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Our Crazy World

Do we live in a crazy world? There are probably as many conflicting opinions about this question as there are people willing to answer it. There are even folks who would say we are crazy for swinging our leg over a motorcycle and joining the traffic mix on our roadways. While the question of how crazy the world is in which we live may be open to some debate, it often seems like we're facing a lot of crazy challenges on the road.

"We certainly seem to share the road with what some would call crazy drivers."

We certainly seem to share the road with what some would call crazy drivers. Discovery Channel's Mike Rowe, Ford Motor Company's television spokesman says in one of their ads, "Guy driving with his knees, eating a burger and talking on a phone. It's not crazy out there; it's certifiably insane."

We've all seen an overabundance of weird things other drivers have done on the streets and highways we share with them. Texting, reading, putting on makeup, shaving, changing clothes and driving apparently impaired are just a few that come immediately to mind. It seems like today's drivers are doing everything except driving their vehicles at times and their driving behavior increases our risk.

But are we any better? Have you seen riders zipping around in traffic, slipping between cars and startling drivers while they slide from lane to lane? How many riders have you seen trailer hitch centered behind a truck hidden from view and unable to see what's happening down the highway? How often have you observed a rider roll on the throttle as they approach an intersection trying to catch the light before it turns yellow or red while ignoring the car waiting to turn left?

Don't these actions also increase our risks? Doesn't riding at speeds significantly faster than surrounding traffic make it even more difficult for drivers to determine our speed and distance? Isn't it possible a driver surprised when a motorcycle he didn't know was there suddenly speeds alongside of him will inadvertently turn the steering wheel into the rider's path as he quickly turns to see where the bike came from?

If a rider's view is limited to the back end of the truck in front of him, he has no ability to see what the trucker might have to react to by rapidly braking or swerving. Wouldn't it be better if the rider could see what's ahead of the truck to prepare for what's ahead so he would have more time to respond to the situation?

Intersections are the most dangerous place for all vehicles because they represent the greatest chance for conflict between vehicles. Doesn't speeding up when approaching an intersection reduce the time available to deal with a car that can't accurately estimate the motorcycle's speed and distance because of its smaller size while increasing the biker's total stopping distance?

With all the crazy things others are doing in traffic, can we afford to expect everyone else to behave on the road? Because of the increased peril we face because of their actions, does it make sense for us to do anything to increase our risk even more? We don't have power over the actions of others, but we can control what we do on the road.

We can manage our risks by expecting other vehicles to do some of the things we've all seen them do before. If they don't do anything crazy, we're ahead of the game; but if they do, we may be better prepared to make sure it doesn't adversely affect our ride. It may not seem fair to have to take on this additional responsibility for what others do, but neither are the results if we don't.


Ride Smart! Ride Safe!