We are now moving very steadily into the heart of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
The signs are evident:
- The leaves are returning to the trees.
- The birds and the squirrels are coming out of hiding and demanding their treats.
- The flowers are poking up.
- The front lawn gets mowed every weekend – and TruGreen comes by every now and then to spread some grass seed to keep our lawn looking purty.
- Kids are outside more often and later during the day.
- More people are using bicycles and motorcycles for transportation.
I take issue with that last item. I do, truly.
It’s that time of year when we all start seeing the billboards and bumper-stickers and Facebook image posts warning us to “Watch out for motorcycles.” or “Watch out for bikers.” Well, sure, I’ll watch out for them. I watch out for everyone else on the road.
But who do THEY watch out for? Why does all of the responsibility rest on my shoulders just because I drive on 4 wheels?
Here’s what I mean: I did some searching on Google and found this website that had hundreds of bumper stickers about motorcycles. They said things like “Look twice. Save a life.” Or “My boyfriend rides a motorcycle. Watch out for him.” Or, one of my favorites, “Motorcycles in Side Mirrors Are Going Faster Than They Appear! Be Careful When Switching Lanes.”
So I wonder if it’s this biker-boyfriend who is the guy who is driving BETWEEN the lanes on the freeway. So, I’m in one lane…a Mazda is in the lane to my right…and right down that dashed lane-dividing line comes someone’s boyfriend racing between the cars because…I don’t know…he’s special because he only has 2 wheels? I’m at a stand-still and he’s going 50 mph between cars…when in the hell am I supposed to see him?
I had this happen just today. When I drive on the freeway, I’m constantly checking all of my mirrors and watching everything around me. This is Chicago during rush hour…I take nothing for granted. So, there I am, keeping with traffic that’s going about 20 mph – I’m checking my mirrors, staying ready to break, etc. Well, here comes Mr. Man on his motorcycle…out of nowhere…and he’s just cruising between the lanes of cars just as nifty as you please. He decides – at the last minute – that he just NEEDS to make it look like he’s in a lane. So, without using a turn signal, hand signals, OR HIS SIDE MIRRORS, Mr. Man just casually drifts over into my lane…nearly allowing his back wheel to hit my bumper. I quick burst on my horn did nothing to gain his attention. Then, he proceeded to do the same to a car in the lane to my right – he just drifted. After a while, he seemed to get bored with this. Because he revved it up and took off – hitting about 45 mph in this “lane” that he created by driving on the dashed line.
But, yeah, I’m supposed to watch out for him.
Oh, and how about those guys and gals who are on the racing bikes? They’re all hunched over, looking very much like Catwoman on her motorcycle. They drive like her, too. Whizzing down the expressway at speeds nearing triple digits. Weaving in and out of traffic like they’re going through an obstacle course of orange cones. Not using their turn signals. Not looking to see who’s around them. Sometimes following each other in pairs or packs.
Oh…and NOT wearing helmets.
Apparently these people are invincible.
Clearly, it is not their responsibility to follow the rules of the road – JUST LIKE I DO – nor is it their responsibility to be cognizant of the fact that they are not the only vehicles on the road. Nor does it occur to them that, while other drivers are certainly watching out for motorcycles, when they move at those speeds and when they ride in nearly prone positions and when they don’t use turn signals to indicate which direction they will be taking…they are making themselves vulnerable and out-right asking to not be seen!
But, it never fails…if there’s an accident, the fault will lie with the driver with 4 wheels.
I sound heartless and cruel, don’t I? I’m not a hater. Really, I’m not. I’m actually quite fond of motorcycles. I’d like to have one someday. I’ll admire a Harley just as much as the next person. I think motorcycles are nifty.
I also realize that my rant does NOT apply to all licensed motorcycle owners/riders. I admit that the majority of bikers follow the rules of the road and take their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe very seriously. I know this. I respect these bikers.
Unfortunately, it’s the small percentage who are absolute asshats who make it difficult for everyone else.
Cyclists – this applies to you, too. You have to follow the rules of the road. Some guy on his bicycle came out from between two parked cars, then road between me and the cars parked on the street – which was barely wide enough to fit his handlebars – then turned right in front of me to cross the street. I mean RIGHT in front of me….he put a hand on the hood of my car to steady himself!!!!
It’s a good thing I’d just taken the foot off the brake and had time to replace it! Another second or two and I would have been accelerating and would probably have hit him. And, of course, it would have been my fault.
So, if you are a motorcyclists or a bicyclist, please know…I’m more than happy to watch out for you on the roads. I will watch out for you just like I watch out for everyone one else.
But, for the sake of all that is right and good in this world, don’t make it difficult for me to see you!!