Signs of Spring: Barrels and Motorcycles
As spring weather puts forth an effort to make our days happier, road crews will be constructing vehicle obstacle courses throughout the area. Given our past winter, you can bet there will be a lot of orange barrels placed out as construction workers and road crews return to their outdoor employment.
Keeping this in mind, we must all be aware of our surroundings as we approach these particular areas.
Road signs indicating "road work" or "construction area ahead" will be placed before an actual working areas and should be taken seriously. Also, there will be a reduction in speed, usually a drop from the normal speed limit to 50 or 55 miles per hour.
All the warning signs and orange barrels are well and good only if motorists take heed of them. I have driven through areas where the speed limit was dropped from 60 to 50 miles per hour and motorists were flying by me. As they passed me, I observed unusual facial expressions and hand gestures!
We must realize that these warning signs - reductions in speed limits and orange barrels - are placed in areas where people are working. I'm quite sure they want to stay alive. Drivers need to realize that these areas are noisy. Workers cannot hear anyone yell a warning to them if they are in danger due to a careless driver who does not slow down or is distracted.
By slowing down to the posted legal speed limit, the driver has more reaction time if needed, which might save lives.
And don't be fooled by speed limits that have been reduced in areas of construction or road work when there is no one around, let's say "after hours". The posted speed limit is enforceable and you can be cited.
The Sounds of Spring
The slight introduction of spring we've experienced has brought forth another sign that summer will soon be here - the motorcycle. I know that when I owned a motorcycle, I couldn't wait for warm weather so I could ride it!
But the time came (and I'm not saying I'll never own another) when riding my motorcycle became more of a chore than a pleasure, so I sold it. I was always, and I mean always, looking around to make sure I wasn't going to get in to an accident.
People complained that my motorcycle was too loud. There is a reason for loud exhaust pipes on a motorcycle - to be heard! Many drivers have all their car windows up in the summer, most likely because they're using air-conditioning, but this prohibits them from hearing outside noises. And, possibly, they're not paying total attention to their surroundings for some other reason.
Riding a motorcycle is a lot of fun. The motorcyclist should be afforded the respect and courtesy given any other motorist. They have less protection and are more vulnerable to physical injury than a person in a car.
Having lost a friend to a motorcycle accident not that long ago, I highly recommend wearing a helmet at all times. Eye protection must be worn at all times whether you are a motorcycle driver or passenger.
Again, when you are on the road, be aware of your surroundings and extend courtesy to one another.
Until next time, keep both hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road!
Please submit your questions and observations to Dale through our website. Click on Submit a new story and choose the Category Daily Driver.
Dale Drottar is retired from the Avon Lake Police Department. He is currently an instructor at a driving school located in Rocky River.