Traffic Jammin’ With Janis Mara – Neighbor With A Loud Motorcycle, Dive-Bombing Back Into Traffic, $9 To Cross The Bridges + MORE

June 18, 2018 14:00 pm · 47 comments

Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every first and third Monday at 2 p.m. on

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every first and third Monday of the month at 2 pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions. Email your questions to

COMMUTER: For some 15 years, my neighborhood was quiet and friendly. Then, three or four years ago, a guy with a super-loud motorcycle moved in. Not only does he drive the dang thing down the street several times a day during the day, but the worst is when he wakes us up at 5:30 a.m. because he’s going God knows where. What can we do?

Turn Down for What? For Us!

TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer feels your pain, TDFWFU, and doubtless so does everyone else in your neighborhood. Issues with neighbors come up often in the Traffic Jammin’ column, and a reader made a great suggestion: Try getting to know those neighbors, maybe drop by with some fresh-baked cookies and get acquainted before bringing up your concerns? And then speak directly with them about the rude awakenings?

There are legal remedies, it’s true. A noise limit of 80 decibels applies to any motorcycle manufactured after 1985. The problem is, the fines are a mere $50 to $100 for a first offender. The Jammer suggests trying to form a bond first, then communicating directly, and calling the police as a last resort.

COMMUTER: Driving south on Interstate Highway 680 approaching the Treat Boulevard exit, the far right lane eventually becomes an exit lane. The other day, I saw several cars speed along in the exit lane, then dive-bomb back into the main flow of traffic at the last minute.

This is selfish! Plus, how much time can these idiots possibly save by doing this? Is this against the law?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: Irritated and all Beloved Claycordians, the Jammer actually wasn’t familiar with the phrase “dive-bomb” until receiving this question. Now that you mention it, I’m sure we’ve all seen people do it. It is, alas, entirely legal, Irritated, as you probably already guessed.

However, it does seem like a form of cheating, since all the good people in line are patiently waiting their turn while the dive-bomber cuts in line. Beloved Claycordians, are there other freeway exits where a great deal of dive-bombing takes place? Where have you seen it happen?

COMMUTER: I can’t believe it’s going to cost $9 to cross the Bay Bridge, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, etc., by 2025. What about all the contractors and construction workers who need to drive their trucks and equipment into San Francisco? They can’t take BART, and they’re not rich. What will this do to them and their businesses? What about people with low-paying jobs who live in locations that are impractical to take BART or the bus?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: As the well-informed Claycordians reading this already know, Disgusted is referring to Regional Measure 3, which appears to have passed in the June 5 primary election. The measure would raise tolls by $1 in 2019, 2022 and 2025 on all Bay Area bridges except for the Golden Gate Bridge. By 2025, it would cost $9 to cross those bridges during peak hours and $8 to cross at any other time.

As you doubtless already also know, the money raised would fund 35 highway and public transportation projects throughout the region as well as provide transit operating funds for ferries, regional express buses and the Transbay Transit Center.

Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership group and a spokesman for the Yes on RM3 campaign, told the San Francisco Chronicle June 6, “We’ve got tough traffic challenges that are true obstacles. The voters saw that this measure was a good opportunity to do something about it.”

As an interesting counterpoint, David Schonbrunn, head of the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, an environmental group that opposed the measure, acknowledged the measure appeared headed for victory and blamed it on San Francisco and Santa Clara County voters who don’t commute across bridges.

“That speaks to the profound unfairness of the way the measure was written,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle June 6. “Including Santa Clara in this was obviously unfair and was obviously intended to skew the results.”

That’s it for this week. Be sure to cruise by at 2pm on the first and third Mondays of the month for more traffic intelligence. Remember, whether you drive, walk, bike or hop Amtrak, BART, County Connection or AC Transit, Traffic Jammer Janis Mara is here to answer your questions.

Send your questions to

lisa June 18, 2018 at 2:38 PM

$9 Bridge Toll is CHEAP

17-Mile Drive Toll: $10.25

Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a 23-mile
which at $18 per round trip it’s $30 if you take more
than 24 hours to drive back over

MTA’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, at
$16 per round trip for cash customers

The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge Toll $29
Nürburgring Nordschleife Bridge toll $32

The Confederation Bridge has a $45 Toll

8066 June 18, 2018 at 3:43 PM

Coronado Bridge in San Diego, free.

