I’m not a motorcyclist. But I do have to share the road with them. And typically, you can tell motorcyclists when they’re not on their bikes because they’ve got something like this on their vehicle:
The other day on the way back from Boulder, the perfect example of why this campaign is not only utter crap but dangerous to motorcyclists presented itself. We came back from Boulder on Colorado Route 93, a mostly two-lane highway that connects Golden to Boulder. There are a couple of actual passing zones and a couple of places with broken lines; but the broken-line areas aren’t particularly useful because there’s almost always oncoming traffic.
When we were leaving Boulder, this particular example of motorcyclist stupidity kept tailgating me. Now tailgating on a motorcycle seems particularly foolish because even around a narrow car like my 3 Series, the view ahead is seriously impaired. I was stuck behind Dudley Do-Right who would only (sometimes) go as fast as the speed limit; and – as I mentioned above – there was always oncoming traffic to keep me from going around when the lines were broken.
(If I’m honest, I’m not particularly opposed to violating the lines when the opportunity presents itself. I don’t often do this because I’ve found that I am not really in that much of a hurry. And when my wife and daughter are in the car, I’m far less willing to engage in risky behavior).
Now, my good friend the tailgater wasn’t having any of this patience nonsense. He decided to go around four or five of us. And since he did it in the face of oncoming traffic, I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for hoping to see some Karma In Action (which would be a good name for a rock band). Alas, this fool managed to get away with it this time.
But I got to thinking about this ludicrous campaign and what it implies. You see, when personal responsibility (a four-letter word in our current society) is removed from the equation, it leads to this ridiculous sense of entitlement plaguing our culture. Putting the responsibility of motorcyclists on the drivers means the motorcyclists feel as if they won’t be to blame when they become paste on the road after pulling off something like what this idiot did this weekend.
If you are a motorcyclist, you should be terrified of this policy. Have you seen the way people drive? I spend a lot of time on the roads and I have yet to see more than a handful of people who are actually engaged in the act of driving. I’ve seen conversations with other people in the car, flailing hand motions, reading, laptops, and mobile phone usage. But rarely have I seen anyone actually in the moment, driving. And these are the people in whose hands you want to place your safety? You’re braver than I.
Now I know not every motorcyclist out there is as inept as the Future Grease Spot of CO 93 I saw this weekend. And the reason they aren’t is because they don’t surrender the responsibility of their safety to anyone else.