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Good thing I was wide awake this morning at 0500 as I got to work, or I might not be typing this right now.

I was within 1/4 mile of my parking spot at work, in Newark airport, which for those not local Newark is a large, VERY busy NYC airport that just happens to be across the river in NJ. I always joke that it's not the dark, the rain, the deer, bears, or the trucks on my commute that scare me, it's the lost people in the airport, and one of them almost took me out today.

I was coming down a 30 mph curving ramp in the airport, which merges with another that comes in from the left, the one coming in has a stop sign and stop line at it's end, I have the right of way. I see a car coming down that ramp, typical rental car (rental car return is off this same ramp), and something told me to take a closer look. I tried to catch the driver's eye, instead he was looking everywhere else, up, down, left right, bewildered and trying to read about 10 signs at once, and I'm convinced he never saw me or the stop sign. I slowed down, moved over, and anticipated trouble..and here it came. I was slowing down and watching him as he ran right through the stop sign, failed to follow the lines on the road, passed right through where I would have been in a second, then I think he finally saw me ( I had high beams on by then and was laying on the horn) and he also realized he was headed diagonally across the road and going for a guard rail and he did the predictable worst thing possible and slammed on the brakes, stopped blocking my path. I was going slow enough that I was able to swerve and get around him and then I hit the gas and got out of there before he did anything else stupid.

Be careful out there...
 
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Good thing I was wide awake this morning at 0500 as I got to work, or I might not be typing this right now.

I was within 1/4 mile of my parking spot at work, in Newark airport, which for those not local Newark is a large, VERY busy NYC airport that just happens to be across the river in NJ. I always joke that it's not the dark, the rain, the deer, bears, or the trucks on my commute that scare me, it's the lost people in the airport, and one of them almost took me out today.

I was coming down a 30 mph curving ramp in the airport, which merges with another that comes in from the left, the one coming in has a stop sign and stop line at it's end, I have the right of way. I see a car coming down that ramp, typical rental car (rental car return is off this same ramp), and something told me to take a closer look. I tried to catch the driver's eye, instead he was looking everywhere else, up, down, left right, bewildered and trying to read about 10 signs at once, and I'm convinced he never saw me or the stop sign. I slowed down, moved over, and anticipated trouble..and here it came. I was slowing down and watching him as he ran right through the stop sign, failed to follow the lines on the road, passed right through where I would have been in a second, then I think he finally saw me ( I had high beams on by then and was laying on the horn) and he also realized he was headed diagonally across the road and going for a guard rail and he did the predictable worst thing possible and slammed on the brakes, stopped blocking my path. I was going slow enough that I was able to swerve and get around him and then I hit the gas and got out of there before he did anything else stupid.

Be careful out there...
Wow, glad you came out of that in one piece. It's all about reading driver's behavior and trying to predict what they're going to do and staying one step ahead of them. You obviously did an excellent job of that this morning.

I've gone through that airport several times and I can attest to how large and busy it is. Last time I was there in December 2018 they were doing a lot of construction and the detours were poorly marked which made a bad situation even worse. Glad you're okay.
 

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Well done, sir! Well done!
 
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Way to go Mike. The longer you ride, in years, the more you learn how to read drivers. It also makes you a better car driver. Strangely I find on occasion when in a cage, I'll still lean into corners. I've even tried to return a wave if I just happen to following a bikers and someone waves at them. That rider mode just sorta stays engaged I guess. Hate being in a cage but there are times I have to.
 

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Glad you were street wise and prescient Mike:grin:

Local law enforcement has told me that the most dangerous place to ride or drive is through a Walmart parking lot:surprise:

I have always adhered to this when riding or driving: "Ride paranoid.":grin:

Sam:nerd:
 

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I was that driver. Not THAT driver, but...

When I traveled for business I hated airports. Could never figure out where to go and would creep along trying to read all the signs.