Doh June 18, 2018 at 4:24 PM

No it is not cheap. It is gouging. You must work for the MTA so you already know the money is going to be used to build more toll lanes to take more money out of our pockets. It is ludicrous to compare the 4.5 mile (including the tunnel) to the 23 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Papa June 18, 2018 at 6:41 PM

Bridge tools were suppose to be removed altogether once the tolls paid back the cost to pay for the bridge….
not only that- we already pay taxes for our roads, so they’ve been double dipping on your money for something you’re already having your money taken out of your paycheck for

1) Take ALL the tolls down entirely on those bridges that’s been paid off, like the agreement was with us.
2) If they’re not going to use my tax money which is meant for roads, to build and fix roads, reimburse me my tax money. I never agreed they could divert and cyphin my money off elsewhere for their vacations or fancy dinner parties and eeelection campaigns

Look it up. All bridge tolls are suppose to be removed entirely once the balance is paid off by the tolls. The bay bridge was paid off dozens upon dozens of years ago

Noj June 19, 2018 at 12:33 AM

The real problem is the uninformed voters who vote for these toll increases.

Remember when Contra Costa voters voted themselves an increase in their sales tax? And then then voted for it again after it was to “sunset?”

Heard about a Fort Bragg city councilman who got fed up with the high cost of living in Fort bragg, moved to southern Oregon, got on the city council there and proposed a sales tax there. Big difference between Oregon voters and California voters. Oregon doesn;t like taxes. They don’t like Californians who move there and want to screw that place up too.

Wakey wakey folks.

Doh June 19, 2018 at 6:59 PM

Does the MTA need another new building downtown? How much did the last one cast?

RANDOM TASK June 18, 2018 at 3:03 PM

uhhh what about the measure Q money or the original toll hike money or the gas tax money or the road tax money just passed and lest we forget the money already allotted in the annual budget for roads

nothing is being done and yet money on top of money is being taken
the dem gov boasted 6 billion dollars …where is that money


Reality says... June 18, 2018 at 3:25 PM

“…when he wakes us up at 5:30 a.m. because he’s going God knows where…”

I leave my home at 5:15am to go to work. Maybe he’s headed off to work as well.

Same June 18, 2018 at 3:32 PM

I agree with Lisa. The bridge toll should be $30 or $50 or more. That’s the only way the traffic will improve in a perceptible way.

Doh June 18, 2018 at 4:42 PM

For many people it is not always practical to take Bart and buses. We can’t live next to Bart and our destinations are not always next to mass transit.

No more SF June 18, 2018 at 3:32 PM

No longer going to SF to have fun. Will spend my money elsewhere, probably in Tahoe instead. Forget SF, might as well make them the next sate by themselves.

OverWhelmed June 18, 2018 at 4:53 PM

I agree. We have been to SF 1 time in the last 6 yrs. Used to love to go, but now don’t even miss it. We drive through on our way to the airport. We usually go another north toward Tahoe or east toward Yosemite. Beautiful places and we actually have money to spend when we get there.

Dorothy June 18, 2018 at 3:42 PM

Seen dive bombers? You bet! Every time I drive anywhere. They happen on city streets too not just freeway exits or toll cheats.

mike June 18, 2018 at 4:00 PM

still haven’t seen anything about the lanes facing north on Jones road behind club sport being improperly marked….

Mika June 18, 2018 at 4:03 PM

Cookies? Really? Maybe a case of beer would work!

OverWhelmed June 18, 2018 at 4:55 PM

I know a lot of people that are not drinkers that ride harley’s and indians. What is up with the stereotypical attitude with people?

James June 18, 2018 at 4:13 PM

I see drivers dive-bomb all the time at the 680/24 split and also at the N. Main exit on 680 N. For the latter, there is signage for about 3/4 of a mile letting people know that the lane is exit only and that they should merge left, but *every day* of my M-F commute I see at least one person squeeze their way in, sometimes over the bullnose where the exit begins. People act like it’s a death sentence to just take the exit and get back on the freeway.

