May is “Motorcycle Awareness Month” in Arkansas. You’ve heard the public service announcement, “Look twice and save a life.” Then the more graphic one on the radio:
“You look to the right, all clear. You look to the left, all clear. Then you pull out. KAPOW!! Look twice.”
Ohmigosh. Where did you come from? How did you reach the intersection in the time it took for my head to do a 180?
Now, I am willing to look as many times as needed to avoid hitting a cycle. I had a near miss several years ago and still remember it vividly. It was the late Seventies, but I was driving a 1963 Buick LeSabre. (FYI, those cars were made of steel.) Cruising through a residential neighborhood looking for an address, I had my eyes off the road occasionally, but was still watchful for the cars parked in the street. As I rounded a sweeping curve, I met a motorcyclist.
Neither of us was traveling very fast, thankyoulord. His bike ended up under the front end of my car and he on his hands and knees a foot or so away. We were able to extricate his bike and go our separate ways none the worse for wear, other than my heart rate and blood pressure.
Oh yes, I’m in favor of motorcycle awareness and safety and I will do what I can to be a part of that. But can we make a pact? I’ll do my share and you’ll do yours. While I watch out for you, snapping my head this way and that as many times as I need to, will you do a couple of solids for me?
1. Wear a helmet. I know it’s all part of the macho scene, riding along with bugs in your face and wind whipping your hair. But, I’ve ridden in the back seat of a convertible and that hair whipping thing isn’t all that much fun. And they make some real cool headgear… Oh, just wear a helmet.
2. Signal when you change lanes. I know this is a lot of trouble when one changes lanes as often as you do but, seriously, I need a little heads up on where you plan to be.
3. Choose an appropriate spot to hang out. Okay. I’m trying to make positive statements here but basically this means: Don’t ride in my blind spot. I know I should check my blind spot before I change lanes but let’s not play hide and seek. Not at 70 mph.
I imagine everyone reading this knows and possibly loves someone who owns a motorcycle. You are wonderful people who do kind things as groups and individually. We want you to stick around for a long time.