Once I landed at BW in Baltimore, got my car and started looking for the airport exit. I went around the airport three times before I figured it out. When I saw the exit I stepped on the gas to get over the traffic lanes and next thing I know I've got blue lights in my back window. Cop gets out and asks why I was driving so fast. Explained how I couldn't find the exit, finally figured it out and didn't want to miss it a 4th time. He just chuckled, commented that I'm not the first person to get lost at BW and let me go.
 

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I was that driver. Not THAT driver, but...

When I traveled for business I hated airports. Could never figure out where to go and would creep along trying to read all the signs.

Once I landed at BW in Baltimore, got my car and started looking for the airport exit. I went around the airport three times before I figured it out. When I saw the exit I stepped on the gas to get over the traffic lanes and next thing I know I've got blue lights in my back window. Cop gets out and asks why I was driving so fast. Explained how I couldn't find the exit, finally figured it out and didn't want to miss it a 4th time. He just chuckled, commented that I'm not the first person to get lost at BW and let me go.
I had to travel plenty myself and hated airports. It was one reason I retired when I did. Never want to see another airport the rest of my life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have worked in NYC airports for the last 33 years, vehicle accidents are a daily occurrence due to lost, distracted drivers, driving unfamiliar rental vehicles, trying to read confusing signage (maybe in a language they don't read) which rushing to meet their flights after fighting their way through NYC traffic.

You need 2 sets of eyes to survive on these roads, and that just for me to get to the parking lot.

Once I'm inside and on the field it's even better, imagine 10,000 people, in 5000 vehicles ranging from golf carts to 120,000 pound pushback tractors, dodging airplanes and pedestrians while moving in random directions, always rushing to get somewhere sooner.

Airports are dangerous on both sides of the curtain.


I was that driver. Not THAT driver, but...

When I traveled for business I hated airports. Could never figure out where to go and would creep along trying to read all the signs.

Once I landed at BW in Baltimore, got my car and started looking for the airport exit. I went around the airport three times before I figured it out. When I saw the exit I stepped on the gas to get over the traffic lanes and next thing I know I've got blue lights in my back window. Cop gets out and asks why I was driving so fast. Explained how I couldn't find the exit, finally figured it out and didn't want to miss it a 4th time. He just chuckled, commented that I'm not the first person to get lost at BW and let me go.
 

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Good for you in how you handled that situation! I think large airports in general are especially dangerous for motorcycles. Most seemed poorly designed for the volume of traffic they handle, and confusing signs are just part of the problem. How many drivers are in rental cars with which they are not very familiar? Trying to navigate the myriad roads and intersections and at the same time trying to figure out how to work the windshield wipers or the radio volume, etc. is not a good prescription for the almost invisible motorcyclist on the road. And how many other drivers are busy texting their families or others telling them that they are on the way to their final destination, or other updates? I'm glad that I will never likely have a reason to go to a big airport on my motorcycle. I'm either leaving for a flight, and therefore would have some luggage with me, or picking up someone who is arriving, and in both cases the bike would not work. I'll drive my big SUV and still be extra careful of all the crazies on the road. Safe riding for you in the future, but I think the odds do not favor you. And living/working in NJ you are already worthy of our sympathy!
 
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Yeah I see it all the time glad you were watching! (one of my regular runs is to Breinigsville PA and see the rentals zipping along through there all the time usually ignoring the 55 MPH speed limits)
 

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Some airports have a rental car center that is quite far away from the airport (I'm thinking of Las Vegas right now). At first I thought it was a bother, but I came to appreciate it after using it a few times. Much less confusing and dangerous. I wish all the major airports would do this.
 

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Shirley and I were at the Edmonton Airport last December. Easy to get in and out of. Biggest challenge is figuring out the controls for the rental car.
A couple of year ago we left Cuba when is was nudging 100. Got to Vancouver in light weight clothing and sandals, to 6 inches of slush and fog. Had to walk about 250 yards in the slush to the car, and brush it off, and most of it landed on my feet. I hate slushy airports.
We fly in to Bella Bella in September. Might be in a float plane.

UK
 

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BWI has most of the rental cars off site now. I use that airport all the time as it is my 'home' airport and I have been caught in the merrygoround trying to get out of there.
 
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