As for the 680/24 split, if you don’t tailgate the person in front of you, you *will* get cut off from last second mergers.

JazzMan June 18, 2018 at 5:50 PM

So true. Even after the “gore point” people will dive in.

Helen June 19, 2018 at 7:07 AM

Yep! I have to tailgate the person in front of me at that exit.

Anon June 18, 2018 at 4:32 PM

I highly doubt that the biker is “unaware”.
Are they really that clueless in life that they are Unaware???
They don’t care, period.

As for dive bombers,
The only way to make life hard on them is to CLOSE THE GAP and make them get behind you. I’m observant, so if I see someone getting on the freeway I’ll let them in – if I see someone doing this dive bomb crap Nope……and I’ve had them blow their horns at me while they are at my quarter panel, Sorry……get in line like everyone else.

Shady June 18, 2018 at 4:39 PM

The north side of the Antioch Bridge is in Sacramento County, yet they didn’t get to vote. Last time I checked, no bridges connect to Santa Clara County. Another scam RIP off.

The Fractionator June 18, 2018 at 5:01 PM

Use to leave my house every morning at 4:45 A.M. to go to work riding my HD Fat Boy. I would start it in the garage, not revving the pipes, giving it a little gas to get down the street and went very slow until I got out of the neighborhood. It’s called common courtesy to the neighbors who I have to live with. Talk to the dude, politely, and I bet he’ll back off.

anon June 18, 2018 at 5:33 PM

and when you got out of your neighborhood – you got on it –right ? that woke up other neighbors down the street & he will not back off as he is probably a jerk – I dealt with these types all my life..he does not care

Julia June 18, 2018 at 7:57 PM

we’ve recently got one of these going down at god knows what hour (probably betw 4:30-5 a.m.) in Muir Oaks…even if he’s just going down JM road, without gassing the damn thing, it wakes me up. it’s that loud. I doubt any amount of talking would get this idiot to drive something besides an effing loud bike to work or wherev he’s going at that hour…cookies, beer, etc. He’s going to ride it, he knows its loud enough to wake the dead, and he’s going to do it. Between that and the every weekend neighborhood (community pool ugh, not really just sounds like one) pool parties across the street from our house, complete with that infuriating 4 hours at a time, CORN HOLE GAME, sleep is messed up. Rude neighbors are everywhere. Not just Martinez! lol

Anon June 18, 2018 at 10:10 PM

Several years ago a co-worker told me that he would not ride in Martinez because the Police stop people for loud pipes. I think that “program” must have ended because the City is overrun with Illegally Modified pipes on bikes.
Be glad you’re over there, at least you do not have to deal with train horns (there’s not even 20 minutes without a horn), even Point Richmond residents had enough and installed railroad quiet zones HINT HINT!
Best thing you can do is wear those 3M type foam ear plugs – really pathetic that we have to do this in 2018!

anon June 18, 2018 at 5:30 PM

These guys know they are loud & illegal – they do not care about you & they know what time it is & that you are sleeping – get to know the graveyard cop & have him write some citations – these people are jerks

Anonx June 18, 2018 at 6:24 PM

What people(and politicians) always fail to understand is that when tolls/taxes go up so does food, rent and other services as well. Why do you think it’s so expensive to live here? The extra cost just gets pushed onto you.

Cautiously Informed June 18, 2018 at 9:52 PM

Very true. How many times have the politicians raised taxes, tolls and frees to make improvements and to make things better here in the state, then when they got the money nothing changed or got better. The voters are fools to continue giving more and more to a government that ceaselessly proves itself incapable and incompetent.

old-school guy June 19, 2018 at 7:55 AM

Not to mention the ever-increasing minimum wage.

Consumer B June 18, 2018 at 6:38 PM

Will the Concord Police stop vehicles whether they be motorcycles, or cars for being too loud. Can we communicate this message to our police department because I’m not aware of police stopping vehicles for being too loud and they should. Stopping vehicles and writing a citation may help.
I agree with ANON, he probably doesn’t care and most likely a jerk.

Fred June 18, 2018 at 9:09 PM

I retired from Concord PD & wrote citations for every one I heard- but few Officers did

Just me June 19, 2018 at 11:50 AM

The police are too busy dealing with important crimes to bother dealing with loud exhaust. Give them a break guys the police are already busy.

