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Old 11-13-2017, 09:59 PM   #1
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Since the forum traffic is so light...

I think I posted this a few years ago, but it's worth re-posting. It's an original of mine; feel free to share it as you see fit, but please give credit to me as author...

How to relate to motorcyclists on the road…a cager’s* guide:

When you see us moving past you quickly:

Don't take offense or think we're trying to "show off". Often, we're trying to get out of your blind spot or taking ourselves out of a potential dangerous situation that has evolved around us. We prefer to take advantage of our improved vision ahead of us, and try to keep our “danger zone” there. Simply maintain your current speed and lane position, and WE will get around you with no fuss at all; you won’t have to actively DO anything. Oh, and that control stalk on the left of the steering column – it activates your directional signals; PLEASE USE THEM.

Accelerating away from you does not mean we want to race, but that we're giving ourselves the space we need at the moment. What motorcycles give up in protection, we make up for in performance and vision (as in: better situational awareness – we don’t have the distractions most car drivers are subjected to). You have three or four thousand pounds of steel, plastic and rubber surrounding you; motorcyclists have a better (forward) field of vision, and superior acceleration, braking, and maneuverability. If your car hits something, cars have crumple zones, seatbelts and airbags; motorcyclists tend to become human missiles upon impact. When you hear about a traffic fatality involving a car, the term “ejected from vehicle” is often cited as the cause of the fatality; In the case of a motorcycle the rider is almost always “ejected” from the bike, and the results can be just as deadly. Above any other fear we may have, contact with another vehicle is first and foremost (Colliding with stationary objects like guard rails, light posts, and hydrants are a distant second). Plain and simple: 4,000 pound car vs. 500 pound bike; do the math. And keep this in mind – a bike going slower than surrounding traffic is at much greater risk of not seeing danger approaching from the rear.

When you hear our horn or exhaust pipes:

Don't take offense or think we're trying to aggravate you. If we honk more than you think is needed, it’s because most bike horns are pathetically inadequate, and difficult to hear over ambient road sounds (especially if your stereo is blasting, or the kids are watching a video, or yelling in the back seat). We really, REALLY need for you to be aware of us, so we’re not shy about using any means available.
All we're doing is letting you know where we are in relation to you on the road, and we're more than likely aware of (and concerned by) your inattentiveness to us if you're talking on a cell phone, eating, applying makeup, reading or otherwise involved in some distracting activity. We know your attention may be more easily drawn by that 18-wheeler merging on your right, but it's important to us, and you, that you know we're there. In our experience, we’ve found that motorcycles are effectively invisible to most drivers, even in the best of conditions. In almost every case of car-bike accident, the driver of the car will say the same thing; “I didn’t see him”.

When you see us in our unusual clothing:

Don't become fearful of us or think us weird (well, ok; any weirder than anyone else). Our leather jackets, chaps, gloves and boots are barriers to prevent our losing massive amounts of flesh should something cause us to go down...nothing more, nothing less. We prefer to sweat rather than bleed. Try to imagine being dragged along the pavement by 500 lbs of motorcycle, at 70 miles per hour (somewhat like a giant horrific cheese grater), and you begin to understand the need for our protective clothing. Helmets and face shields are not worn to make us look intimidating; the helmet serves to protect our noggins from being crushed like an eggshell; the shields keep things from blinding us, or striking our faces with such force that we’d lose control. You know; things like bugs, gravel, or that still-smoldering cigarette butt someone just flicked out their window. If the face shield is darkly tinted, it’s because bikes don’t come equipped with amenities like sun visors and tinted glass. If our clothes (or bikes) are outrageously colorful, it’s to increase our visibility to other drivers. Safety gear is paramount to our riding. When professional motorcycle racers wreck at triple digit speeds, and escape (relatively) uninjured, it’s because of the excellent protection afforded them by their gear. And don’t forget that “ejected” thing, mentioned above. The gear is expensive, hot, and in many cases, uncomfortable - but believe it; road rash is one of our least favorite things in the world.

When you see us in a restaurant:

You don't have to shield your child or feel intimidated. We have family, spouses, children and loved ones too, just like you. We smile; we laugh and enjoy the moments we have. We are approachable, and would befriend you, given the opportunity. And if you should happen to ask about our machines, be prepared for a lengthy discourse... we're rather fond of our mechanical mounts, and any excuse to show them off will be leapt upon.

