Spotting Riding Perils

This week, I personally know a person who got into an accident while on his motorcycle which I learned all about it after I have arrived at work–on my motorcycle. My friend survived the supposedly fatal crash but it’s one more person added to the statistic of motorcycle-related accident victims, whether his own fault or not. Now anti-motorcycle advocates are out once again with their see-I-told-yous.

These days proponents of motorcycles seem to be losing their case as the incidents involving two-wheeled vehicles share the headlines with reports of employees being laid off. Incidentally, these two headline makers are expected to thrive more while the financial crisis continues like an incurable itch. Nowadays, a lot of people are trying to save and one of the ways is by saving on gas. Of course, when gas gets mentioned, the thought of having a motorcycle, specifically what others call mopeds, scooters or underbones enters the picture. These crotch rockets are gas misers and it’s no wonder almost everyone wants one. And that’s because almost everyone can actually afford one.

This is when motorcycle safety advocates begin to have nightmares about this uncontrollable and unregulated scenario. There are just so much eager and capable buyers (and sellers) that the aspect of safety is often forgotten. Anyone with a cash or downpayment, normally just around Php3,000 (approx. $60), gets to go home with a decent motorcycle. That’s with or without a “valid” license, training, or worse, even without the common sense.

Now other motorcycle riders cry foul about all the stereotyping. Some instinctively point their fingers to the four-wheeled vehicle drivers for causing all the troubles. Others blame poor road lighting, open manholes, wayward pedestrians, and I’ve even read complaints about dog poops. All fingers are pointing to other factors but their own. Denial is the reason live motorcycle crash test dummies continue to exist.

Failing to recognize the risk is often what leads to unnecessary crashes. I remember from one defensive driving seminar I’ve attended the four guides of a responsible driver:

  1. Identify and anticipate the risk or danger.
  2. Act accordingly. Example, adjust following distance depending on the driving condition.
  3. Control whatever you can as you can’t technically influence others. (This is what I often forget. Hehehe.)
  4. Consider a plan B if everything else goes wrong.

Unfortunately, with the fact that not everyone seems to take time to even read about driving safety stuffs anymore is what makes the road a far less safe place to ride. It’s already a given that riding makes one vulnerable to elements like reckless cage (a term used by riders to distinguish a car) drivers. So I went further to identifying every risk that I possibly can. After more than six months of riding my motorcycle, I have compiled several of these hazards.

Stay away from riders without the basic gear or clothing. Riders are sitting open to almost everything hazardous and the least one can do to protect himself is to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants (jeans if possible), and a closed-toe footwear. Decent helmet, included. If you spot one without these bare minimums means just one thing: he doesn’t care about himself and most likely he doesn’t care about you. So stay clear.

Stay away from those with confused persona. These people are easy to spot. They have rosaries and crucifixes wrapped around their motorcycles (mounted on the dash if in cars) but when you see them, they are either poorly clothed (at times even lewd) or drives like someone who has just escaped from a straight jacket.

Stay away from cars with Japanese or Chinese stickers or decals. Some of these have even extra large ones that almost cover the whole rear window. These stickers scream anything but “I understand what my stickers say.” If these people don’t even know what the stickers mean, most likely they don’t even understand what an amber light is for.

Stay away from skinheads who for a moment are seen driving slowly over an ear-shattering base music. These people (often in their teens) are beat- driven so expect them to speed up anytime a Snoop Dogg rhythm picks up.

Needless to say, also stay away from pony-tailed or dreadlocked drivers especially if the car’s interior appears foggy despite the untinted windows.

Stay away from truck drivers especially those concentrating on picking their noses. I’m thinking that this is as distracting (or even more) as using a cellphone while driving.

Stay away from motorcycle-riding policemen without helmets. Period.

Lastly, stay away from someone who is absent-mindedly composing a blog while riding a motorcycle. He’s easy to spot. He made this blog. Ti abi.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

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Author: crisn

I'm Cris Nacionales from the Philippines.

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