Friday Fives: Five things car drivers do that annoy and endanger motorcyclists
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found over the years of riding a motorcycle that I have actually become a better driver overall. In particular, I diligently look for motorcycles. Sadly, I still see many, many drivers who do not wish to share the road, pay full attention to the task at hand (driving safely), or do their part to prevent accidents. I’m sure there are many variations on these themes, but broadly, here are the things drivers do that annoy and endanger motorcyclists. What would you add to this list?
1. Use their cell phones while driving. This one is so all-pervasive it isn’t even shocking anymore. I cannot count the number of people I see daily on the road, yakking on the phone or, worse, reading their phone and/or texting, just flat out ignoring the fact that they are in command of a four thousand-plus pound steel vehicle that is hurtling through the neighborhood. But this isn’t really just about cell phones. It’s about anything that grabs the driver’s attention away from driving. I understand it’s hard to avoid every possible distraction, but engaging in some – like phone use – is purely by choice.
2. Incorrectly gauge our speed. Granted, this one is difficult – bikes may be closer or farther away than they appear, and because our profile is smaller than a car it is not easy to tell how fast we’re approaching. But the rule should be, when in doubt wait it out – meaning, let the bike safely approach and pass in front of you before pulling out into traffic. Come to think of it, that’s a good rule no matter what might be coming down the road.
3. Fail to give us adequate room. Cut us off in traffic, turn left in front of us, veer into us in our lane, hit us from behind, don’t allow us to safely merge… etc. etc. As a car driver, you should just assume that a motorcycle is going to use at least as much space as a car. This is in your driving instruction manual, which most people probably haven’t read since high school, coincidentally a time when they were ALSO not paying full attention. Don’t pass us in our lane just because we are only using half of it. Look at what’s in the lane ahead of you when coming to a stop at a light or stop sign. Don’t assume you have enough time to turn left in front of us. Give us room to merge onto the highway by slowing down or moving over.
4. Throw stuff at us. You shouldn’t be flicking out your cigarette butts (your car has an ash tray for that), tossing out fast food containers (litterbug), or throwing anything else out your window anyway. For bikers, these things are not just an annoyance – dodging them (or being hit by them) can cause serious harm. And if you’re purposely throwing something out of your car in hopes of hitting a biker? You’re a special kind of ass-hat and I want nothing to do with you on the road or in any other facet of life.
5. Break traffic laws like speeding, traffic signals, etc. These practices don’t make you a menace just to motorcycles – they make you a menace overall, to everyone on the road. You’re not above the rules, and failure to pay attention is NOT an excuse. There was a post on Facebook recently making the rounds, written by a guy who was apparently sick of all the entreaties to “be on the lookout for motorcycles.” He was quite adamant that he would do absolutely nothing to watch for motorcycles, and that bikers should not consider themselves deserving of special treatment and should probably just drive cars like everyone else. The thing is, bikers aren’t looking for special treatment. We’re riding legal vehicles that leave us a lot more vulnerable than an automobile, and we simply ask that other drivers understand we have a right to share the road. You know – the same courtesy they might extend to their own mother, son, daughter, father, etc. should they encounter that person in another vehicle while driving.
BONUS ITEM #6. THIS. You are a Level Five Asshole. You have NO RIGHT to do this to ANYONE. Kindly rot in Hell.
BONUS ITEM #7.
Okay, now that I’ve ranted a bit about sharing the road, I’ll let you in on a little secret: we bikers are not all law-abiding angels.
Whhhaaattt??? I know, you’re shocked. As was I when I figured this out. But it’s true, sometimes bikers do things that annoy cagers. So, that’ll be covered in an upcoming post. Because this blog is nothing if not fair and balanced!