Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Please smile, breathe, and look twice - make that three times - before you go

Once again Mother Nature is smiling upon us living in Northern New York. But no matter where in the Northern Hemisphere you live - it is the time of year when Motorcyclists begin their yearly migration from the garage to the asphalt. Please - if you're behind the wheel of a car or truck - take a
moment to look for us!

I love that Kingsford Spring Grilling Ad:
1st Neighbor: Hal? Where have you been??
Hal: I was inside.... for so long.... There was nothing.... No yard, no grill.... Just white - and (with a shiver) COLD....
1st Neighbor: It was winter buddy - just winter.  
 2nd Neighbor (yelling): Somebody get this man a burger!!!
Just to be clear, it's not only motorcyclists that are taking advantage of the longer days and warmer weather. Walkers/Joggers/Runners are out on the roadways, as are those that are riding bicycles (too much physical effort for me!!). Of course the biggest difference between those people and motorcycle enthusiasts riding their motorcycles is SPEED. Obviously the later can go as fast or faster than the cars and trucks we share the road with, but don't take up quite as much space - making us harder to see.

Yes, motorcycles are noticeably smaller than cars and trucks we share the road with (thanks Captain Obvious!). Add to that the fact our human brains, when looking to cross a road with traffic, perceives only the absence of a car/truck and not the presence of a motorcycle. Did you get that?? That means a typical driver only sees the space between cars - not a motorcyclist in that same space - in areas of high traffic!

And the number of distracted drivers has increased according to a recent article by Kelley Blue Book. According to their study, a shocking number of 61% of drivers continue to multi-task while behind the wheel!! Even though all 50 states (and Washington D.C.) have laws that make it illegal to use mobile phones, the majority of drivers don't care.

Why do these distracted drivers think it's ok to multi-task while driving?? I blame the increased safety features - anti-lock brakes, front and side curtain air bags, lane departure and blind spot warnings to name just a few. They've sort of taken the 'being aware' out of the driving, giving the driver a false sense of security. Eventually there will be Self Driving Cars - but we're not there yet people!!!

Of course there are plenty of people that blame the motorcyclist(s). We show off by doing wheelies and other reckless stuff. Last year we heard about the Texas driver who intentionally hit a biker (see the video). He stated [when he heard he'd swerved and hit the biker], "I don't care."  In the video it is apparent the motorcyclist is passing illegally - crossing over a double-yellow line. But that does not warrant the driver deliberately crashing into the biker.

So, back to the main point of this blog: there are more people out & about thanks to the warmer weather, and we all need to watch out for each other - as human beings!! ALL OF US!!! Motorcycle enthusiasts and cagers alike: take a moment, or two, or even three and be a "looker." Know what's going on around you, be mindful of the traffic laws, and share the road responsibly. This motorcycle enthusiast thanks you!!