What Bikes Want Cars to Know

What Bikes Want Cars to Know

We share the road and provide transportation for a precious cargo; I operate on 2 wheels while you operate on 4 or more. When your movement is interrupted by an outside force your occupant is jostled around a bit; sometimes seriously but mostly they walk away with minor if any injury. When my movement is interrupted by even the slightest outside force my rider is viciously thrown to the ground and if they are very, very lucky they walk away with only severe road rash and/or broken bones... not to mention the damage I sustain.

There are some things I wish you knew about me and my rider. I am not like you at all and my design does not compare to you at all. You are bigger than I, you take up more space than I and your size creates a number of blind posts for your driver. Which brings me to the first thing I wished you knew about me.

Since I am more susceptible to outside forces I and my rider will not ride down the highway next to you or in one of your many blind spots. If my rider twists my throttle to quickly pass you it is not to show off or express an attitude. We roll past you quickly so we can get through the danger zone as quickly as possible; the danger zone being anything in close proximity to you. I do not say that to degrade you or to insinuate that my 2 wheel design is better than your 4 wheel design. I say that because my rider knows your driver is easily distracted. When your driver looks into one of your mirrors they are looking for others like you, not others like me. If they do not see a car like you then they will assume they are clear to maneuver you as they see fit. If I am in one of your blind spots any maneuver by your driver could bring great harm to me and my rider. The only way we have to combat that possibility is to stay as far away from you as possible; it’s nothing personal.

We are hard to see sometimes so my rider will use anything they can to be seen or heard in an effort to evade injury. If you hear my horn, please do not get upset, we are not trying to irritate or aggravate your driver. We just want your driver to know we are in your vicinity. My rider is all too aware of the fact that your driver may be talking on a cell phone, texting a message to a friend, or reading a magazine. Yes, I know that is inconceivable that someone would do that while driving around in your comfort but that’s what they do. It’s not your fault and there is really nothing you or I can do about it.

Likewise when you hear my loud pipes it is not to bring unwanted attention to me or my rider but it is meant to gain your driver’s attention so they know we are there and coming your way. It is obvious to me that your drivers do not see my rider. Turning my headlight on during the day does not work; my rider wearing brightly colored vests does not work. We hope your driver does not become angry or hostile toward our riders because of the loudness of the pipes; we hope your driver understands. It has nothing to do with ego; it has to do with self preservation. If your driver does not see us we will settle for being heard.

Yes, my rider dresses in leather. I didn’t know why until after one of your drivers ran me and my rider off the road. The leather helped protect my rider. It is hot in the summer but necessary if and when my rider is thrown from my seat. My rider will also wear patches on their leather jacket or vest. This has nothing to do with portraying a bad or evil attitude. It has to do with showing pride in their association with each other. Think of it the same way you think about all those bumper stickers your driver sticks to your back side. My rider is not better than your driver; my rider is not worth more than your driver. They are the same. They have spouses, parents, sons and daughters. They even have cars that look much like you.

When you see a number of others like me with their riders all together rolling down the road do not think we are a gang looking for trouble. Fact is most of the time when there are a number of bikes like me riding down the road together our riders are doing it for a fund raiser or charitable organization. Has there ever been a time when your driver paid money to drive you around for a time for no other reason than to raise money for a worthy case? I thought not. I do not think there is any group more inclined to help others than those who ride me and others like me. Sometimes you will see several like me in a parking lot. Our riders are not “casing” any establishment in the area, they are not plotting to get your driver nor are they planning their next heist. Chances are my riders are waiting for others to start one of those charitable runs or we have just finished a long ride and my rider needs to take a break.

While we are rolling down the highway in formation we would appreciate it if your driver would not cut into us and get in between us. Remember when I was talking about being in close proximity to you? When one of your drivers pulls into a formation it makes my riders very nervous and they will do what is needed to increase the distance between me and you. My rider knows if it comes down to it and we are hit by a car we will lose. My rider would never challenge you in a confrontation. My rider does not deny you are bigger, heavier and can cause great damage and destruction. All we ask is you and your driver share the road. My riders helped pay for that road just like your drivers did.

When you see one of my kind with an aggressive rider I want you to know it is not the bike being aggressive. Granted there are some riders who do not yet understand just how precarious life can be and chances are their existence will end in tragedy. The same can be said about those who control you. We both know aggressive attitudes when combined with a car or a bike can create perilous results. Not much we can do about that other than hope our riders and drivers understand their responsibility to operate us safely and with dedicated attention. I’ll tell ya what... I will not judge you based on a few aggressive drivers if you do not judge me based on a few aggressive riders... deal?

I know you have no control over your driver but if there was a way to convey to them my desires this is what I would have you tell them. Watch for us. When your driver looks in the mirror, checks right or left before turning, or enter a freeway I would ask that they open their eyes a little wider and look not just for cars like you but take an extra few seconds to look for bikes like me. We are smaller than you and we can be blocked by the smallest thing, another car, a telephone pole, the glare of the sun or maybe even the things your driver has hanging from your rear view mirror. When you are behind us do not tailgate; if something happens that requires my rider to stop suddenly you will hit us and you will hit us hard. Your driver will be inconvenienced by the incident while my rider is severely injured or killed. I would also ask that your drivers, if given the opportunity, take the time to get to know my

riders. They are good people. They raise money for good causes, pay taxes, work, have mortgages, and have friends and family. Fact is my rider is much like your driver and I think they will be pleasantly surprised just how friendly my riders are. Yea, some look rough and tough and some are kinda crude but they are good people.

Thanks for your time. Look forward to sharing the road with you. Oh yea, one last thing. Can you stop throwing rocks at me?