There are times when I really do wish I were an invisible rider: particularly during those instants of startled realization that my speedometer is indicating the wrong enjoyment factor at the wrong time – at least relative to some long-gone road engineer or lawmaker who determined the speed limit.
However, regardless of how invisible we bikers wish we may be, or how invisible drivers who do bad things to motorcyclists SAY we are, the fact is, we, as riders, are only relatively invisible.
So, you and I may occasionally collect a local or state citation for not being invisible enough. And, at some point, a driver will cut you and I off, because we are perfectly invisible.
Such is part of the risk of being a motorcyclist.
Hence, bikers are a unique breed on the roadways of our world. There is tremendous diversity among the motorcycle characters I have met on both sides of the Atlantic over the decades. But if I were pressed to determine some point of commonality among them all, I would say that most riders enjoy going their own way.
Regardless of ample diversity and independent mindedness, all of us riders DO need to confront the inherent risks of motorcycle enjoyment.
Here in the Unites States, the leading types of motorcycle accidents are twofold:
1. Motorists violating a motorcyclist’s right-of-way and turning across the biker’s path
2. Motorcyclists, without any help from anyone else, running wide through turns and crashing
The solution to point #1 requires CONSTANT alertness to minimize the unfriendly consequences of distracted drivers. A simple way to increase rider road defense is a state of mind: simply ASSUME YOU ARE INVISIBLE!
Operating a bike while assuming invisibility, per force, necessitates a higher awareness of what every other motorist in the vicinity is doing. Attendant with that is an ever-present readiness to get OUT OF THE WAY as soon as possible. Stated differently, complacently riding our motorbikes with the same mind set as driving our cars, SUV’s or trucks, ain’t gonna prove helpful at certain times, regardless of our legally granted right of way. The result of unfriendly meetings between motorcyclists and other vehicles is never good for the rider.
Point #2 is eye-opening. A large chunk of motorcycle accidents are 100% rider error. What’s the fix? IMPROVING RIDER SKILLS. (Note: some of the errors are related to alcohol consumption, which is another story). So, what about improving one’s rider skills?
The evolution of becoming a more professional motorcyclist requires some time. Study, training and gaining more experience, are all workable ways to improve our riding and safety proficiency.
Further, underlying points #1 and #2 is the assumption of another viewpoint: An allowance that we CAN improve our skills. (It’s just a heck of a lot harder for a “Know it all” to become a better rider).
So, do YOU have the viewpoint that you can become an even BETTER rider?
If you can nod your head affirmatively, you already know you’re on your way to longer-term motorcycle riding enjoyment. (Heck, if you are bothering to read this at all, you are automatically among the affirmative head nodders).
So, what’s the take-away point here?
RIDE AS IF YOU ARE INVISIBLE.
The awareness necessitated by assuming invisibility as a rider may very well be what rescues you from some unwanted encounter with a motorist who is gonna end up saying you ARE invisible, anyway.
Beat him to the punch and act the part of an invisible, professional rider to avoid any messy trouble.
Ride safely and invisibly!