Sunday, December 5, 2010

Harangue -- Georgia Department of Driver Services

harangue: An impassioned, disputatious public speech; A tirade or rant, whether spoken or written; To give a forceful and lengthy lecture or criticism to someone.

I had occasion to ride to Toccoa Georgia last weekend, and toured several sights that are of interest.  I will report on them soon, but this harangue needs to be brought up immediately because it is so representative of government bureaucracy.  Read on to find out why. 

I happened across the Georgia Department of Driver Services [DDS] driver test lot in town, where they test the parking skills of automobile drivers, and assess the maneuvering skills of motorcycle license seekers.  The lot is lined out for both type of tests, and there were traffic cones lining the "parking space" for use in auto driver parallel parking testing.  (Remember how difficult that was to learn?) 

The motorcycle course delineations were painted on the sealed surface of the lot, but some of the seal coat had worn off and remnants of a different course were visible in many places.  This was a bit confusing; I imagine more so for a relatively inexperienced rider.

It was also evident that the pavement surface had been subjected to considerable stress in the stopping distance portion of the test.  Not only is the surface worn, but there are deep scrapes.  Several people must have lost control in that part of the test.

Well, these things happen, and it is better to have them happen in a controlled environment like this than on the road with traffic and other hazards. 

...or so I thought.

After I looked over the course, and tried out a few of the exercises (you can never have enough low-speed practice), I noticed a sign near the lot entrance.

I had apparently been breaking the law.  Oops. 

So, here is a workable, if not perfect, motorcycle skills course layout, but use of it for practice is forbidden. 

I called the Driver Services office there, and after a ten-minute wait spoke with a bored and disinterested woman who told me that it was, indeed, true that the lot is off limits to those seeking to practice either in a car or on a motorcycle.

I probed a bit further, and she managed to tell me that the motorcycle course is also available for motorcycle classes given by the state, similar to Motorcycle Safety Foundation classes.  The test course is only for use during those classes and for license testing.  I persisted, and asked whether they also offer auto driver training.  No, they don't. 

So here is a government facility, funded by taxpayers, that cannot be used to develop the skills it is intended to assess, while in the relative safety of a deserted parking lot. 

What a stupid waste. This is one more reason to vote the bureaucrats out at every election, and to let them know of our outrage over their wasteful ways. 

I did, with the bored woman on the phone.  I am sure she didn't care, but you, kind readers in Georgia, could make her care. The general DDS phone number is 866-203-4110.  Select option 1, then option 3 to speak with a real person -- maybe even her.  Ask for her supervisor, too.  Then onward and upward to the higher offices of the land! 

...if you can bear the interminable wait for someone to come to the phone.   

Before I left, I took a few more laps around the course.  Naughty, naughty, Bucky. 



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