Around 2008, the Department of Transportation put up plastic lane dividers to create two Express Lanes on I-95. To ride through that somewhat barricaded side of the highway, additional tolls are paid in varying amounts, depending on the time of day. Lately, because of serious and/or deadly accidents, the media has been reporting the controversy.
Those in favor of removing the plastic poles argue that drivers run over the plastic poles and catches unsuspecting motorcyclists/motorists by surprise since a false sense of security is created. I have ridden on that stretch of I-95 and that thought never crossed my mind nor it should yours. Quite the opposite, I rode in the right hand lane and I was constantly making sure no one slid into my lane, plastic pole or not. I wasn’t even worried about a car crossing over into my barricaded lane. I was more worried about a car crashing another car and ending up in my lane since I have less time to react under those circumstances. While a car switching into my lane is always an issue, lane placement becomes my top priority. Either I am ahead of the car or behind it to give myself enough time to maneuver. I don’t ride even with the car to avoid blind spots and I do that while driving too, not just riding. I always tell people drive like you ride in order to start programming your brain.
I also pay as much attention as possible to the driver. If the windows aren’t covered with dark tints, did the driver lean forward to look at his mirror? Is he moving his head to his left? If he has dark tints and I can’t see inside, I look for the smallest movement of his front left tire to the left.
Is the driver constantly tapping the brakes? That could be an indication of an aggressive driver. Some drivers do not understand the simple concept of maintaining the same speed. Instead, they accelerate fast to catch up to the car in front of him and then hit the brakes over and over again, stopping/slowing down abruptly. That is an aggressive driver so watch them carefully. The best thing to do is get as far away from them as possible.
The reality is dangerous drivers driving dangerously are creating these accidents; not poles. Without a plastic pole or with, the drivers are going to cross over into that lane regardless. It is more a-hole syndrome than anything else. If plastic poles didn’t prevent them from crossing over, then of course, no poles isn’t going to prevent them either. The fact is there has always been serious accidents on I-95 and there always will be. The poles were not designed to prevent accidents, but to prevent people getting a “free ride” in the express lane. My suggestion to avoid the “free ride” is simple: when the fine is issued, make it a FINE! I’m sure $500 will get you thinking twice about that and $1,000 will even more. Hit people where it hurts!
It is estimated that each pole is replaced between 6-8 times per year, at the cost of $1 million dollars annually. Add to the fine the costs of replacing the poles hit, including the man hours involved. You have 30 days to pay, or your license gets suspended.
Some argue concrete barriers, but that presents multiple problems. For one; money. Two, space. Besides, even if we had the money and the space, what do we do when there is an accident? You have nowhere to go. You will be stuck in those Express Lanes for hours! You could create “doors” or “gaps,” but now you will only be in stuck in the Express Lanes for four hours instead of eight.
The main issue is simply bad driving in south Florida. Hell, we rank number one nationwide all the time when it comes to bad driving, but, I blame the legislature, law enforcement, attorneys, and judges for that. Yes, I just wrote that knowing that I have friends in all those areas.
For one, if a person has a suspended license, just arrest him, don’t give him a “promise to appear.” Physically arrest him. When they go to court, judges need to issue points. I say give everyone a free pass on the first ticket they get that year. Next ticket, points! Their insurance will sky rocket. In return, attorneys will charge more, so I guess I will make more money, but in this town, traffic ticket representation is less than a $100. Trust me, the more tickets and the more points on your license, the more you will get charged. If my theory works, then eventually the amount of infractions are reduced and so does the money, so I’m not advocating this to line my pocket with more dead presidents. Attorneys in other states charge as much as $500 for a traffic ticket. I went through that years ago in Georgia and a friend of mine in Virginia. I promise you, I will not speed in Georgia ever again nor my friend in Virginia. Again, hit them where it hurts. And the legislature, increase the fines!
It’s a shame that in a law oriented country people disregard laws all the time, especially laws regarding traffic. However, what we have been doing all along, obviously isn’t working, so change things. Increase the fines! Trust me, when someone spends a few thousand dollars in one year because of traffic infractions and absurd insurance premiums, they will learn their lesson.
Be safe and stop driving like an a-hole!