If you were in today’s commute down the Cajon Pass, you know what I’m talking about.
I knew these dark, gloomy, gray clouds had something in store for me this morning.
I got in the I-15S freeway. Saw the sign, WORKERS AHEAD. CHP ON PATROL. MAX ENFORCEMENT.
Is this a threat? Or a warning? Or merely a sign that says so?
There’s still an uneasy feeling… driving past the Ranchero Bridge that seem to have recovered from the fire, another sign loom ahead just at the summit. ACCIDENT AHEAD. I-15/I-215 SPLIT. EXPECT DELAYS.
I knew it! But wait, is this sign updated or from yesterday’s? Guess I’ll find out…
I haven’t even gotten to the bottom and traffic had halted. Why, I guess the sign was updated after all.
From 138 all the way… it was painfully slow.
Saw the sign again, WORKERS AHEAD. CHP ON PATROL. MAX ENFORCEMENT.
No worries, CHP. We’re not even moving past 20mph now.
Clocked in at the I-15/I-215 split. Didn’t see any accidents. There were just the slowed traffic flow, a few raindrops?, around five or six motorcycles making its way around the stopped cars and many, many trucks. The most important thing I saw was, by this time, my train had long gone and the sun breaking out as soon as traffic eased at the split.
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As the day lasts longer, the higher the number of motorcycles on the road.
Yes, summer days are just around the corner.
In my early teenage years, we had our Honda Trendy. Here’s a picture of me:
Vrooming the streets, dodging dogs (with the imminent danger of them taking a bite out of your foot or wheel) chasing your tail was easy because you’re going faster. Feeling the wind blowing on your face. Adrenaline rushing. The sweet taste of freedom with every new place explored. Go wherever your heart desires. The smell of your next adventure calling, luring, taunting…
The exhilaration of driving fast. Euphoric. Sometimes maybe too fast you lose control of your bike.
I have had my share of accidents. Both as the passenger and/or the driver. No bones were broken (just my pride). One time, my leg was pressed onto the motor and I felt something like stickers stuck on it so I started peeling them off. Then I looked down at my leg, I was actually taking my own skin off! Yikes!
Consider me lucky. Well, my moped (motorized bicycle) does not go any faster than 30mph!
What about those who weren’t as lucky? Can’t say they were speeding. But why buy a bike that can go so fast without testing it?
Looking at the San Bernardino Coroner’s press releases from April to May alone, there have been more than 10 cases of motorcycle fatalities. Not bad. I actually expected a bigger number. I am no expert on motorcycle riding but I noticed that those who are at highest risk of losing control and/or death are either the young (aged 18-25 years old) and not-so-old (50 and up).
Remember that accident in Cajon Pass involving a 23 year old, Justin Tranter who lost control of his bike and hit a big rig (or was hit by a big rig?) the night of May 29th that caused major traffic back up because of lane closures combined with ongoing freeway construction? I know one who got home at around 3AM that night (or day?).
Could these accidents be brought on by lack of experience on the young and overconfidence on the latter? Wait, that sounds like the motorcyclist’s at fault. It may or may not be the case.
Yet, according to the California Motorcyclist Safety Program or CMSP:
Another conspicuous trend involves the number of motorcyclist fatalities and age. Several groups of riders are over represented, compared to their presence within the motorcycle riding population. For example, a small percentage of the motorcycle operators are riders aged 15-19 (4 percent) and 20-24 (6 percent), yet represent nearly twice that percentage of fatalities (11-13 percent). A second group of riders over represented according to their presence in the population is riders aged 25-54. It should also be noted that 90 percent of the fatal victims are male.
The primary cause for 59 percent of the motorcycle collisions were attributed to three factors: unsafe speed, improper turning, and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Lastly, 65 percent of the fatal and 56 percent of the injury motorcycle-involved collisions were the fault of the motorcyclist.
In response to increased safety and responsibility issues, the California’s Department of Motor Vehicles requiring all motorcycle applicants under 21 years of age to complete a motorcycle safety training course before receiving a motorcycle instruction permit, and motorcycle applicants 21 years of age and older are encouraged to enroll in the motorcycle safety training course.
Also, The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is implementing a 12-month traffic safety grant to reduce motorcycle-involved collisions on popular roadways and mountain range areas throughout California. To maximize enforcement efforts, each CHP Division has identified and is concentrating on problematic locations on routes within their respective Areas, where motorcycle-involved collisions are the highest. Grant activities include enhanced enforcement, a public awareness and educational campaign, and a paid media campaign has been launched to show “share the road” Public Service Announcements. The project ends September 30, 2014. The grant is being disseminated throughout CHP field Divisions between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014.
So please do LOOK TWICE for motorcycle riders out there.
My son had just learned to ride his bike. Being a nervous mom as I am, of course, he’s got all the protective gear from my skating days (helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads too)
I’m sure at one point in his life later he’ll want to ride a motorcycle too.
But for now, I’ll savor my heart racing juuust a lil bit.