When bad things happen to bad drivers.
I'm taking a little side trip today. It wasn't on the regular schedule. Of course, as riders we've never taken a side road just to see where it goes have we? There's no picture as we aren't taking the scenic route. This particular sojourn was instigated by a comment a reader made a few posts back. I like it when people have enough fortitude to offer honest feedback. Even if I'm the one in the crosshairs. More on the comment in just a bit.
The main purpose of this blog is to encourage folks to view two wheels as a viable form of transportation. The word "transportation" connotes utility. One of the most utilitarian things we do is commute to work. In other words, I'm trying to encourage more people to use their bike to ride to work. I distinctly remember writing that we weren't taking the scenic route. This paragraph sort of seems like the long way 'round, doesn't it?
My goal is to pass along tips and strategies for taking care of ourselves out there. Being a professional trainer I can't seem to get out of that mode. If I find some new item or way of doing things that will help a commuter I'll pass it along. The comments section of blogs are great venues for interaction between readers. I'm sort of disappointed that more don't take advantage of it. On the other hand, not everyone's comfortable engaging. Some like to sit back and quietly take away whatever they find of value. I understand.
Besides their value in commuting, bikes are just plain fun. There's enjoyment and personal growth to be experienced on every ride. I've been trying to share that side of riding, as well. It's been great fun to keep this blog. My own personal horizons have been expanded. I've gotten to know some great personalities in this blog community. Something that would never had happened if it hadn't been for the internet. This blog has also served as a medium to just plain express myself once in a while. That process of self-expression may cause offense to various readers now and then.
While I never set out to purposely offend anyone, I'm not afraid to be controversial. I've even been known to stir the pot once in a while just to see what comes to the top. Conflict in the proper context can create growth. As far as I know, I don't have it in for any particular group. I've always prided myself on being an equal opportunity offender.
Speaking of offending, time to come back to the comment. I have written disparaging things about SUV drivers. I also alluded to the fact that I liked to see bad things happen to them. A reader posted a comment wherein they took exception to my statements. He perceived my writings to be a negative blanket stereotype. It was pointed out that there are good and bad SUV drivers. Some who ride motorcycles also own SUV's. It would be presumed that these were being operated in a sane manner. The comment also stated that not all motorcyclists can be presumed to be good riders. For example, those who buy expensive bikes with no idea on how to ride well.
Feedback accepted and noted. I do not subscribe to all-encompassing stereotypes, good or bad. I can see where I gave that impression. More detail should have been provided for clarity. Let the "Court of Fairness" decree that stereotyping shall not be used in this blog.
During my years of commuting I have observed that there does seem to be some basis for making general statements. One example is what I continually see on my ride up the freeway in the morning. The little "Rocketships" ( those who travel at 80 or 90 mph while darting in and out of traffic ) are invariably the same type of cars. Tiny cars like Geo Metros, Ford Escorts or Focus, and tuner cars like Hondas and Accuras. I seldom see any other type of vehicle involved in this behaviour.
The vehicles that I experience being cut off and tailgated by are primarily SUV's. Even more specifically, it has been drivers of Fords. When the roads are flooded, snowy, or iced up, the vehicles I see being most aggressively ( as in without regard for the conditions ) are the four wheel drive SUV's. That's not stereotyping. It is based upon my own actual observations.
As the comment stated, negative stereotypes are bad news. It makes no difference if we're talking about SUV's or motorcycles. I agree to a point. There is one huge difference. It's this difference that's the whole point of my statements. My point has to do with consequences.
An SUV driver rarely suffers immediate consequences for inappropriate actions. A bike rider surely will. I'm often seeing an SUV driver signal for one flash and then try to crowd me out. It's like they believe the turn signal light activates some sort of force field that clears the way for them. I'm sure they figure that I'm not going to be able to do anything about it anyway. After all, who's got the biggest vehicle? Whether you call it incompetence or rudeness, they get away with it a lot. Guess what happens to a person on a motorcycle, on the other hand? Riders don't get away with bad judgement very often.
You see the difference?
Perhaps I'm more sensitized to it. In the real world people don't really pay the immediate price for their bad actions. This is as close to a political statement as I'll ever come to here. Just take a look at the Justice System. Enough said. As a former cop, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to arrest someone for GTA ( grand auto theft ) at 2 AM, book them, then arrest the same person for the same thing at 7 AM. It's the same feeling when I continually have to give way for rude and/or incompetent drivers. They do me wrong and continue on their merry way. No matter what they're driving.
In my world SUV's are the major offenders. Not the only ones, granted. When I see or hear something where a bad driver suffers a direct consequence of their stupid or overly aggessive behaviour I am going to rejoice. There's too little of it to waste. I don't see my attitude changing anytime soon. In the interest of clarity and justice, though, I will rephrase my comment.
I love it when bad things happen to bad drivers! ( whatever they drive )
Miles and smiles,