This really has nothing to do with guns…kind of. Watch this video first, then keep reading. First of all, I was unaware that there is a defined merging sequence as the rider verbalizes in a zipper merge. Yes, it makes sense to alternate, but I didn’t realize it was the law. But, let’s get beyond what is right. Let’s talk about getting home in one piece. The motorcyclist should be alert to what is going on around him, and he was. When he realized the lady was trying to force him out of his lane, he had two choices, tap the brakes and let her pass or assert his position that he was right. Guess which would have been the safe choice? And, not only does he assert his rights, he actually is talking with the lady and engaging her in conversation, and not just engaging her and explaining the law, but actually called her a bitch, which is an insult (although she may not have been able to hear that). In my mind, that was escalation.
If you are not familiar with it, read about the Newhall Massacre. Here is the important point to this post, Davis and Twinning set out to steal some explosives that were needed to rob an armored car. Davis dropped Twinning off, made an illegal U-Turn, and nearly collided with Tidwell. Tidwell and Davis stopped and engaged in an verbal altercation. Eventually, Davis drove off and Tidwell called the police. Later, when the police located Davis and Twinning, a shootout occurred and 4 cops lost their lives. Tidwell was extremely lucky, although I am sure he didn’t know it at the time.
Tidwell wanted to assert his right to the road and explain to Davis how a U-Turn was supposed to work. Little did Tidwell know that Davis was, at that exact moment, in the process of committing a felony with his partner Twinning and the car was loaded with firearms.
Now, put Tidwell in place of our motorcycle rider. What was up with the lady in the car? Who knows. Maybe she is a meek and mild mannered woman and was just in a hurry. Maybe, she was texting or otherwise so occupied she had no idea that the motorcycle was even there. Maybe, she is part of a gang and lives by street rules, and explaining the rules of the road to her made her feel disrespected. Maybe, she was in an abusive relationship and just murdered her abuser and has a still-smoking gun laying in the passenger seat while still all hopped up on adrenaline. Which one is it? Most likely, it is a lady in a hurry that wouldn’t hurt a fly. But what if it isn’t. What if she truly doesn’t know the motorcycle is there and forces him in a head on collision with oncoming traffic? Or worse, what is she is just looking for a reason to fight, and the motorcyclist just gave her one.
In the end, it all worked out for our motorcyclist, and probably more often than not, it will. The problem is, when it doesn’t work out, there is no do over.
The next time this happens to you, even if you were in the right…ESPECIALLY if you were in the right, tap the brakes, slow down, and even apologize to the other person. It may hurt your pride, but that hurts a whole let less than death.