It is a dangerous situation out there. Motorcycle season is here and the town is buzzing with bikes. People are driving, texting and watching DVDs going down the road. The kids are screaming and someone is on their cell phone while driv-ing. It is bumper to bumper traffic around the mall area. It seems that automobil-ist are doing everything but looking out for a motorcyclist.
The other day I was out riding and decided to go to the mall. I was quickly reminded of how dangerous heavy traffic is. I had to make another stop at one of the stores and realized how significantly small and vulnerable I was as I watched cars darting back and forth with no mind to the rules.
Shopping areas and parking lots are always an “approach-with-caution” area for me and you really have to have your mind on your riding skills. In a forest of thick cars, motorist cannot see you cutting through the parking lot. You can’t see them either!
Bikes are designed to be seen from the front and back with bright lights. But from the sides your signature is very deceiving. Motorcycles are low profile and therefore hard to see when mixed with other cars. There is a lot of stop and go traffic. This means people are pulling up fast and stopping short. Fifty-five percent of all motorcycle fatalities involve a collision between the motorcyclist and another vehicle.
Intersections are the most likely place for motorcycle crashes with other vehi-cles. A motorcycle is more likely to be involved in a crash going straight while the driver of the other vehicle is making a left turn in the path of the on-coming mo-torcyclist. It is tempting to cut across a parking lot, zip down the side of a curve or slip between traffic but you really open yourself up to a dangerous situation.
As I approached the traffic it was getting harder and harder to anticipate what the other drivers were going to do. This pleasant drive suddenly seemed a lot less pleasant.
When traffic is heavy it seems that the traffic itself incorporates its own behavior. If one person becomes aggressive others do as well. If you ever find yourself in a situation where it appears that the ride is not worth the risk then just get out of there. No ride is worth getting hurt. Because in the end when it’s car vs motorcycle, the car is always going to win.
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