Friday, May 16, 2014

Crowded Roads Means being More Careful

Thanks to writer Kerry Blake for the following insightful article on bike safety on the roads. Please remember to always watch for others on the road. As always, remember to visit Betten Imports to meet your transportation needs.

I love motorcycles, and I love cars, too. Seeing big bikes and motor scooters down the road reminds me of a hobby that I recently gave up on. There are good reasons I am now sticking to a four-wheeled 'cage'. I had a motorcycle accident a few years back. To cut a long story short, I was cut off by a car. The truth is we were both at fault. He did not look in the rear or side view mirror before passing the vehicle in front while my error was not wearing my armored jacket and gloves, although I had a helmet on. I landed on the pavement trying to avoid the errant driver and got bruises and scratches on my hands, elbows and knees. He apologized and gave me some cash for meds and we both walked away with lessons learned.
Emily T.”
This is not to build a gap between drivers and bikers because I am both. The point here is that motorcyclists, drivers and even cyclists can share in making the streets safer. We all share the responsibility of avoiding collision and injury. We all know very well that a car driver is much safer, being surrounded by an armor equipped with plenty of safety features. A cyclist or a biker is exposed to all bodily dangers. We should all practice road courtesy and mutual respect.
Car drivers should make it a habit to do the scan: check mirrors often, whether in slow, heavy traffic and even when in full stop. Before passing, make sure there is no vehicle behind and in the opposite lane in front. Use your flashers/signal lights when passing. Decrease speed when passing cyclists and don't blow your horn. Keep distance when passing one. After passing the two wheeler, check the mirrors again before going back to your lane. Before opening your door on the street, check for cyclists. Show them the same respect you would to a four wheeler, like yielding. Check the bike lane before turning right. If you have too many blind spots in the car, install blind spot mirrors.
Almost all these are also applicable to big bike riders. Remember that these motorcycles can accelerate faster so give them some space and let them pass. Do not race them or worse, cut them off. That rider is also a human being; he has a wife and kids, too. Nobody wants to lose their hands or legs. Keep that in mind.
Motorcyclists should keep safety the priority. Helmets, gloves, boots and other protective gear should be worn whenever or wherever the biker goes. Turn on the headlights even in daytime, especially if your bike does not have daytime running lamps yet. Install some if possible. Choose bright-colored gear. Add blinkers to the bike if possible. Some riders find this un-cool but I think getting hurt is more un-cool. When following a vehicle, stay in the driver's field of vision. Flash your headlights before passing. In stops, do the scan as described earlier. Stay in between lanes to avoid sudden-stop accidents. Do not start a car war or race. You are more vulnerable, even if you have extensive experience. You are simply no match for a car that is like a rolling tank compared to your bike.
Stay safe. NEVER drive or ride drunk. Avoid road rage. To do this, slow down or pull over to avoid the troublemaker when you are starting to get angry. Find a distraction like turning on the radio, turning your thoughts to something more important. Do not discriminate other vehicles. You are all on your way towards a destination. Basically, all motorists should follow all traffic laws, signals and signs.
With spring and summer on the horizons there will be more and more two wheelers on the roads so we should all be careful.
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