. They do, however, guard the area around their
cars with a ferocity usually found only in nursing wild animals.

While Canadian driving has problems, people still often pull to the right
shoulder to let other drivers pass; I've yet to see this happen anywhere in
the US. Nope, the American driver feels compelled to maintain full use of
the widest lanes on the planet at all times. I live in the US but drive all
over the world; I often come back to the US after a trip to Europe or South
American with the distinct feeling that I've entered some sort of weird
game in which the object is to drive lard-fed cars poorly at low speeds
while doing everything but actually looking at the road (cell
phone/doughnut/coffee cup/radio/hairdryer/lottery
ticket/newspaper/shaving--I've seen all of these things in combinations of
up to three).

Right, so let's let the motorcyles do their thing, attempt to work with all
the other people on the road, and let's stop thinking of the highway as a
personal extension of our living rooms. Things are only going to get worse
from a traffic perspective, so we need to be a little more cooperation out
there and a little less territorial 'tude or the end result will be more of
America's most famous highway event, the "rage" shooting.

I think the coffee is wearing off, I'll drive a block to the 7-11 for
another cup while reading the evening paper...

Audi content: I've driven my 4KQ for 45,000 miles in the last 16 months:
love it more every day despite problems that would make a sane man sell it
for an Accord...

-Will Gadd

Redline your life once daily or risk mental clogging.

3035 Folsom
Boulder, CO 80304
303 939 9305
303 939 9355 fax