This year there has been an inordinate number of motorcyclist killed on the roads of Utah (45 in 2014).
Safe is not a word you immediately associate with riding a motorcycle. In fact, if you want to be safe, buy a 5-Star rated Volvo with full airbags and drive it only during non-peak traffic hours. And as little as possible. It’s still not perfect but it’s pretty safe.
Motorcycles put you out there, unprotected. Riders need to remember and admit that we are one uneven lane, one gravel patch, one deer, one dog, one car driver with one text, one phone call, one run stop sign, or one erroneous left turn, away from a serious accident and possible death.
Motorcycles are not safe. All the “Start Seeing Motorcycles” window stickers are not going to change that. Has “Free Tibet”, a more likely scenario, worked?
Motorcyclists, however, can minimize the chance of kissing the pavement and taking that one last ride to the Motorcycle Only Heaven we hope exists. Here’s a few of my thoughts on the matter. It’s not all-inclusive or original; and just my humble opinions.
- No one sees you; act accordingly. Pretend you’re the “Invisible Bike”, fighting crime and protecting the citizenry. No one knows you’re there but still, you keep people safe from causing a fatality thanks to your cunning skills and preventative positioning and anticipation. You’re alive and they never knew it.
- Learn how to ride. Riding bikes is cool, it’s even cooler when you know what you’re doing and have control of your machine. Take a class and stick with bikes you can handle. Know your limits and stay inside of them. And the best part- Practice. Get as many drive hours as humanly possible. That’s homework we all can live with.
- Wear some gear. It doesn’t really make you safer, but if you thinking less of, or riding scared of going down, you can concentrate on riding upright.
- Helmets. Wearing one can keep you speaking in complete sentences if you do go head over heels. I’m against helmet laws because I think we as motorcyclist should be smarter than that and do it on our own. Half, ¾, or full; just put one one. I’m also a free-will kind of guy- so if you don’t wear one, you’ll never hear a peep from me. But I might wonder about you.
- Riding gear. Ask yourself, what do I want between me and the road if I go down? Answers will vary and being a motorcyclist, I really don’t care what your answer is, so long you don’t care about my mine. Like helmets- it’s a choice and what you wear might depend on how you ride. I’m not the poster child for MSF when it comes to gear. I don’t always wear my riding jacket but when I do, I look styling. Just saying. Boots are a great idea and keep you from rolling your heel and supporting the bike at stops. But then again, Jax Teller looked pretty cool in his white tennies.
- Gloves. These are mandatory for me. Rocks and bees at 70 MPH hurt like a mother when they smash into your knuckles and can greatly distract you from staying on the straight and narrow as it pertains to your lane. Stray not, brothers and sisters. Wear gloves.
I love riding. I will ride as long as this body allows me. I love the feel of the road, the sound of the engine, and the roar of the wind in my ears. I open it up when I can. I ride year round if the ice and snow are cleared and I’ve yet to experience a day too hot to ride.
I wave to other riders but I ride for me. I know it’s dangerous and I’m OK with that. I’m just not a Volvo guy.