The rice burner came out of nowhere.
It was midmorning and I was cruising along in the second lane of Interstate 275 on the Howard Frankland Bridge. It was after rush hour, but there was plenty of traffic.
Glancing in my rearview I saw the motorcycle closing fast in the right lane. He crossed behind me and continued all the way to the left lane. Moments later, doing at least 90, he veered back to the right, across all four lanes again.
He kept weaving through traffic until I lost sight of him.
And he wasn't wearing a helmet.
Florida has decided motorcyclists shouldn't be required to wear a helmet. If you are at least 21 and produce proof of a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance coverage, you can get an exemption to be a fool.
I wonder how often law enforcement officers stop helmetless riders to check for the exemption.
I'll guess never.
Ten thousand dollars.
Just the ambulance ride to the emergency room will put a dent in that. So who ends up paying most of the tab?
The rest of us, of course.
All so they can feel the wind in their hair?
Add that Florida is one of only two states that doesn't require motorcycle insurance.
So, for all the idiots who like rocketing through traffic without a helmet or insurance, just for the fun of it, here's my suggestion. If you want to cheat death, try something that doesn't affect the rest of us.
• Join the Army and head into battle without your body armor or helmet.
• Skydive without a backup parachute.
• Swim with great white sharks. (No mate, you don't need to bandage that cut on your arm before jumping in.)
• Rock climb without a safety line.
• Navigate Class V rapids without a life jacket.
• Water ski in a lake chock full of alligators.
• Join the circus and do a high-wire act without a net.
• Cross a Teamsters' picket line while telling the strikers what you really think of them.
• Serve as a tackling dummy for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Wait, their defense has gotten a little soft. Make it the Baltimore Ravens.)
• Eat yogurt three months after the expiration date.
I don't know if that guy who blew past me on I-275 had a helmet exemption. But I do know he was breaking another law.
He wasn't wearing any eye protection.
Florida won't make motorcyclists wear a helmet.
But it requires them to wear sunglasses.
Times staff writer Kyle Kreiger rants about the serious and silly with one question in mind: Why? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns, click on his name at the top of this rant.