Since I was little I have truly loved riding on motorcycles: from the first trail bike ride upstate New York to my father’s Honda 360 & Goldwing in the 70’s & 80’s to the metric bikes my husband and I have ridden in the last few years. (Not much of a Harley girl as they vibrate too much for my comfort – to each their own please.)
My father had to lay his Goldwing down, thankfully he was wearing leather gear and a helmet. We tend to wear ballistic gear with full-face helmets with blue tooth communicators. We also use Gerbing warming gear to extend the riding season and allow us to ride over the Cascade Mountains to visit family even during chilly weather. We are dedicated to safety and careful; this is for enjoyment, not a death wish. Obviously, not everyone rides like we do.
But a funny thing happened to me a few weeks ago that made me realize how easy it is for drivers to miss seeing a motorcycle. My husband rode the motorcycle home and I followed in the pick-up truck. About half an hour from home it rained hard. As we came around a curve driving into the evening light still peering beneath the clouds he and the bike disappeared from my view due to the glare of the brightly flashing road and the ambient light! It was but a few seconds, but the what-ifs in my mind instantly made me slow down.
So, what if you are driving behind a motorcycle, or coming to an intersection, with your mind elsewhere – would you be too blinded to acknowledge the motorcycle? Statistically, bikers are at fault for most motorcycle accidents, but that still leaves the percentage of wrecks where another driver is responsible. You may see bumper stickers or signs that ‘loud pipes save lives’, but with head phones in or the radio cranked, the cycle noise is cancelled out.
Stopping to fuel the Yamaha after a family visit, we met a couple from Brazil traveling back from Alaska on their BMW. Dressed much like us, riding defensively and enjoying the sights, we rode the same stretch of I-90 for about fifteen miles before we went our respective ways. They wound along through the Yakima River Canyon from Ellensburg, WA to Yakima, WA while we continued home. On a bike we are a part of the scenery, our senses remind us that we are out in the elements instead of cocooned inside of a sedan or truck. Keep it safe, for everyone’s sake.