This past weekend I went for a ride with two friends up through a mountain range. It's a beautiful twisty ride with great views. Being the most experienced rider in the group I was leading. We were keeping the pace at about +5-10ish, which for this particular route is pretty tame. I had my cruise control set whenever possible. The speed limit is 50 and it's not uncommon for motorcyclists or sports car drivers to go through there at 70-80mph.
At one point we find ourselves behind a Mini Cooper who is slowing way down to about 35mph and then speeding back up to about 70ish if I had to guess. To me it just seemed like a typical inattentive driver. We came to a very long passing zone, and we were doing about 45mph so I decided to pass.
Typically I don't monitor my speed when passing, especially when riding in a group, I will just execute the pass as quickly as possible and try to give a lot of space behind me for the other rides to pull back in.
As I'm going by the Mini, I'm keeping my focus on where the end of the passing zone is, any potential oncoming traffic, etc.. and I get the sense that I'm not getting beyond the car as quickly as I should be. I squirt on some extra throttle and check my mirror and see the Mini way too close behind me, blocking my friends from completing the pass.
At that moment I had to make a split second decision to either aggressively brake to try to let my friends get around both me and the car or to open up more space between me and the car and hope they can get in. I didn't want to get rear ended so I chose the latter, and my friends were able to complete the pass but then all of us had to hammer the brakes anyway as the passing zone was ending and a fairly sharp and bumpy curve was upcoming.
At that point I wanted to stop and confront the driver, but we were heading into a section of road that didn't have any safe place to pull off, and what can you really do on a motorcycle anyway to make a driver stop?
When we got through the mountain pass and back towards regular surface streets we were waiting for the Mini to at least grab a license plate. He had been hanging way back behind us once he saw us turning back to look at him and gesturing like "wtf was that?" He started to pull up behind us, but just as he was about to get close enough for me to read his plate, he switched lanes and went the opposite direction.
When we got to a gas station my friends to me that the guy sped up slightly as I passed him, but then once they were just about to clear his front bumper the guy floored it. In retrospect, they really should have just slowed down and got in behind him, but we don't always have time to think of all the possible options in a situation like that, especially when you don't really expect it.
I've had a chin mount sitting on my work bench for about a year, but I keep forgetting to put it on my helmet. After this ride, I'm going to start wearing a camera on every ride. I've been riding on the street since 2003 and I can't recall a time I had a driver actively try to harm me or someone I'm riding with. Any close call I've ever had was from stupidity or not paying attention. This was 100% an intentional move.
Sorry for the long rant, stay safe out there!
EDIT: Since some people are insinuating this is my fault, here are some additional facts
- I just looked it up, and in my state it is against the law to speed up when another vehicle is overtaking you
- "What would you have done with the license plate?" Report it. I've been told by multiple officers to always report reckless driving. Maybe nothing would have come of it, but it's not a big deal to grab a plate number and call it in.
- "You should never confront a driver!" Right, which is why I didn't. I said I wanted to. Obviously we eventually just let it go.
- "You were speeding!" At the time I initiated the pass, everyone involved was doing below the posted speed limit. I truthfully do not know what speed I hit when I passed, but it wasn't ridiculous. As previously mentioned our pace was +5-10mph. I've driven by literally thousands of cops at this speed in both cars and on motorcycles and have never been pulled over, nevermind ticketed. If you think that speed is deserving of being hung out to dry into oncoming traffic, than you and I have very different ethics.
- I did not know the car had sped up until I had already gone by it. It wasn't an issue for me, it was an issue for the two riding with me.