Having said all of that, there are a few inherent problems (or at least ‘challenges’) with pursuing motorist awareness the main effort to increase motorcycle safety.
- I do not know of any data to suggest that billboards, pumptoppers, TV spots, radio commercials, etc. promoting awareness of motorcycles actually results in fewer crashes.
- From a rider’s perspective, the behavior of the driver is one of those factors completely outside the rider’s control.
We all know there ARE skilled, attentive, and courteous drivers out there who do an outstanding job of sharing the road (I hope you are one of them!). The following is about the other drivers that we know are also out there. So, on a somewhat lighter note, here is my ‘Top 10 List’ of things I believe are more likely to happen than drivers always looking twice and seeing motorcycles:
#10. Idaho becoming a ‘Blue State’
#9. Drivers using their turn signals before making a lane change
#8. Your home renovation project being completed on time and on budget
#7. Drivers putting their phone away and not checking it until they are safely parked
#6. Gasoline prices dropping back to $2.00 per gallon
#5. Drivers coming to a full stop at stop signs
#4. The IRS contacting you to tell you they are sending you money
#3. Drivers maintaining a 3-second following distance behind you
#2. Your vision and hearing starting to improve after you turn 50
#1. The next Snake River Canyon motorcycle jump being done on a Vespa
Will STAR continue to work towards motorcycle awareness? Absolutely! However, that is not our only activity, and it certainly isn’t our main activity. Remember that you – the rider – are the one at risk; you – the rider – can’t control what other road users do.
So what CAN you do? You can control how well you look ahead for hazards; you can control how much you learn about motorcycle handling dynamics and advanced skills; you can control what protective gear you wear, you can control how often you practice your emergency skills, and you can control whether or not you ride sober and unimpaired. You can’t control what the drivers do, but you CAN control your response to what the drivers do. Learn, practice, look well ahead, gear up, and take action to avoid or minimize those potential hazards before they become an emergency.
Ride well, Ride lots, Ride safe,