My Motorcycle Riding New Year's Resolution
January 3, 2013 - San Diego, CA
While some people are heading to the gym to spend quality time waiting for the stationary bike that some overly hairy and very moist man is currently peddling away on, I've forgone the whole "get in shape" New Year's resolution. Instead, I've decided to do things that may actually carry over into February, like making the effort to pronounce it en-velope instead of on-velope or actually making the bed every morning. Dream big, right?
Whilst surfing the web to come up with some life changing New Year's resolution inspiration I was distracted by a post on a motorcycle blog that described a rider's most recent close call with a phone-wielding, distracted car driver. Of course, we all know that rage fueling feeling of some jerkasourous-rex endangering our safety because they can't seem to come up from the Micky-D's burger long enough to check the lane next to them before sliding on over. The post went on to ridicule all "cagers" about their inability to look out for us motorcyclists who are just minding our own business.
Sure, I felt the pain of this begrudged rider, but it also made me wonder something else. When we're on our motorcycles, hidden away in our motorcycle helmets, it becomes a very "us versus them" world. We shake our motorcycle gloved fist at them and then rage to our other riding buddies about it at the bar later. But these cagers are people that we come across every day of our lives. They are our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, co-workers and friends. In some way, we interact with these car drivers every day of our lives.
Honestly, most of us used to be them. I know that I was one before I took the MSF Course. I was a totally different driver. Not because I didn't care about the lives of motorcyclists or because I'm some texting addict who can't put down my iPhone for 2.5 seconds. Neither of those things is true. I just was unaware.
We don't teach our kinds in Driver's ED to be hyper aware of motorcyclists. We don't remind our friends and family to look twice when sitting in their passenger's seat (if you do, good luck having friends). We just ride along until some unaware driver pisses us off and then we go vent about it to other riders, which solves zero percent of the problem.
So my real New Year's Resolution? Stop thinking about non-riders as the enemy and start acknowledging them as people. People who make mistakes and can be taught to change; people who can be talked to. And then, maybe I can be a part of that change. When my motorcycle riding comes into the conversation, some communication may actually happen. And during that communication, maybe something I say can get them to check the lane next to them twice or put down their phone while they drive.
Sure, it's a long shot, but if we all do it then maybe it'll make enough of a difference to slow down the growing rate of angry motorcycle blogs about terrible drivers. Then again, what would we have to talk about over a pint of beer?