When you see us gathered in a parking lot:

Don't convince yourself that we're there with sinister or unlawful intent. More than likely, we just finished a long ride and are taking a break (a hundred miles on a motorcycle is a bit more physically taxing than the same ride in a car). We may be meeting up with other riders for a charity run for a children's hospital, or some other worthy cause. We may just be admiring one another's bikes, sharing our pride with other enthusiasts, just as you might do with your personal vehicle. And we’re certainly not immune from the need for bathroom breaks. If you ask about our bikes, we’ll be more than glad to tell you all about them (we have a personal attachment to our rides, and tend to take more than a little pride them). One note though – please don’t let your kids near the bikes without our supervision; there are parts that are extremely hot, sharp or just plain dirty. Inquisitive young fingers always seem to find those parts, and nobody wants that.

When you see aggressively riding bikers:

Don't put us all in the same stereotypical category as those whose behavior and actions would cause you to react in disgust and intolerance. Many of us do not agree with this style of riding either, and we know and understand that human nature tends to blend us all together as the "same group". Most of us don't want that title...and don't deserve it. Base your opinions on the individual rider, not the style of bike he rides. There are plenty of unsafe drivers on four wheels too.

When you see a group of bikes on the roadways:

Give us the courtesy of sharing the road with you.
Please don't "move in" between several bikes riding in formation. This gets us very excited and nervous, especially when it's done with no due regard for our safety. It’s no easy task riding in a formation just a few feet apart at speed; please don’t add to the difficulty (and risk) by crowding us.
Provide us with your awareness of the fact that we are much more vulnerable than you. We don't want to challenge you, for all of us are wise enough to know...we'd lose that battle.

When you are turning left or entering a roadway/highway:

Look, then look again...and then one more time. For we can be easily hidden, and appear to be invisible by such things as a telephone pole, another vehicle, bright lights or the glare of the sun...or possibly, the beads hanging from your rearview mirror, among numerous other items that are displayed there. Your cell phone (and the hand holding it to your ear) creates a blind spot that can hide several bikes. If you see us flashing our lights at you or blowing our horn, we're (often desparately) trying to ensure that you will see us before tragedy changes both our lives. Left-turning cars from the opposing direction of traffic are the number one cause of motorcycle accidents (and fatalities), by a wide margin. That’s why so many of us will flash our high-beams as we approach an intersection at which there are cars stopped in the opposing turn lane. Please LOOK for motorcycles, actively.

When you are behind us:

Please give us the room we need and don't tailgate us. If you hit us, we're going down...HARD! And the odds are, we’ll end up underneath your multi-ton vehicle. We don't want to play games with you, we just want to enjoy the ride and the fresh air, and experience that which many of you have never experienced. If we accelerate away from you, don't interpret this action as an invitation to drag race you. We're only trying to remove ourselves from a dangerous situation, if you insist on following too closely. Depending on conditions, virtually any bike can stop in a fraction of the distance of most cars. That means should we stop suddenly, the odds are good that you’ll run over us, literally. In less-than-ideal conditions (like rain or gravel), a panic stop that would cause a car or truck to skid will cause a bike to go down. Please don’t crowd bikes.

When, and if, you experience road rage:

Don't take it out on us just because we're smaller than you and more vulnerable. Think about what you're doing and the end result that may become a reality. The consequences of your actions and choices could be very detrimental to our well being, our families, our children and our loved ones.
Yes, there are those that can tend to piss you off, however, rage towards them will not solve the issues. Nine out of ten bikers will do everything they can to take themselves out of that situation without causing you or them harm.

When you have an opportunity to talk to us:

You'll discover, outside any influenced or stereotypical mindset you may have, that we are just as human as you are, just with different interests and toys. Many of us would give you the shirt off our back if it would brighten your day or console you in some way. We're really no different...and most of us also drive cars, trucks and vans. So, meet us and greet us...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised that you'll be met with open arms.

Riding is what we do...Given the choice between riding (even in weather that may seem extreme to you), and being cooped up in a car, most of us will take two wheels any day. It's a part of our lives, and we'd be more than welcome to share with you what riding a bike is all about...if you'd only ask.

Thank you for your time.

* cager (kj r) N. A term used by motorcyclists and bicyclists to describe a person who drives a car or other four-wheeled vehicle. Similarly, cars themselves are described as "cages". The term is derived from the common feeling among motorcyclists that driving or riding in a car feels like being trapped in a cage, as well as alluding to the safety cages in modern cars, and to a certain extent the locked-in mindset of "cagers" who refuse to acknowledge the practicality of other modes of transport.
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:23 PM   #2
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Re: Since the forum traffic is so light...

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