Motorcyclist Asks About Drivers
This letter writer, a motorcyclist, asks the eternal question about drivers, to which the eternal answer is, "You guys are just as bad." But give him a chance to make his point.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
"I would like to know why drivers do the things they do.
"Maybe it would make me more tolerant and thus less stressed with my time on the road. Let me begin by saying I am a motorcyclist and have taken various safety courses so that when it comes down to a standoff with a car, I am going to back off, as will any trained motorcyclist. But why do cars break into a group of motorcyclists in which it should be obvious are trying to keep together?
"I don't even understand it when they are in the left lane and want to exit on the right. Didn't they know this before they tried to pass all the motorcycles? We are law abiding citizens and so obey the traffic laws.
"Because of this, at an intersection we don't try to prevent a car from turning onto the same road on which we are traveling. As a result, this will put a car into the middle of our group. Can't a car when it comes up to an intersection recognize that there is a group of motorcyclists and let them continue in a group? This has led me to figure that most drivers are totally ignorant of what is happening on the road around them. Is this the way it really is?"
I don't believe in class warfare: dividing travelers into sides, as in drivers vs. bikers, or pedestrians vs. motorists. (Though it's always a great way to generate new letters for my column.)
Can there be a good reason a driver would break into a group of motorcyclists? I can't think of one. But if it happens by accident or intent, motorcyclists should be prepared to deal with it.
Many motorcyclists I talk with are proud of their safety training. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers this good advice about riding in groups:
-- Keep the group to a manageable size, ideally five to seven riders. If necessary, break the group into sub-groups.
-- Avoid side-by-side formations, which reduce the safety cushion between riders.
-- If separated from the group, don't panic. Before starting, have an agreed-upon plan to regroup.
For drivers, the foundation has this safety advice:
-- Because there are a lot more cars and trucks on the road than motorcycles, some drivers have trouble recognizing a motorcycle. (They may even be looking at it, but it doesn't register with them as another vehicle. Bicyclists have the same experience with some car drivers.)
-- Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is, or it may disappear into a vehicle's blindspot.
-- Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle.
Posted by: DrB | October 21, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: JkR | October 21, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: This letter makes me feel like Mr Magoo | October 21, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Matt | October 21, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Chasmosaur | October 21, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Doppler | October 21, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Woodley Park | October 21, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Emily | October 21, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dkf747 | October 21, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Laura | October 21, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Laura (a different one) | October 21, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.