Thursday, November 09, 2006

Familiarity breeds....complacency?

I know I was supposed to put the conclusion to "Passion" in here. This just seemed too important to pass up. So I promise not to leave you hanging too long for part 2. Just let these couple of items give you some food for contemplation over the weekend.

Due to my involvement in motorcycle safety I have a lot of information forwarded to me. One of the things I've been seeing is a number of public service announcements from the U.K. dealing with motorcycles. Most are aimed at making motorists more aware of riders. This one is aimed squarely at us.

Commuters mostly ride the same routes every day. We see the same people, cars, bikes, and other things. Haven't you found it's so easy to see and yet not really "see"? Have you ever heard someone say they've ridden the same road so much they could do it blindfolded? In a figurative sense that happens more than we like to admit. Here's a link to the latest PSA I came across. The video is fairly short so it should load quickly. It has sound so listen as well as watch. It's not full of blood and guts but it can make you squirm a little to watch.

My purpose in sharing it is to remind all riders, and commuters most of all, to always stay on high alert no matter how "routine" the ride seems. It's literally the little things we miss or take for granted that can kill or mangle us.

On a lighter note, check out this link to a blog. It's for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. They have officers on Hyabusa's!

Take care. Ride safe and arrive alive. Have a super Veteran's Day weekend. Katie and I are going to our parade tomorrow. I'm going to spend some time living in old memories.

Miles and smiles,


gary said...

Happy Vet's Day, bro. Those were some interesting links. It seems the Brits communicate better than American media on these issues.

Cops on `busas? Scary! Talk about having a ball at taxpayer expense. But if it really does make the roads safer, more power to them. (pun fully intended)

Ride well,

Steve Williams said...

dan: I saw the British awareness commercial a few days ago and I posted about it in the Modern Vespa forum. Here were my reactions:

This a a strong reminder for me. I tell myself that since I don't trust any of the others on the road that I'll see things coming. As I think about this I realize that there are lots of potential situations like this everyday.

Riding home from work last night I realized that 40 MPH was too fast in the dark with wet roads and lots of cars. My wet face shield and the glare from car headlights made it difficult to see the road surface clear enough at that speed. I thought about suddenly seeing a big branch, box, or other hazard on the road and realized I would be in trouble. So I slowed to 30 so I would be riding within my sight space.

And then the traffic starts to pile up behind. So I pull over and ride after they pass.

And there are many stories like this where despite my intentions I am trusting others to some degree and luck that I won't be in the wrong place at the wrong time and have a crash.

It's the same with a car the only difference is I am surrounded by a protective steel cage.

For many non-riders the risk on two-wheels seems unacceptable and downright crazy. When I watch these sorts of videos I wonder myself sometimes.....

High alert is definitely the goal but I know I waver at times.

Looking at the Hyabusa police bikes and the modernistic black looks like some evil police state from a science fiction movie. I just can't help think that image hurts the police in the long run. I prefer the more traditional look. Better yet I prefer having no reason to interact at all. *grin*

irondad said...

Same back to you on Vet's Day. Bill is a friend who came out of the jungle with me. I've got some fine whiskey and we're going to toss a few back tonight for those who didn't. No bikes involved.

I'm reserving judgement on how well the cops will actually manage the 'busas. From what I've seen out here, they could find themselves over their heads really quickly. No insult intended. I've just done a lot of training and I see what I see.

I can't reinforce enough how smart you are to ride your own ride.

As to the image of the cops on the 'busas, you may be right. I saw a movie a long time ago called Condor Man. There was an elite group of hired killers who drove black Porches and had tinted face shields on their helmets.

Image is why most cops always had three quarter face helmets. The public was deemed as needing to see the face of Officer Friendly. Full face helmets could make the cops look like Darth Vader's Storm Troopers. Modular helmets are great. Protection and the image are successfully blended.