Friday, November 05, 2004

To My Dear Car Driving Brethren,

To My Dear Car Driving Brethren,
Seven years ago I ridded myself of the tin top and became a motorcyclist. On occasions when Her Kia-Rio-ness allows me to drive Her Precious, I am struck by what a disconnected environment a car really is: air con, radio, mobile phone et al. to fiddle with or cause distraction.
I'm not without sympathy for you when you aren't at your absolute best on the road because I know you are not setting out to kill me, but folks—it sure can look that way.
Rather than road rage you, kick your doors or frighten you as some of my leather-clad brothers and sisters are wont to do, I will instead take this special time to offer you some handy DIY hints:
Don't creep.
When you are turning out of a side street, whether left or right, don't creep out as I ride towards you. It makes me sweat blood. Blood I'll need if you do pull out. You might have seen me, but creeping sure makes it look like you haven't.
Use your indicators.
My late father was guilty of selective indicator use. It was a value judgement he made. If he thought no one was around he'd "do a drift". He's not here for me to yell at, so you, gentle reader, must cop this: I AM AROUND, AND LANE DRIFTS ARE SCARY AND DANGEROUS! In return, I will position myself in your mirrors as best I can. I know we motorcyclists have a knack for getting in your blind spot. Sorry 'bout that.
I need my own lane.
I'm a caring, sharing kinda guy, but when it comes to my lane, I demand all of it. I need to move left and right to get in other drivers' mirrors, avoid cavernous potholes, oil and gravel etc., so I don't appreciate it when you pop two wheels (or more) into my lane. And that also applies when you want to go around a parked car. You can't just indicate and pull into my lane. It upsets and saddens me. A lot.
Don't turn in front of me.
One problem too many people have (and pedestrians—I am including you in this) is judging the distance and speed of an oncoming motorbike. This is a daily source of worry for motorcyclists and represents a high proportion of overall motorcycle/car "get togethers". I hate approaching an intersection when I am on my own and cars are looking to turn right in front of me. Once again—no creeping as I approach. Give me eye contact, as I need to stare into your soul to see if you are all set to launch me over your bonnet. DON'T stare at my headlight to help you judge my speed. It's an established fact that it can hypnotize you into thinking you can make it when you can't. And when the lights go red and you are back in the queue, don't try to sneak through on the red. In my experience, you are too focused on "going the sneak", and as a result you might find me face first through your windscreen, where I'll make an appalling mess of your upholstery.
Let me split at the lights.
Yes, I know it is annoying when I sneak through the gap between cars at red lights and then go all the way to pole position. As I risk my life with every journey, the least you can do is make room for me to get to the front at the lights. I need to get away first. It's important. In return, I won't lane split once we are in motion, won't take off your mirrors, and I certainly won't split at 150km/h on the freeway just to freak you out.
Never, ever talk on your mobile.
This is the only time you will boil my blood. When I am doing my daily commute, the person driving for 5 kms with a flashing indicator, lane drifting, and generally making a nuisance of themselves is all too often on their mobile phone. If I catch up to you when you do this, words will be exchanged. Harsh words. Perhaps the odd expletive. You will not have an excuse. And no, the hands-free unit just makes it look like you are not on the phone, but your mind is NOT on the job. Pull over and talk to your caller and you won't have to talk to me.
Don't drive a four-wheel drive.
Nothing to add there. Just don't. Ever.
Get a bike yourself.
If you really want to improve your driving, ride a bike of any description. It will do you good to Get The Fear. Might stop you inadvertently dishing it out. As an added bonus, you will join a world where rising fuel prices are no big deal and tolls are a bother that other people pay on your behalf.
Til next we meet on them there roads, take care.
It's rather important to me.
Tom Reynolds

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posted by thr at 6:00 pm


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