A Case of Reckless Endangerment

I was headed southbound, homebound, on Mopac about 10 pm yesterday. Traffic was light, visibility unlimited. Defcon 5; put it on cruise and let the mind wander as the miles pass.

I was a little past the 35th street exit, just south of Camp Mabry, doing a bit under under 70 in the middle lane, slowly passing another car in the right hand lane. The lanes are quite narrow in this stretch, thanks to the recent addition of an Express Lane, so our two vehicles were maybe 3 feet and a fraction feet apart.

Suddenly and without warning came a burst of energy, like a soft detonation. The car lurched a few inches to the left from the force, whatever it was. It was felt more than heard, but for a millisecond I thought I detected a high-pitched mechanical whine. A jolt of adrenaline flung me into fight/flight mode. A second or two of absolute confusion followed.

And then I spotted it, a motorcycle, moving so fast that in that brief interval it had covered at least a hundred meters. He had passed between us, with inches to spare, traveling faster than any other vehicle I had ever encountered on a public roadway in nearly fifty years of driving. Weaving from lane to lane, he disappeared from view in seconds. I did a quick calculation. He had to be right at redline, 13 or 14 thousand RPM, out on the edge, traveling close to 200.

It’s at times like this you realize how quickly it could all be over. A 600 pound superbike carrying a hundred-something pound rider, moving at top speed, has enormous kinetic energy. A minor split-second miscalculation and he could have collided with either of our vehicles, instantly obliterating the bike and its rider and likely destroying the car and its occupants as well. All could be dead before they even realized what had happened.

Such recklessness is unforgivable. If you really, really gotta clock those sorts of speeds then you need to take it to the racetrack, or to the empty part of Interstate 10, out beyond Junction, where the views are long, the lanes are wide, the traffic is light, and the road goes on forever.

And if you screw up and kill yourself, you don’t take anyone with you.

© 2024 by Scott P. Snell

Right of reuse is freely granted with proper attribution.

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