Cane Harvest Causes Dangerous Road Conditions
I was on my way to my dad’s house for a Sunday visit when I came across a sugar cane harvest site, and I was concerned with the dangerous road conditions…It was on Highway 82 in Vermilion Parish, near the Woodlawn Bridge. If I had been in my Jeep, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much, but I was on my motorcycle. This was the first time I had come across a situation this dangerous since I have been riding, and it really made me realize just how dangerous it is to have mud on the road.
Before I get too far into this story, let me say this: I understand that it is almost impossible to keep the roads clean during sugar cane harvesting season, and not all cane farmers allow roads to become this caked with mud. Some farmers are VERY GOOD about keeping the roads clean; for instance, Saturday, I rode my motorcycle through the back roads of Iberia and St. Mary Parishes, and the roads were clean. I even saw one field that had a tractor with a scraper and brush standing by to clean the roads! So I realize that it’s not all farmers who are negligent at keeping the roads clean; it just so happens that I came up on this situation, and it prompted me to remind people to take care around those sites.
Highway 82 in that area isn’t very busy, so decided to go around the patch of mud (which was about 1/4 of a mile long). I was traveling in the wrong lane to get around the mud when I had to pull off of the road to give an oncoming vehicle the right-of-way; that oncoming vehicle happened to be a Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Deputy. I thought that he was going to ticket me for traveling in the wrong lane, but he quickly realized the problem. He pulled up along side of me, lowered his window, and said “I’ll go talk to the farmer right now”.
I continued on to my dad’s house, hoping that the deputy was able to get across to the farmer how dangerous of a situation existed with the mud on the road, and that the farmer was able to clean the road before the rain started!
If you see those “Cane Loading Site” signs on the side of the road, take heed!! Slow down and be prepared for farm equipment entering the road; watch for pedestrians in those areas; maintain a slow speed to make braking easier and safer; watch for slow-moving vehicles and over-sized vehicles; and remember to look for products in the store that say “Made With Louisiana Cane Sugar”, it’ll taste better!