Tonight was not a good commute. It is not often that I sit parked on the Altamont for any length of time. It is usually at least a slow crawl.
But, there is something about holidays. The last time I remember sitting on the Altamont was for St. Patrick’s Day last year. See: The Altamont Parking Lot
When I left the office this afternoon I checked my traffic app and it said that I had a little less than an hour commute home. I knew that traffic would be a bit bad with the holiday weekend, so was not surprised. Even as I headed up the Altamont the estimate was holding true.
However, just after I crested the Altamont traffic ground to a halt. If it would have happened two minutes earlier I would have been able to take an alternate route.
In the picture above I am sitting still in traffic and moving a few feet every minute or so. You can see the brake lights on all the cars. Hmm, I need to clean my windshield.
I only made it a couple tenths of a mile more before the highway became a parking lot. You don’t see brake lights because most of the drivers had turned off their engines. We sat for a good 30-45 minutes in this location.
It was obvious that an accident had happened ahead and later we saw a life flight helicopter in the air heading back toward a hospital. Since I was just sitting there patiently waiting I was able to check and see what information there was about the accident.
Since I could see on the map where the accident was I knew what the road was like at the accident location. That part of the road is under construction with narrowed lanes and barriers on both sides as is on most of the eastern side of the Altamont. The road is also rough in many places, especially between lanes.
I also knew that it was a holiday weekend with many drivers who are not familiar with commute dynamics and the importance of watching out for others on the road.
I have been dreading a day like this as I knew that eventually a motorcycle would be involved in an accident on this stretch of road. That was the case tonight. I don’t know all the details, but the accident involved a motorcycle and six cars. It was the motorcycle rider who was airlifted to the hospital.
I do not understand why there is no prohibition on lane sharing in construction zones where there are narrow lanes. I respect the right of the motorcycle riders to share lanes, but they need to also use some common sense and not endanger themselves and others.
As I sat in the Altamont parking lot I watched motorcycles drive through narrow gaps between parked cars at up to 30 miles per hour.
Another thing that was amusing was that cars would drive down the shoulder from behind and pull off into this area by where I was stopped. Some had legitimate reasons like having to go hide behind the barriers and relieve themselves. However, others were just trying to get ahead of the line of traffic. They would act like they had something wrong. Get out of their car, check a tire or grab something from their trunk and then drive down and get in line for when traffic started up again.
Finally traffic started moving again. Traffic was slow until after we passed where the accident happened. There were still four patrol cars on the shoulder along with the motorcycle. They must have been waiting for a tow truck.
After cars passed the spot and everyone had a chance to take a look traffic started moving faster and it was then off to the races with motorcycles whipping in and out of traffic at 85 mph.
Only about a two and a half hour drive to get home, but I am able to vent now 🙂