Reflections from the road

As the summer winds down, the vacationers return home and the students head back to school, I find myself reflecting on my own experiences and the knowledge I have gained this riding season.

Since I began riding, I have changed the way I drive. Being a rider has given me a different perspective on sharing the road that just being a driver did not, so I thought I would share some of my experiences with the drivers out there and maybe they will learn something about riders that they perhaps never considered.

No rolling stops – next time you approach an intersection on your red, aside from the fact that it is unlawful, do not do a rolling stop turning right. As a driver, you are ‘programmed’ per se, to look for a vehicle and if your brain does not see one, you keep going. However, I might be the motorcycle riding along through the intersection on my green light that you cut off on your rolling stop. This could force me into oncoming traffic with catastrophic results. To avoid you, I will have to make an emergency manoeuvre if space allows which could land me right beside your open window where I will surely yell at you for being such an idiot. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Leave a procession of bikes connected. It used to be in the day that a funeral procession of vehicles was never bisected by a non-participant vehicle because the entire procession would drive with their headlights on even in the daytime. The procession stayed together. It was respect.

The same goes to be said for a procession of motorcycles. Whether it is three or three hundred bikes riding together, from a rider’s perspective, it is disrespectful to break up the procession by squeezing your vehicle in between. Riders are not speaking to each other in an air-conditioned car and are usually following the lead rider. Think of the lead rider as the driver of a vehicle and the bikes behind him are the passengers. You wouldn’t do it to a car now would you?

Emergency vehicles. If a bike in front of you pulls over suddenly to the side of the road, it is possible that there is an emergency vehicle coming at you and that the act of pulling over is the law and not your indication to step on it to pass the bike.

Space. As a bike only takes up one half of the driving lane, this does not mean that the other half is open for you to crowd your vehicle in there so you can turn right 20 seconds earlier than if you waited as though a vehicle were in front of you.

Also, if there is a space in front of a bike before the next vehicle, the rider is intending it to be there and it is not an indication for you to ride our bumper to speed up. If you don’t have a helmet, and aren’t planning on getting on the back of the bike at the next light, back up. Someone may rear end you and then you will have nowhere to go but into the rider ahead of you – who doesn’t have that air bag or seat belt.

The look. If, in traffic, a rider ahead of you turns to shoulder check, that is a good indication they are checking to make a safe lane change and not an indication for you to speed up so they can’t change lanes.

If a rider turns around to look at your vehicle at a light, you are too close, give a bit more space at the next light please.

Air conditioning – motorcycles do not have air conditioning. If you are sitting in traffic, in the coolness of your car, and a bike sneaks past, rather than get mad, think about the outside temperature, and then add full clothing (if the rider is smart enough to be wearing it). Sometimes it is necessary for a rider to keep moving before they pass out in the heat. Acceptable – probably not, but necessary at times and we appreciate your understanding.

There have been far too many vehicle/motorcycle accidents this season. Fault is irrelevant as both parties take responsibility in this area.

Learn to share the road. As a driver, remember the road is being populated more and more by scooters, bicycles, and motorcycles and vehicle are not the only ones using the roadway. Change your thinking and make a difference to safety, one vehicle at a time.


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