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I Think I'll Crash Today

What a beautiful morning! The sun radiates its brilliance through the cloudless bright blue sky. The gently warming summer breeze draws the perfumed fragrance of the wildflowers to my senses as I inhale deeply, basking in the peaceful beauty.

I realize what a perfect day this is. I decide to go for a ride with the intent of finding a good place to crash and break my leg. I think there's a nice road on the other side of the county that would work well. The road curves to the left and creates the perfect place for me to crash. I'm looking forward to it.

"We may not know anyone who planned to crash, but it's happening to a lot of people."

Doesn't this sound like a fun day to you? We never get up and plan to crash, do we? In fact, do you know anyone (besides me) who has ever planned to crash? Yet a lot of people seem to be crashing their motorcycles, so what's happening? Why are all these riders going down?

Most often we think it is the other person's fault. In multi-vehicle crashes that may be true. Although there often may be a telltale sign that the rider missed that might have prepared them for the developing situation. And what about the single vehicle crashes? There seem to be too many of them, as well.

We need to stay aware of what's happening around us. We need to keep aggressively looking for bad situations as they develop so we can be ready to respond. We need to remember our vulnerability as we ride and seek ways to protect ourselves.

Almost everyone knows that a motorist turning left in front of a biker causes most multiple vehicle crashes. What are we doing to see this coming? Are we watching the top of the vehicle’s steering wheel? Are we sure we’re not hiding behind that van where we can’t easily be seen? Are we expecting the car to turn in front of us?

Most single vehicle crashes occur in curves. The motorcyclist runs wide in the curve and collides with the roadway or some other fixed object. Most often this is caused by too much  speed as the biker enters the curve. What are we doing to see this coming? Are we slowing enough so we can gently roll on the throttle throughout the curve? If we can’t see the end of the curve, are we slowing even more, expecting the curve to tighten or be hiding something from us?

Most crashes occur on weekends. Obviously that's when there are more of us on the road as we enjoy those precious moments away from work when we can ride. Most crashes occur between 3:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon when the traffic is heaviest. And most crashes occur close to home. This is where we are most comfortable riding and most likely to take things for granted.

Knowing where and when crashes occur can help us avoid them. On weekends and during late afternoons we must be more cautious. Running errands on our bikes should also raise our awareness. All too often we let our guard down and the result is less than desirable.

The saying goes, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." Let's not plan on crashing. Rather, let's plan not to crash. Stay sharp. Build your skills. Be aware. Keep learning.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!