Joe June 18, 2018 at 6:58 PM

Scrap the bridge tolls and go with a London UK type Congestion charge.

It throws a ring around the city and if you cross the line you pay for the day.
That would get those coming from peninsula to pay their way.
After all, the bridges are actually paid for and should be free by now.


What June 18, 2018 at 7:35 PM

I feel whomever votes for a tax should pay that tax, i.e. if you vote to raise bridge tolls you will be charged a bridge toll 5 days a week, whether you go across the bridge or not. If you vote against it, then you owe nothing no matter how many times you go across. That would stop all the idiots who vote for something that doesn’t affect them directly. Same thing with any other bonds or taxes on the ballot, if you vote for it you pay it, if you don’t vote for it you don’t pay it. Problem solved!

AnonZ June 19, 2018 at 5:27 AM

Would love to know how you’re going to implement that. My kids are grown and gone from CA, can I stop paying the property tax crap that goes to schools? NO.

I’ve voted NO to any and every tax increase that has been voted on in the last 20 years, can I stop paying now? Sheesh.

Julia June 18, 2018 at 7:57 PM

yep, totally agree, jerks is putting it nicely.

Kirkwood June 18, 2018 at 8:08 PM

Harley riders CAN run quietly when they want to, just watch one ride by a cop.

ClayDen June 18, 2018 at 8:12 PM

The only engines that should be permitted to be loud are normally aspirated V-12s under 4.5 liters and Rolls Royce Merlins. Maybe include normally aspirated flat-plane crank V-8s under 5 liters.

Kirkwood June 19, 2018 at 10:50 AM

I’m unfamiliar with the term “flat-plane crank V-8 . Can you describe it please?

ClayDen June 19, 2018 at 12:19 PM

A flat-plane crankshaft has all of the throws in a flat plane (180 degrees apart), rather than a cross-plane crankshaft that has them 90 degrees apart. A flat-plane crank is lighter and allows for higher and quicker revs due to having less mass and rotational inertia and is thus used in very high performance engines. A flat-plane crank is essentially two four cylinder engines put together as a V-8. A flat-plane crankshaft has more vibration, so it’s mostly used in smaller displacement engines. Notable users are Ferrari and some of the highest performance Mustangs.

Kirkwood June 19, 2018 at 2:33 PM

Thanks, I subsequently looked it up and also ran it in my head for a while to figure out the forces.

94521 June 18, 2018 at 8:37 PM

Regarding 680 south–yes, it is illegal to cut over at the last minute. Sign says “Right Lane Must Exit”. White sign w/black lettering. Illegal.

Traffic Jammer, can you speak to this?

AnonZ June 19, 2018 at 5:29 AM

As long as you move over BEFORE the GORE POINT, it is LEGAL.

old-school guy June 19, 2018 at 8:03 AM

I believe any lane change is legal until the lane line is solid. That rule applies to surface streets too. Traffic studies have found that waiting to the last moment to merge moves traffic along faster than if cars merge to soon before a lane ends.

AnonZ June 19, 2018 at 5:35 AM

Dive bombers are born from slow drivers and other’s inability to drive behind someone without the space of an 18 wheeler between them. You leave a gap, I will fill it.

Rob R. June 19, 2018 at 3:18 PM

I’m a motorcyclist (I own two bikes and commute on one) and I hate the sound of loud pipes.

Motorcycles,even Harleys, don’t come with loud pipes stock, these are expensive optional extras, their whole raison d’etre being “look at me”.

PogueMehone June 19, 2018 at 5:11 PM

But, but super loud motorcycles are sooooo SAFE! Wow, they are safe. Super safe. That’s, of course, the only reason why someone would go out of their way to modify their motorcycle to SPL’s approaching that of a running jet engine. To be safe from all the evil “cagers” in their cars. It has nothing to do with being an attention-seeking idiot. That’s a conspiracy. (End sarcasm).

As usual, South Park did a great job of poking fun at these clowns (The “F” Word, season 13, episode 12, look it up). I also wonder what is going to happen when electric motorcycles one day become available. Oh no! No loud noise! How UNSAFE! Whatever will they do?!

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