Florida’s Kamikaze Drivers

Florida City is not necessarily the last bit of land before you head down to the Florida Keys but it’s pretty darn close. I rode down here today from Orlando on “Florida’s Turnpike”. Not “THE Florida Turnpike”, mind you. The Pennsylvania Turnpike and The New Jersey Turnpike were good enough names for those other states but I guess Florida wanted to be sure you understand who owns their turnpike. Anyway, it’s a pretty fine road and was really uncongested most of the way on this Saturday. The $20 in tolls was obnoxious but that’s the price you pay in a state with no sales tax, I guess.


Having said that, I’m now pretty convinced that Florida drivers are some of the wildest I’ve ever driven among. Freeway speeding at 85-90 mph is common, no quarter is asked or given, and turn signals are, really, so passé. I’m not talking about bad octogenarian drivers, either. They’re all huddling over in the far right lane with me doing the speed limit +5 in order to avoid being run down. Most southern Florida cars have dark window tinting which robs you of even the small ability to see whether someone is looking your way; a driver behavior indicator that you’re not even aware of observing until it’s hidden from you.


The weather has been pretty spectacular – about 85 degrees, partly cloudy, low humidity and a slight wind. This combines to mean standing still on the bike soon gets to be a sweaty affair but when you’re moving, it’s very comfortable. I’ve developed that telltale, speckled suntan pattern on the back of my hands that comes from wearing mesh driving gloves.


I arrived here at the Florida City Hampton Inn and, as I unloaded the bike, got to hear some stories my DEA agent neighbors were telling from their early Happy Hour gathering on the balcony above me. Hmm, could be an interesting evening; let’s hope they have to work tomorrow.   


I rode for about 60 miles today with another Harley driver who was heading from Savannah to Ft. Lauderdale. I have seen only a handful of riders going my direction so far but expect to see a lot heading north next week as I start my trek home toward Myrtle Beach Bike Week.


 Tomorrow: a leisurely ride down the fabulous bridges and islands to Key West.

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