This post is a little too real for me, because like a lot of us, I think I see riders more than most folks. When I hear the exhaust note of a V-Twin, I start looking around to see – is this a cool ride? A stocker? New guy, old guy, guys I know, someone I rode with?
You all know the questions, hell, you ask them yourself.
I want to tell you about this non-incident, though, because it bothers me.
I was driving the truck, so that’s the first thing. On a split four-lane highway, I came up to a stop sign (of all things!) and noticed an older guy on a really nice Road King, stopped coming the other way. He had his turn signal on, so he would be crossing in front of me when the time came.
Now, there was traffic stopped from all ways, but once I’d seen the guy, he and his bike actually disappeared behind the door frame of the dually. First this car, then that car, then a truck, then it was my turn.
Road King Guy was still in the blind spot behind the window frame at my 10 o’clock, and I had the right-of-way.
He turned to go as I was pulling out.
I stopped, missing him by a substantial margin, but scared the hell out of me. He keeps right along with his turn and never looked to me.
Just kept right on riding. Oblivious to what had happened.
Not the least bit concerned about what a 7,000 pound dually would do to a 900 pound bike.
Now, I felt bad because when he slipped into that blind spot, he slipped out of my mind, even though I’d identified the bike, mentally judged it, and then, just as quickly forgot it.
What it taught me, though, is that if I can forget about a rider that quick as a rider, then how quickly do regular folks ignore us IF they even “see” us? It only serves to reinforce the fact that we have to constantly pay attention to our surroundings, because any slip could be disastrous.
This week, as you’re out on the road, I want you to really pay attention to what you’re doing. Think about how you approach things like four way stops, how you merge, how you turn AND what all those other folks are doing in their cars.
At the same time, pay attention to how the folks you’re riding with treat traffic laws. Are they paying attention? Are they goofing off, asking horsepower to make up for bad decisions?
Ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own safety, but when we take some time to really pay attention to how other drivers – and ourselves – act on the road, it can be a little alarming. Up until a couple weeks ago, I often wondered how people could “let” themselves get into bad scenarios.
It turns out, it’s far too easy. No need for booze, or drugs, or even bad conditions.
Just not paying attention to what everyone else is doing for a split second. Just falling into the trap of “out of sight, out of mind.”
I hope Road King guy had a great ride and many more for years to come, but it was a wake up call for me, because there was literally no way for me to see what he was doing the way my truck is built and the way the distances closed.
Stay safe out there, but remember, it’s ALL of our responsibility.
Keep the shiny side up…