You Can Never Be Too Careful or Too Visible

I just read an article this morning about a horrific motorcycle accident in Phoenix, Arizona (http://my.earthlink.net/article/us?guid=20100326/b7a7627b-f469-4a43-9073-a3a2c4d966d4).

I'm sure most of you are like me, very careful when we're out there on the roads.  Heck, I know from driving in a truck that people don't see my in my big, honkin', 4-wheel drive truck at least 30% of the time, so I'm sure they're going to ignore me on my motorcycle 65-70% of the time.

Worse, I feel that my loose stats reflect those drivers that are actually paying attention to what they are doing and are actually DRIVING. Daily we are bombarded by crazies on their cellphones, talking, texting, getting directions, web surfing, or even watching movies.  They have actually had statistics come out over the last year that show that people using cellphones slows down their reaction time even more than that of a drunk driver.  Even those nifty built-in car system phones, rather than cells phones, have shown no real difference between the abilities of drivers on hand-held devices over the built-in phone systems, which means it all comes down to what you, as a driver or rider are doing.  Are you driving,riding, or doing something else.  If it's "something else" you shouldn't be driving, period.  My dad was on a business trip over in Germany a few years ago and had a chance to be on the autobahn with his escort; when they need to be on the phone, they pull over to the side (don't even get me started about how they pull over from the fast lane if anyone wants to pass). 

Anyway, back to safe riding, most of us dress appropriately, are paying attention to our ride, and as motorcyclists we are even more aware and develop skills to pay attention to those around us, trust our gut, and keep alert with our guards up....but it's never enough is it, nor will it ever be.  This Phoenix accident was mid-day, in broad daylight, in good weather, they were in a group of nearly a dozen bikes, stopped at a light.  A dump truck not only plows into them from the rear (pinching them between the dump truck, themselves, and the vehicles in front of them), but it doesn't seem to notice or stop, and is going fast enough to plow into them, trap several underneath and drag them for almost a football fields distance, until it runs out of momentum.  They claim the driver wasn't impaired, well if he wasn't impaired he either had an unusual hate for happy motorcyclists, or he was distracted.  The accident cost three people their lives and put a half dozen in the hospital.

Now this is not the kind of article I want my mom to read or anything, then she'll just be worried, however, it scares the crap out of me.  I'm out there, often with my dad or brothers, sometimes with a niece or nephew along, and it scares me to think that I can be sooo careful, observant, and do everything right and still get wiped out in a heartbeat by a crazy.  So I say to you, fellow riders, drivers, kids by roads, you can never be too careful.  Always look out for yourself and others.  Know where you are and always be extra observant and extra careful, and make sure that when you're riding, driving, or cell-phoning that you are only doing that one thing, because your life and the lives of those around you depend on it.

As they say, "keep the shiney side up" and remember as you go forth this riding season that you are not the only ones out on the road.

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