Bike Week Daytona - please watch for motorcycles

Accidents can be devastating. Dealing with insurance companies for a settlement, finding a personal injury lawyer not to mention the pain. You may even loose your job, the bills start pilling up and your credit has been destroyed. Motorcycle riders are in a unique position on the road. They enjoy the freedoms that come with their chosen form of transportation, but they are also left exposed to dangers not met by automobile drivers and other motorists. The lack of any substantial protective barriers between a motorcycle and the road, as well as the difficulty that motorists may experience in anticipating and seeing a motorcycle, leave riders prone to serious injury in the event of an accident. Motorcycle riders, therefore, must be aware of their legal rights and remedies if they are involved in a traffic accident. The insurance laws in your state may be very different with respect to motorcycles versus automobiles; consequently, it is very important to consult with an attorney regarding the applicable laws in your state. Accidents sometimes can not be avoided,

what to do if you are involved in an accident.

Watch for motorcycles they are everywhere.

A CLOSE CALL

I wonder if you realize how close you came to injuring or killing me today. You seemed completely unaware that you began to move into my lane when only half of your car had passed me.

If I hadnít glanced at my mirror at that second, I probably wouldnít have been able to brake fast enough to keep you from hitting my front tire and throwing me off my motorcycle. I apologize for slapping your window and lecturing you. It probably seemed to you that some crazy biker was trying to terrorize you. Iím sure youíre a nice lady and wouldnít want to hurt anybody, but your inattention nearly caused a collision that would have been a mere fender bender for your Mercedes Benz, but could have caused me to be killed, and that made me angry. Perhaps you are not completely to blame. As cars get smoother, more comfortable and easier to drive, as they get quieter inside and come equipped with high-power, nine-speaker, surround sound stereos, as more distractions like cell phones and laptop computers become available for you to use while driving, its easy to forget that you are hurling two tons of steel and plastic down the road. Inside that nice new car of yours, you have air bags, seat belts and anti-lock brakes to keep you safe and since obviously have at least the minimum required insurance, a collision with a 600 pound motorcycle just isnít very threatening to you, but its life and death for me.

I ride a motorcycle nearly every day, year round, because I love the feeling of being in the open air, feeling the temperature changes and the bugs splatter on me, and of course the sunshine and wind on my face. I love the feel of leaning to steer and accelerating out of a curve. I love it so much that I not only ride to work everyday, I ride for fun on the weekends. My idea of a fun vacation is riding my motorcycle to a rally in Arizona or Florida or even Texas. Iím very aware of the dangers and I have decided that, to me, the risk is an acceptable trade off. And you must understand that regardless of how you feel about motorcycles, they are legal vehicles and are permitted to use the roadways.

Regardless of your feelings about "bikers", I am a human being and deserve the same consideration that you wish to receive from others. And if you accidentally kill me because you werenít paying attention or didnít see me, you will have to live with the fact that you caused another human being to die. I canít believe you would want that to happen, so let me try to help you understand what I must do to minimize the danger of riding and how you can help me stay out from under your wheels and not come crashing through your windshield to die in your front seat. First, you have to understand that the natural at-rest position of a motorcycle is on its side. In order to keep it upright, I have to balance it. When I get it up to 35 mph. or so, natural forces help me to keep it upright, that is as long as the surface Iím riding on remains pretty consistent. But on those patched roadways, or worse yet those under construction, there are lots of hazards that can upset that natural balance. Raised surfaces, such as the edge of a patch that your car bumps over easily can drop a motorcycle in a second if not crossed over properly. Loose surface gravel and curves that are sloped in the wrong direction all pose potential hazards if I donít ride carefully and give myself enough space to react.

I swear sometimes it seems like the highway department is trying to do me in. But I hope that they, like you, just donít understand that the dynamics of a motorcycle is different than that of a four wheeled vehicle. With practice and concentration, Iíve learned how to keep the shiny side of the motorcycle facing up, as long as you grant me a few courtesies. If I leave slightly more than a car length between me and the vehicle Iím following, itís so I have enough time to react to the piece of truck tire that is lying in the roadway. Itís not an invitation for you to slip into the space while youíre trying to leapfrog through heavy traffic. That forces me to drop back and open another gap that someone else will leapfrog into. And since I donít tailgate you, extend the same courtesy to me. If you need to look down to change the temperature on your climate control, you need to have enough time to avoid hitting me if the traffic suddenly slows.

When you see a small gap in the middle of a group of motorcycles, donít maneuver quickly into the gap. Itís common for motorcycles to travel in groups its part of the fun. Needlessly splitting up the group is rude and dangerous. These are common courtesies and safe driving practices for all vehicles and are particularly important to me as a motorcyclist. But in order for you to extend me these courtesies you have to be aware of my presence. I know that a motorcycle can easily hide in a blind spot so when I ride behind you in an adjacent lane, I always try to ride so I can see you in your rear view mirror. That means that you can see me if you scan your mirrors regularly as they teach you in any safe-driving class. I always ride with my headlamp on to make more visible. My last line of defense is a rather loud exhaust system.

You may find that annoying, but if it makes you notice that Iím traveling in a blind spot beside you, I consider it a safety device. I try not to annoy my neighbors with the noise, but I use it on the highway. Some motorcyclists ride aggressively and faster than the flow of traffic. Passing other vehicles can be safer than being passed by them in some situations. Maybe the biker that roars past you is just a sociopathic punk, or maybe heís trying to observe how youíre driving and control the time that you are actually close enough to hit him. In either case, what can you gain be getting mad and returning the aggression?

Notice me, but please donít stare at me as you drive beside me. Remember that you tend to steer in the direction that you are looking. Let me have my lane. You and I can share the road safely as long as you give your driving the attention it deserves and give me the same considerations that you would want from others. In return, Iíll try not to vent my anger at you when another less considerate driver does something that endangers me. And when we get to where weíre going I can take a smaller parking spot designated for motorcycles and leave the big space for your luxury automobile.

- Writer Unkown



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