Though we haven't gotten a chance to ride more than a few times this Summer, riding on the rocket/motorcycle/bike (whatever I happen to call it) is our favorite activity to do together. It's definitely a thrill to ride out in the open like that. The wind on your face, being able to see absolutely everything, it's all really beautiful and relaxing. It takes a whole new level of trust to hop on the back of a bike and know that you'll still be alive to get back off of it. It was something that initially I was apprehensive about. When M bought the bike (I was at orientation) I was not the biggest fan. I quickly got over that and
demanded asked for a ride. M wasn't sure he trusted his driving skills enough to let me yet. He did though and I've been hooked ever since!
Lately there have been a lot of motorcycle accidents and it makes me hesitate a little when I take my seat on the back of that bike. Honestly, wearing a helmet is a hassle. It usually makes your neck hurt and don't even get me started on helmet hair. I'm horrible but a lot of times I skip wearing it. A friend just wiped out on his bike and has some nasty road rash all over his body. A girl my age just died recently near here after a drunk driver struck the motorcycle her and her boyfriend were riding. Though I know it's dangerous, sometimes I forget how easily we could get hurt! I definitely think twice before leaving without a helmet now. We choose to get on the bike and expose ourselves to the elements. There are only so many ways you can protect yourself (helmets, gloves, protective shoes and clothes) from the danger. We do not choose to be exposed to the stupidity of some people who don't respect those who ride motorcycles.
Although we don't have anything planned for the 4th, I don't doubt that we'll take a ride or two over the long weekend. Although having respect for motorcycles deserves constant attention, I really want to stress a few things over this holiday weekend.
1. Space - Please, please, please if you approach a motorcycle, give them plenty of space. It's not like a car where if you get too close and you rear-end them, there will be minimal damage. If you rear-end a motorcycle, the passengers will most likely lose their lives.
2. Let them go by - Do not EVER pull out in front of a motorcycle. Being cut off while riding on a motorcycle is by far the scariest thing I've ever witnessed. It's so easy to lose your balance on a bike and if the motorcycle has to swerve to avoid hitting you, they will probably lay it down.
3. Don't show off - I know especially riding a rocket, there is a tendency for cars to show off by passing you or trying to race you in a risky spot. We're not trying to show off for you, we're just trying to enjoy a ride. Don't put us in a dangerous situation just so you can try to prove how manly your car or truck is.
Chances are the driver of the bike might try to show off too and that's just stupid!
4. Watch for lights - the lights on a motorcyle are usually pretty small. This makes them really hard to see, especially at night when you have the oncoming cars blinding you. The blinkers on most bikes are extremely tiny and they blink really fast. You have to be very aware of what the motorcycle is doing so you can react quickly. Motorcycles can stop much faster than cars which is good when trying to avoid hitting something but very bad if the car behind you isn't paying attention.
5. Brake cautiously - if you see that a motorcycle is behind you, brake very cautiously. If you slam on your brakes, there is a very good chance that the bike could slam into the back of your car. I don't even want to picture what could result from that.
It can be easy to forget that driving near a motorcycle is a much more dangerous situation than driving near any other vehicle. The thing I can't stress enough is RESPECT. You don't want to be that person who causes a motorcycle to get into an accident. Even if they're wearing a helmet (which is not required by law in a lot of states) it is so easy to have a fatality.
Just remember, if your family or friends were the ones riding, wouldn't you want others to respect them?
Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend, y'all!
P.S. Don't be stupid and drive after you've been drinking! Set up a DD or don't drink people, use some common sense!