Motorcycle Clovers

  • July 26, 2023

Regular readers of this column already know what a Clover is. It is someone who – among other things – refuses to move over to let traffic get by and go on its way when the Clover is driving well below the posted speed limit.

It is not their driving well below the speed limit that is the problem. People drive below the speed limit for any number of reasons, none of them illegitimate. Some aren’t in a hurry. Others may believe it is “safer” – or that it reduces fuel consumption (or extends the range of their short-leashed EV). Some are elderly – and aren’t comfortable going faster than they are comfortable driving, irrespective of the speed limit or the speed of traffic.

The reason why they’re not driving the speed limit (at least the speed limit; most speed limits are absurdly under-posted and traffic is almost moving at least a little faster than whatever the sign says) is immaterial.

It is the discourtesy that accompanies not recognizing you’re holding up others – who may have someplace they need to be.

The obnoxious, oblivious indifference to others – which being in a car seems to encourage in some people. Most people would never knowingly just dawdle in the middle of a busy sidewalk and expect other people to wait for them to decide to move. Yet more than a few will do the same basic thing when in a car.  Maybe because they feel protected from the frustration-generated wrath of the people they’re impeding – which makes the impeding all the more obnoxious, because there’s an element of bullying involved: I’m bigger than you – and I can force you to wait for me.

And – as it turns out – not all Clovers are drivers.

There are also Motorcycle Clovers.

These are particularly insufferable because they violate the code. Motorcyclists ride because they crave the freedom that riding provides. This includes the freedom to get around and even through (where lane splitting is legal) congealed traffic. So it’s beyond obnoxious when a motorcyclist uses his bike as a rolling roadblock – as in the video embedded in this article..

Bikes are narrow; they take up no more lane space – or not much more lane space – than a bicycle. And bicyclists have ginned up a lot of hate for blocking traffic. But this is unfair to the bicyclists, for several reasons.

One, they can’t help not keeping up with traffic – because (often) they can’t. It isn’t that they’re going slow just-because. It’s because that’s as fast as they can go.

Two, it’s easy to pass a bicycle – if a driver isn’t a fear-addled incompetent who has to have most of the oncoming/opposite lane to make the move – and then doesn’t, even then – because he’s afraid to.

It’s unreasonable to expect the bicycle rider to accommodate the car driver when the car driver could just pass the cyclist.

A motorcycle, on the other hand, has more go-power than most cars. A flick of the wrist and the bike is gone. So there’s no mechanical/functional reason for the person riding it to use it to slow others down – which is exactly what they’re doing when they passive-aggressively refuse to notice and accommodate the traffic they’re holding up.

But they haven’t noticed it?

In that case, they are dangerous fools who have no business being on a motorcycle, as maintaining situational awareness – what’s going on all around you, all the time, by constantly checking your mirrors – is literally a life-and-death thing when you’re riding a motorcycle. If the motorcyclist doesn’t know he’s holding up traffic, he’s not using his mirrors and that makes him dangerous – to himself as well as others in his vicinity.

If he is using his mirrors – and knows he’s impeding traffic – and makes no effort to wave it by or increase his speed or (if he doesn’t want to do that) pull off onto the shoulder (or the next place he can) to let traffic pass him by then he is something else.

It begins with a “c.”

. . .

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