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Wanted: driver of a burgundy Lexus

I met an interesting kind of Pittsburgher on Monday afternoon. My new pal was driving a burgundy Dodge Lexus, but no other description is necessary. The race and sex is also unimportant because lots of people from all walks of life do what my new acquaintance did.

He nearly killed a motorcyclist and then drove away without even acknowledging his actions.

Already, I’m sure there are readers thinking, motorcycles are dangerous, so why ride one• But there’s nothing inherently dangerous about economical, fun transportation. Not until we meet up with drivers like my friend in the Lexus.

I shouldn’t call him a friend, though, because friends don’t try to kill each other over a parking spot. Driving down Route 8 in Etna side by side, we both saw the parked car along the road, but only the Lexus was headed straight for its rear end. In an instant, he decided that braking and waiting to merge back into traffic was too much of a bother, so he cut his wheel.

Looking directly ahead to perhaps ignore the results of his actions, I was forced directly into two lanes of oncoming traffic. At 45 mph.

Luck or maybe skill intervened, and a driver in the oncoming lane swerved, sparing me a stay in the intensive care ward or maybe the county morgue. When Mr. Lexus saw that I’d survived his homicidal maneuver, he ran a red light to get away from whatever retribution he saw coming his way.

This all seemed pretty dramatic and unnecessary for a simple commute across town. But it happens all the time. I met a young television producer last weekend who lost a leg when a car rammed him into a bridge abutment in Schenley Park.

He looked at the driver who sped off into the night before he almost bled to death with a 500-pound motorcycle resting on his severed leg. “They brought me back to life on the operating table after 11 pints of blood,” he said, at once angry about the incident and glad to be alive.

Someone out there is driving in full knowledge that he or she nearly killed a motorcyclist that day in Schenley Park but chose to keep on motoring. He might drive a burgundy Lexus, but that doesn’t matter. And neither do the lives of motorcyclists, apparently.


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