Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Is That Guy Tailgating a Bus?

Speeding, as a means to get to work quickly, is dumb. I mean, sure, it's fun whizzing past traffic, but you aren't cutting minutes off of your commute by going 80. Know why?

Stoplights - the other great equalizer.

My average speed for my commute is about 26 miles per hour. This includes my ever-so-fun high speed blast down the HOV lane. I don't pretend it gets me to work quickly, it's just a thrill. On days I'm not feeling fast, I ride slower. I get to work at the same time either way, because adding ten, or even twenty miles per hour to my freeway ride only increases my average speed by a one or two miles per hour, and that's if I ride fast for a long stretch of time.

This morning, a guy on a gixxer zipped past me in the HOV lane, fully tucked, wearing a fleece jacket. I was already going at a pretty good speed, so I didn't bother trying to keep up with him. I did keep an eye on him, though. Soon enough, he caught up to a bus. And started tailgating.

Now, this is just dumb. The bus driver can't see you, so he/she isn't going to move out of the lane. Furthermore, it's a bus. The back wheels throw stuff. A bus is so big you can't see around them. And it's a bus! Stay the hell away from trucks and buses!

Naturally, I caught up to the dummy in a matter of seconds. He somehow got around the bus and zoomed ahead. As I changed lanes to pass the bus, another dude on a gixxer zipped around and passed me in the center lane. He immediately got caught behind a slow SUV. I giggled to myself as I passed the bus and changed back to the HOV lane, accelerating ahead of the guy who'd been so eager to pass me.

I watched this new racer pass me on my right several times, changing lanes and accelerating hard to get ahead of the latest obstacle. And I passed him again and again every time he got himself stuck in a group of slow-moving cages.

I hope he was having fun, because he sure wasn't getting anywhere fast. I won't judge anyone for going fast (so long as they're only endangering themselves), but cutting time off of a commute requires a better strategy than "go fast when you can."

If you want to get somewhere quickly, find a route that keeps you moving, even if it's slow. You want to increase your average speed, not just your peak speed.


prozie said...

Now, this is just dumb. The bus driver can't see you, so he/she isn't going to move out of the lane.

That's very true. The general rule of thumb when following any type of vehicle that only has side mirrors for rear visibility is, "If you can't see the vehicle's mirrors, then the driver can't see you." Tailgaiting is stupid. Tailgaiting a commercial vehicle is just begging for the chance to prove Darwin right.

Lucky said...

And worst of all, it makes you look like a total asshole.

Wyckedsin said...

I would do the go fast, cut in and cruise, go fast cut in and cruise when commuting from Peoria to the GM Proving grounds. It was a way to keep alert and awake because I was constantly looking for holes...but somehow I don't think that was their idea... and yes, I have seen, and ridden through puking Big Rig radiators on the freeway, buses aren't much different, except, the radaitors tend to be at the back.