Many of my friends headed to Sturgis last week to spend time at the bike rally. They enjoy the freedom their bikes allow them. I don't ride, but I love my friends and worry about them when they are on the road.
As I headed to Regina last weekend, I came upon two motorcycles. When driving behind a motorcycle, I increase my follow distance, leaving an extra buffer zone.
It's simple. Motorcycles are capable of stopping much quicker than a passenger vehicle, and down-shifting doesn't require brake lights.
When I drive behind bikes, I often have morbid thoughts run through my head. My fear of them hitting a pothole and losing control and me not being able to stop in time is enough to make me pay closer attention to what I'm doing.
I guess the cars behind me didn't feel the same.
First a small car passed my vehicle and slid between me and the bikes. Physically, there was enough room to slide between us, but logically, there wasn't. The car got really, really close to the back of the motorcycles before hitting the brakes.
All I could think was, "why?"
Rear-ending a motorcycle at low speeds could crush a bike or launch the occupant. Why at high speeds would you get nice and tight with a motorcycle?
Then, a giant SUV did the same thing. There wasn't enough room for the car, what made this guy think his massive vehicle would fit there and be safe?
He too, got right up close to them and hit his brakes. He saw me raise my hand in the customary, "what's this dude doing?" motion and I saw his face in his side mirror as he laughed.
I'm sure getting to the Rider game is important to you, but is it more important than the lives of those two bikers?
Driving on Highway 35 is a bumpy ride most of the way from Weyburn to Francis, factoring in the rainy periods at the time, these bikes need to swerve, down-shift and brake to do what they can to be safe, motorists need to be aware of this.
Running over a pothole for those of us in cars and trucks, means we get jarred a bit and at the very worst, screws up our alignment. For a biker though, missing a pothole could literally mean the difference between life and death.
Just as you would watch for neighbourhood children, make a mental note that there are bikers out there and they can only do so much to protect themselves on the road. Help them by specifically looking out for them.
Let 'em enjoy the freedom. Let 'em enjoy the ride. Let's keep our riders safe. They are our friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers. Share the road, and please, drive safely.
© Copyright Weyburn This Week 2014