We’re All In This Together

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Throwing my CB1300 around Oran Park race track
On the public road, size matters

This post is an excerpt of a spirited discussion I was involved with on another forum. It concerned the relative behaviors of car drivers and motorcycle riders.

The author had threatened to take matters into his own hands and, using his four wheel drive vehicle, inflict serious damage to the next motorcyclist that got in his way.

This was my reply…

I know we have a great number of car drivers amongst us, and several of them I hold in great esteem. This is not aimed at them. This is aimed at the vast majority of drivers who seem to have lost the words “courtesy”,  “caution” and “fair go” from their vocabularies.

WTF is wrong with you people? Do you have no idea of the concept of safety or the application of the road rules?

Tail gating, overtaking anywhere, changing lanes whilst talking on mobile phones, whilst looking at the GPS, whilst inserting a new DVD for the kids to watch in the back seat, whilst lighting a cigarette, whilst eating your burger and fries and drinking your burbon and coke in a can, whilst putting on your make-up, whilst reading the street directory because you’ve given up trying to turn on your GPS unit (they are big words in the manual, aren’t they?), whilst yacking to your mate in the passenger seat, whilst gesticulating wildly with your left hand about how the ref screwed up in the last 5 minutes of your footy match, whilst scratching your balls with your right hand.

I’VE HAD ENOUGH!

The next brainless four-wheeled petrol-head that tries to kill me gets ….. ignored, and pitied, like the countless other morons who have gone before.

I won’t take my chances on having a confrontation with them. It’s just not worth it.

Why?

Because they just don’t care, and I will lose the argument as they run me off the road the next chance they get.

I’ve been riding since 1974. Hundreds of thousands of kilometres on the road on a variety of two-wheeled machinery.

I enjoyed three years racing at club level and even managed to win a few trophies.

I marshalled at ride days for 8 years in all grades and rode hundreds if not thousands of laps around a number of race circuits in NSW and QLD.

I spent five years writing test reports for twowheels magazine covering thousands of kilometres riding many different types of motorcycles on many types of roads and in many varied weather conditions.

I spent ten years as a motorcycle riding instructor with a leading provider teaching Learner, Provisional and track-based Advanced courses. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve trained.

I’ve seen my fair share of dumb bike riders and I too shake my head in dismay; they give me a bad name, however don’t get me started on stupid car drivers, especially those idiots who need a four-wheel drive the size of a planet just to go to the shops.  I mean, just how small does your dick have to be to own one of those things?

Those drivers who think it’s ok to sit 1metre off my rear wheel at 110kph on the motorway just because I decide to stick to the speed limit. They want me to go faster, but they’re too dumb to notice there are two other lanes they can use if they want to speed.

Steel-caged, bull-barred, air-bagged, brain-dead morons who don’t have the first bloody idea about road-craft, buffering, braking abilities or the time and space needed to avoid sudden unexpected incidents.

Like the dickhead in the car that slams into the back of the dickhead in the car ahead of him, because the dickhead in the car ahead of him hit the back of the truck ahead of him, because he was slipstreaming 1m off the back of the truck ahead of him that had to hit the brakes hard because he was travelling too fast for the conditions or fell asleep when the No-Doz wore off.

Or the fact that motorcycles only have two wheels, and thus don’t have the inbuilt stability that a car provides. Make us do an emergency stop on a wet road after you pulled out in front of us without looking and we have a hard time keeping the bike upright. Once we’re on the ground you other blokes in your big 4WD vehicles then can’t see us, so you run us over like a dead fox on the highway.

Or those drivers who seem to have had cervical spine fusion that has taken away their ability to turn their head in traffic to look for the poor sod on a bike who’s riding next to them before they change lanes. A quick flick of the eyes to the mirrors (if anything), wrench the steering wheel and we’re away… crunch!

No bloody wonder car manufacturers are installing air bags, reversing cameras, speed sensor alarms, abs, cruise control, side intrusion panels, lane detectors and a myriad of other “driver assist” accessories. Most of you bastards need them!

M4 motorway, any day of the year. Multiple nose-to-tail crashes involving….wait for it…..CARS ! How strange. Crashes that slow traffic to a halt. For kilometres…

So a motorcyclist then decides that he can ride between the traffic to keep moving. So what?

Yes he’s breaking the law. Yes he’s taking chances with his life. Yes he’s a dickhead. But then, so are many car drivers doing what they traditionally think is ok.

I don’t lane-split because it’s dangerous, and since I tell Learner and Provisional riders that it’s dangerous I won’t do it myself.

No, I’ll sit there in my lane and bake in the sun, because that’s my choice. If I’m going to enjoy the ride I’ll also suffer the inconvenience of getting wet, hot, cold, or whatever the weather brings. I’ll also bear the risk of being on the same bit of bitumen as those thousands of uneducated people holding onto a steering wheel (with one hand of course because the other’s holding the phone / cheeseburger / lipstick / CD / DVD / newspaper / street directory / coffee / apple / cigarette / penis …..whatever).

A motorcyclist cuts into the queue at the lights. Does this really cost you much in the scheme of life? What, a few seconds as you wait for him to move off before you when the traffic starts moving again. Perhaps it annoys you because you’re one of these drivers that feels the need to drive right up to the rear bumper bar of the vehicle in front of you in traffic, and the motorcyclist who does cut in adds a few seconds to your trip.

Ever thought about leaving a gap?

Does that give you the right to take the law into your own hands? The highway patrol will eventually get him, and he may or may not learn a lesson, or he may simply become a product of his own lifestyle choice and kill himself. The Darwin theory at work…. would that make you happy?

Yes, it’s annoying. Yes it’s frustrating to see a motorcyclist get ahead of you in traffic jams because he chose a vehicle that’s less than a metre wide and doesn’t take up the whole lane. Yes he’s a nuisance, and sometimes downright dangerous.  But it’s not just motorcyclists that fit this description.

I just wish everyone would take the time to think about how they behave on the road…. and do something about it.

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