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Annual LWOP bad driver awards

(written by Dave)

Quiet day in Zadar, planning, eating, resting and hanging out.  With little else to report, we thought it would be a good day for some awards.  We’ve been on the road for 440 days, or thereabouts.  In that time, we’ve seen all kinds of roads, all kinds of traffic and more than our share of courteous drivers.  In truth, we might have the odd driver who is rude but most folks have been plenty polite.  Having said that, there have been a few “groups” of drivers that merit special mention for their below average or bike-unfriendly driving skills.  Thus, we have come up with our first annual LWOP bad driver awards.

Truth be known, this is my idea and Nancy thinks I’m a little crazy.  While she thinks about things like when will “internet boy” fix my mobile phone and do we have enough Macedonia Denar to buy sparkling water, I think about things like bad driver awards.  The mind does tend wander when riding.  And besides, I did eventually fix the internet on the phone and we can’t afford sparkling water anyway. [editor’s note – perhaps time might be better spent researching where we will sleep the next couple of nights, or figuring out where the massive hills are to see if we have planned too long of a day, or figuring out if we have enough food or toothpaste or soap or shampoo – well, Dave doesn’t really need shampoo per se anymore… but you get the point].

On to the bad driver awards, complete with their special LWOP exclusive names:

Merca Benza Oblivionus – Owners of Mercedes-Benz cars in Europe

It seems that the more someone pays for a car, the better they think they drive and the more they feel the need to show off.  The bigger and newer the Merc, more likely they are to drive fast and pass when unsafe.  Invariably, if we got a look at the driver, they would also be on their mobile phone.  So, they are probably not showing off, more likely they are stuck in their own world, oblivious to any other road users.

NoGO Slowus Anywheres – NGO white Toyota Land Cruiser drivers

Take your average western driver, born and bred on western roads, put them in a V8 powered Toyota Land Cruiser in a third world country, on marginal roads and they become Baja 500 wannabe heroes.  These NGO jobs don’t pay much and folks are often volunteers, so I’m sure that managers or leaders don’t want to criticize “little things” like speeding.  Whatever the cause, we gave these guys a wide berth when we encountered them mostly in Asia.

21 and Knows-a-lot – Local delivery van drivers

Local delivery trucks and vans are big enough to be dangerous but not big enough to require specialized drivers licenses.  The majority of these vehicles are driven by early 20-something males (by appearances).  They drive too fast, too close and are pretty sure they know everything.  Before anyone rushes to the defense of the poor young men of the world, know that I was once 21 myself.  I drove a double clutched, overpowered, steel delivery truck.  I’m certain that I drove it too fast and at the time I was extra -smart (or so I thought).  At least in my time, we didn’t have mobiles phones to distract us.

On the Clocker- Road Train drivers in Australia and Long-haul bus drivers in Laos

This one is potentially a little unfair.  As long as the oncoming lane is open, these guys pull all the way over and overtake cyclists very safely.  The trouble is, these guys are on the clock.  Touching their brakes costs them time and money.  In fact in the Australian outback, I read an article about how much money it costs a road train driver to touch the breaks.  Someone measures these things I guess.  If the oncoming lane is not clear and the choice comes down to touching the breaks or squeezing past a cyclist, some chose the latter and hope for the best.  These are pretty scary and most of the time, because we use mirrors and don’t wear iPods, we know when to pull off the road proactively.

Horn Brakers-  Drivers who honk, rather than use their brakes

Horn brakers come in every shape and size.  Their one common characteristic is that instead of slowing down to account for changing road circumstances, they simply honk their horn.  This way, whoever or whatever is causing the “situation” has been warned and there is no need to alter vehicular speed or direction.  There must be an old driving manual somewhere that says brake = horn, horn = brake.  By the time a honker honks, we have generally already taken action to avoid them. Honkers seem to be slow on the uptake but that’s sort of expected for a driver who thinks the horn will actually slow a vehicle down.

That’s it.  Awards and prize money checks, of appropriate LWOP budget levels, have been mailed to the respected driving associations for the countries where we have traveled.  We’ll be taking extra care to avoid any encounters with our above friends, plus on the lookout for additional award candidates as we start riding again tomorrow.

We have mapped out the next 10 days to Austria, via Slovenia and some more Croatian islands.  We are still on track for an early August meeting with Nancy’s sisters in Sweden.  We will be passing through the home of Mercedes Benz (Germany) after Austria.  We are hoping that Merca Benza Oblivionus drivers don’t increase once we are on their home soil.  Time will tell.

Oh yeah, we had In & Out burgers for lunch – not quite the In-N-Out Burgers you find on the USA West Coast but the advertising looks suspiciously close enough to fool you – and the burgers were darn tasty as well.  I also managed a few photos of normal life in Zadar.  Sadly, no bad driver photos though as usually, we are too busy trying to stay out of their way to get the camera out.

And finally, for the record, the photo today of young girls on the waterfront is included purely to ease any tension I’ve created with my 20-something friends.  No really, that’s the only reason!

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6 responses to “Annual LWOP bad driver awards

  1. Eeeenoo,
    It’s about time we see some pictures of bikini clad women! Tension eased. The bad drivers awards are hilarious. I was climbing the “backside” of Germantown on Saturday and thought of you guys. We will be in Florence from 7-21 to 7-27 and Paris from 7-28 to 8-2 should you be in that part of the world then. Rubber side down.

    • Glad we could give you some joy Steve! It’s funny, we often use Germantown as a point of reference if we are going up a hard hill – “it’s only two Germantowns”, etc. Of course, we were much younger then….

      Have fun in France – wish we could join you but we should be in the north of Germany by then…

      ________________________________

  2. Love the awards Dave, but please help Nancy figure out where those really BIG hills are! How about a pic of some 20 something guys on the beach?

    • Nancy here – as soon as I can get control of the camera I’ll find you some nice 20-something Croatians of the male persuasion. Unfortunately they usually have more clothing on….

  3. Love the kids and laundry picture… very old-timey.

    As to the drivers, it sounds mostly like testosterone poisoning to me. Men of all ages suffer from it.

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