This post may come across a bit brash, being the harshest post I have ever written. I try to keep what I write somewhat “user friendly” with clean reading, information, tips, and stories. This is the first time I’ve stepped out of that box to focus on some strong feelings I have about something. I have lightly expressed myself on this subject in a portion of a post last year called “The Other Side of the Ride“, but not nearly as hard as I am about to do. The following post will more than likely anger someone, probably a few someones, but drivers need to change.One reason I decided to write this was because May was Motorcycle Awareness Month. In DFW the electronic message signs were showing: Motorcycle Awareness Month Look Twice for Motorcycles. I saw the signs, but how many motorists paid any attention to them? All of my coworkers at work know I ride. I ride nearly every day, hang my vest on my chair and put my helmet on my credenza. They will even ask how was the ride coming to work today? I asked some of them last week if they knew it was Motorcycle Awareness Month. Every one of them responded, “Really?” I asked them if they had seen the big electronic signs on the freeways that had various messages about motorcycle awareness. Their response, “Really? I hadn’t seen that” I asked them how could they possibly miss them? Their response? Blank stares.
These responses came from people I see every day of my life that know I ride and are more prone to understand there are bikes on the road than the average driver. However, since their not affected by driver distraction as riders are, they don’t care. They were so completely inattentive while driving they didn’t even notice the huge electronic signs all over the metroplex freeways. I had another worker tell me this week that if a bike happened to get in her way then too bad for the biker if she just happened to hit them. She said bikes didn’t concern her because the biker would lose if it came to an accident situation. I truly believe most drivers feel the same way. So where does Motorcycle Awareness Month fit into the world these people live in? It doesn’t, They don’t care, never did care, and never will care.Here is a really good local news cast with Arlington, TX police and The Patriot Guard Riders trying to raise motorcycle awareness into jelly brained drivers.
An ironic situation happened to me last week, I had just passed one of those awareness signs and an idiot woman in her SUV came into my lane after passing the sign without checking her blind spot. I had to swerve onto the shoulder of the freeway to avoid being hit. She did finally see me after my honking when she finally looked out her window. I saw the panic in her face as she quickly veered back into the other lane. It wasn’t intentional, she was simply not practicing safe driving skills, even after just passing an awareness sign, which she obviously wasn’t aware of. Not to say all drivers are irresponsible in their ability to propel their metallic weapon of destruction along the road. There are a handful of responsible drivers out there. Unfortunately for riders, there are not enough of them. During Motorcycle Awareness Month I began watching people in their cars more intently than normal and created this list of actions I saw idiot drivers performing. Yes, Idiots. When someone partakes in an avoidable distraction while driving they are idiots no matter how elevated their resume of education extends or what employment position they hold. There might be other actions that you have seen to add to this list that I didn’t observe during the month of my survey.
Texting, reading, writing, using laptop, eating, drinking, listening to music to loud, dancing, taking eyes off the road to talk to passengers, putting on makeup, brushing hair, leaning their seat too far back to drive safely, road rage, violent driving, playing with their dog, turning around screaming at their kids, slapping their kids, cleaning spills, cleaning kids, changing diapers, getting dressed, flirting with other drivers, kissing, hugging, playing around, hanging too much dangling crap from their rear view mirror to see properly through the windshield, wearing sunglasses at night to look cool, tinting windows too dark to see properly at night, not checking blind spot, too over weight to turn head to check blind spot, driving without their hands on the wheel, watching TV, and surfing the web with smartphone or IPAD. Any of this sound familiar? Some of these actions such as drinking, or eating are not necessarily irresponsible. The driver is irresponsible when they allow these things to become a distraction or they are simultaneously combining them with another action.
Driving an automobile is a relatively simple function. Auto manufacturers have recognized the average moron behind the wheel and made vast improvements in the ability to propel a car down the road with minimal skills. Any idiot now only needs 1 finger to wrap around the steering wheel and one foot to push the gas pedal and brake. That really is all you need to drive nowadays. With the engineering of autos today a lot of people even steer with their knee which leaves the imbecile behind the wheel the freedom to stick one foot up their ass and both hands free to perform the aforementioned actions.
Another contribution that enhances unsafe driving was inadvertently created by the automobile manufacturers. In their effort to simplify driving for the imbecilic masses, they began heavily sound proofing the driver from outside noise distractions which they assumed would help the driver maintain their focus on driving safely. Unfortunately this also caused a reverse affect which caused people to become less aware of their surroundings while driving. This elimination of outside noise allows the inattentive driver to melt even deeper into their personal bubble of bliss. Fire trucks, police cars,and ambulances have also been victimized by this problem. Drivers don’t hear the sirens to move out of the way and in their self absorbed stupor its evident they are not even looking around for signs of emergency. You think their going to hear your nice loud pipes when their not even moving out of the way for the emergency vehicle? Not likely.
Here are some examples of this problem that auto manufactures are proud of creating:
Loud pipes used to save lives, when vehicles weren’t sound proofed as they are today and its only gonna get worse.
There is a bright side to this unfortunate negative fact about the average driver that you might be pleased to know however; and these drivers are not the ones targeted in this post.
–If an automobile operator is also a rider, or if they have ever ridden in the past they understand a bikers position on the road and are usually more aware and respectful of the rider
–If a driver has a family member, relative, or friend that rides, they too are usually more considerate of motorcyclists because of the awareness that the rider imparted to them.
–Big Rig drivers also have a better grasp of the dangers of driving. They are trained professionals that take their chosen trade serious. Not to say I haven’t had some close situations with Big Rigs, but the amount of “close calls” with Big Rigs by far underscores those with automobiles
–Motorists that have been in a serious accident, meaning near death, have become more responsible drivers. Because their own actions while driving or someone else’s actions nearly cost them their lives, they have elevated their ownership of responsibility and awareness on the road. The prospect of death is strong initiative for a person to re-evaluate their actions behind the wheel.
–Law enforcement officers, emergency vehicle personnel, and family of these people are also more aware due to driving awareness training they go through.
The bottom line here is that riders have to take safety into their own hands. Cagers don’t and won’t care about your life. Legal actions taken against drivers that involve motorcycles are not sever enough to encourage them to care. Unless a state legislature official is also a rider that has experienced and deals with these issues daily, why should they fight for harsher penalties against drivers? Their not affected and they sure as hell are not going to start a political agenda that might affect their re-election.One certain way that would make cagers begin caring is to start ruining their lives by creating and enforcing mandatory prison sentences of varying lengths of time depending on the severity of the accident they cause. For example, hit a biker, do 10 years. Kill a biker, life in prison, no exceptions. What’s the difference between shooting someone to death, or killing a biker with your car? Is it not vehicular manslaughter? I suppose this thinking is too logical for our justice system to figure out. If penalties at this level were issued against drivers that caused bike accidents and the sentences were broadcast on the evening news, drivers would begin to care. That CEO hauling ass in their pretty BMW or Lexus would rethink their condescending self absorbed elitist attitude when they cut off or tail gate a bike with the knowledge that if something happened they would lose everything by being locked up for a few years to life.
In closing, the most popular excuse idiot drivers use when they destroy a riders life is: “I didn’t see him, he just came out of nowhere!” This is just a drivers pathetic attempt to excuse themselves from their own lack of personal responsibility.
This rider understands…
Ride Strong, Ride Safe