Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Think I Peed My Pants a Little

For those of you that don't know, me and Mike ride a motorcycle. A rather BIG motorcycle. As a matter of fact, it's the biggest you can buy. It's a '93 Harley Ultra Glide--what we called "back in the day" a dresser or bagger.  Mike has been riding since he was a kid (most people start on dirt bikes and graduate from there). I've been riding since--well I really can't remember my first ride to be honest--my dad always had a bike so I would imagine I was pretty darned young when he started giving me rides. Needless to say, me and Mike both love to ride. We used to take A LOT of road trips when we first met (and for several years after). All in all, we'd put about 10,000 miles a year on this bike, which is pretty good when you only have four or five months total of good riding weather during the year. So I would have to say that we're both pretty experienced riders. We don't speed--just cruise.

Of course we've had some close calls--who hasn't that rides? Unfortunately there are people out there that just do not pay attention to what's going on around them. So, as a rider, you have to make sure that you're extra alert and diligent and be aware of your surroundings constantly. It just comes with riding a bike. Most people are not watching out for you so you have to watch out for yourself. We have had so many people just pull out in front of us (I remember one occasion where we had to actually pass a pickup on a two lane or we would've bitten the tailgate of his truck at 50 mph and thank the good LORD there wasn't anyone coming the opposite way), tailgate us, etc.  Now how these particular people don't see us is beyond me. As I mentioned our bike is big--bigger than most cars nowadays (it weighs 750 lbs unpacked)--and LOUD (but not in that annoying Screaming Eagle muffler way). I think it's more they just don't give a damn. These are probably the same people that pull out in front of semis.

Anyway, I've never been really "paranoid" of riding.  Until a couple of years ago. About the time that people started talking on cell phones more than watching the road. And now it's texting. These people (and you know who you are) don't watch the cars around them much less people on bikes. They're scary. They're a danger. They should have their licenses revoked. Driving is a privilege not a right and if you can't abide the rules of the road and drive safely, then you don't need to be behind the wheel of a 2,000 pound death machine. Just my opinion.

I also think that maybe they should either raise the age when a person should be able to get a license or make it mandatory that they need to go through driving school before they get a license. No experience and lack of judgement will also get someone killed. Like us yesterday. Now, as I mentioned, we have had a few close calls--but being motorcycle riders--we're always aware of our surroundings--you have to be.  Even so, there are those times when even evasive action cannot save you. I thought that's what was going to happen to us yesterday as we traveled home from a friend's cottage on the lake.

There we were, minding our own business, enjoying a leisurely ride home, when here comes two cars in the opposite direction (we were on a two-lane). The one car was trying to pass the other. Well, that was fine and not much cause for concern since they were about a mile away and the passing car had more than enough time to pass. But she didn't. By the time we realized she was neither 1) going to slow down and get back behind the car she was trying to pass, or 2) speed up to get around the car before she got to us, it was damn near too late. Mike had to get over on the burm of the road so we wouldn't get hit head on by a car doing 55 mph ( we were doing about 45 by this point since Mike had slowed down when he realized this car was not going to pass in time).  We were three vehicles wide (two going the opposite way of us) on a two-lane road. That's fine in Nascar (when all the cars are usually driving in the same direction) but NOT ok on a public road.  That was pretty much the closest we have ever come to actually being killed on the bike.  Needless to say, I have to do some laundry today since I believe we both messed our pants a little.

Mike got a pretty good look at the passing car's driver and he said she was REALLY young. Lack of experience and lack of judgment is what I chalk it up to--that almost got two motorcyclists killed.  And they say motorcycles are dangerous. It's not the motorcycles that are dangerous--it's the people in cars that pay no attention (or like this one--lack of driving experience) that are the dangerous ones. But do they say that people should stop driving cars? No--people should stop riding motorcycles instead. I think people who drive carelessly should just stop driving altogether. Save some lives.


traveler said...

Thank goodness Mike was alert and got you out of this mess. Speaking as one who has ridden for years, I can truly say that cell phone use has made it much more dangerous than ever. This applies to every vehicle on the road, not just motorcycles. Thank goodness again!

Florida House said...

I was shocked to learn driving classes no longer exist in most schools. They have no idea how to follow the rules of the road, or drive safely. On a motorcycle you are more exposed to the dangers of these unaware drivers. I do not ride a motorcycle, but have been rear ended twice by unobservant uncaring drivers. I have been push off the road by lane changers not allowing safe distances. Classes should be mandatory!

I am glad you pulled through safely!