Sunday, February 13, 2011

Motorcycles are dangerous

Four people have been killed on West Australian roads over the weekend, three of them motorcyclists. One of the victims was apparently new to motorcycling and unable to cope with high winds – she was unseated and run over by a following 4-wheel drive.

In over 40 years of motorcycling I'm fortunate to have been involved in only one minor accident: I hit the front brake too hard at low speed trying to avoid hitting a cat on a wet road that was very slick having not been rinsed clean after receiving no significant rain for months. I wasn't injured and the bike suffered only cosmetic damage.

Whereas I'm a competent rider, I'm always very cautious, especially when riding in traffic or on unfamiliar roads. When riding a bike with ample power it's always tempting to accelerate quickly, which can be very dangerous in areas where there are cross streets – less than alert drives can easily underestimate the speed of a quickly accelerating motorbike.

Also, some drivers just do not pay attention to what they should be doing behind the wheel. It's therefore very important for motorcyclists to be hyper-alert and to anticipate the actions of other road users. Just a few days ago a youngish fellow in an SUV pulled out in front of me; the dope not even aware that I was approaching until I had come to a complete stop. Had I not anticipated that this particular car was going to pull out in front of me I would have T-boned an immovable object.

Many motorcyclists are not so cautious, however. I always speed, at least marginally, and often get overtaken by other motorcyclists, some whizzing past me with only inches to spare.

Motorcycling is a liberating but hazardous experience that can prove deadly as a result of the briefest lapse in concentration. For the inexperienced, and the foolhardy intoxicated by the power, it can be a quick ride to the morgue.


Blogger Boy on a bike said...

Mad motorcyclist:

Best thing I ever did was the Stay Upright course when I was going for my motorbike licence. Everything I learned on that course is perfectly applicable to riding a push bike. Number one lesson - every dickhead in a car is out to kill you.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

"Every dickhead in a car is out to kill you."

The same advice applies to driving a car!

I see two kinds of motorbike riders. Those who drive it like a car, taking their place in the queue of traffic, and those who constantly change lanes, weave in and out (indicators optional) and drive up the middle of two lanes to attain pole position at traffic lights.

I'm pretty sure members of the latter group will eventually receive a huge education.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Boy on a bike said...

Turns out the lady who was unseated was a workmate of a relative. Small world - big impact.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Mick Gold Coast QLD said...

"anticipate the actions of other road users" was a mantra we heard in the late '60s from the driving school instructors and the Motor Transport blokes who made it hard for you to be issued a licence - back when there were only 123 or 17 cars on the road.

A couple of weeks back I repeated it to a mid 30s friend, proud of her brand new car. She'd never heard it before.

12:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home