Thoughts on Motorcycling

Importance of Environmental Awareness for Motorcycle Riders

This video shows two very close calls on the part of the motorcyclist. Both instances occur in real-time during this 55 second video. Was it luck, training, environmental awareness or something else that saved the rider’s hide?

The video illustrates the dangers that motorcyclists face on the road. We are completely vulnerable and virtually invisible. Environmental awareness is a concept with which motorcyclists should all become aware. As riders we are 100% vulnerable and virtually invisible. That is why we must know what is going on in all directions around us. Early in the video a truck crosses over the center line. The rider, who is apparently looking well down the road, maneuvers to the right to avoid this poor driver behind the wheel of a 5,000-pound weapon. Then shortly later something has traffic stopped ahead of the rider. Many people make the mistake of looking at what is causing the issue. As much as we should know what’s ahead, the real risk is what is coming from behind at this point. To fully illustrate that point, an inattentive driver misses the motorcyclist who is pulled over on the right shoulder and slams into the car ahead of him.

The more that I wrapped my brain around the situation in this video, the more it got me thinking. Motorcyclists are like the covert-operatives of the motorized world. We need to notice little things in a busy environment. Assess each thing for the risk that it presents. Make on-the-fly decisions to take immediate, life-saving action in a split second. How many people do you know who just don’t belong in that type of situation? Those are the people that don’t belong on a motorcycle and likely don’t belong behind the wheel of that 5000-pound weapon.

Personally, I don’t care for the risk that these situations bring to motorcyclists. I do fully enjoy the constant brain exercises that comes with situational and environmental awareness. Videos such as the one above are sensational. They also are excellent learning tools that we can assess from all angles to improve our motorcycle operation and mental skills to keep us alive on the street.

Motorcyclists can take many steps to increase their conspicuity (our ability to stand out in traffic). Included below is a story of a near hit that I was involved in and steps that I’ve taken to be more visible and aware in traffic.

 

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