The rider who wheelied past you on the highway was not me. The rider with ridiculously loud pipes that roared down your street at 2 a.m. was not me.. I ride a relatively quiet bike and I ride it responsibly. I’m well trained and experienced and wear protective gear. On the road motorcyclists wave to each other as a sign of a certain brotherhood which means we will assist each other if needed; we understand the dangers and feel a bond of shared experience that many will never understand. But as riders we also judge harshly those that sully the name of the pursuit we love and who make it harder for the more serious among us to navigate in traffic safely. We have nicknames for those of us who most likely are the ones causing you grief.
Me, I’m just an IT and CAD manager. I have a daughter in college and a girlfriend I long to talk to each night when I get home. But motorcyclists come from every walk of life. Some of us may be policing your streets, teaching your children, treating your ailments, or delivering your packages. We are cancer survivors and veterans of foreign wars, professors, plumbers, doctors, and nurses. We’ve lost loved ones, take care of our ailing parents, donate to charities, and sing in choirs. In short, we are you.
Personally all I would ask on the road of a car driver is that they realize I, as a motorcyclist, am exposed; that my legs are my bumpers, that I accept the risks and expect no preferential treatment. I would only ask that you please pay attention, put the phone down, use your turn signals so I can react, and please give me a bit more room when following me. Driving too close takes my focus away from the road ahead and puts it on my mirrors. That distracted focus can cause a crash, and if you are too close you will crush me beneath you. I can assure you that’s an image you will never be able to un-see and which no amount of anger can justify.
Maybe we can agree that if I don’t judge the ability and value of every car driver based on the worst I’ve seen and if you don’t judge all motorcyclists by the worst you’ve seen, we can find some common ground. Our relationship and interaction need not be contentious. We can all share the road, get to work or home without mishap, enjoy our day, put our kids to bed, kiss our significant others goodnight, and wake to greet a new day.
Thanks for listening. Ride and drive safe.