TALLADEGA SCENIC HIGHWAY ON MT. CHEAHA ~ ALABAMA ~ photo taken by Dianna Stover
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Friday, February 20, 2009

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

Dear Diary... a glimpse into the pages of a journal written by a woman rider.

February 19, 2009
Dear Diary,
I had a close call today, and it's been difficult for me to let it go. I'm sure it's bothering me cause it involved me, my car, and nice pretty Gold Wing!

I was moving through the Bank's parking lot when I noticed some motion out of the corner of my eye. As I looked to my left, peering over the rooftops of the other parked cars, I noticed the top halves of two helmets progressing to the end of their row, next to mine. I was about four car lengths from the end of my row when the two helmets, turned right, and then right again, toward me into the row I was in. The rider and his passenger were in full view by now, but the problem was, he made such a wide sweeping turn into the row I was coming out of, that within an instant he was right in front of me like he was playing chicken! Thankfully, I was only going, about 5 to 7 mph. and him, probably likewise. I hit my brake and stopped on a dime, but while I sat there with my mouth open, I watched his passenger grab his arms in fear, as he had to make a pretty radical swerve to the right back over to his side of the row to keep from hitting me head on! He mastered this maneuver successfully, but I could tell by the look on his face, he was pretty startled as well.


He just missed hitting the front of my car by a gnat's ass! I sat there for a moment trying to settle my adrenalin rush, as I realized everything was fine. I don't know why he wasn't looking where he was turning, but I would have felt terrible if we had made contact. Anytime a bike goes down, there's chance of injury. I know it wouldn't have been tragic, but it doesn't take much to screw up a knee or an ankle to make your riding days vanish. They looked to be in their 50's or so, probably a husband and wife out enjoying the world on two wheels just like I do.

I can't even imagine how horrible it would make me feel if I were ever a contributing factor to a motorcyclist getting hurt. I don't even want to go there! I've become a much better driver in my car, since I've started riding, and I chalk that up to becoming more tuned in to what's going on around me. I tell myself... this is a good thing.


I've always felt that drivers of cars, not paying attention to us bikers, is one of our biggest risks when we're out riding. But, today I was reminded that we can make some dumb ass moves ourselves and sometimes there's nothing the driver of the car can do to avoid us. If we let our guard down and lose focus, we make ourselves vulnerable. This guy wasn't looking where he was turning, and if I had been even a little closer to the end of the isle, I would not have been able to avoid hitting him head on.


I love riding my Glide and I accept the risks. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I know I try to ride smart, and it's worth the risk, in order to receive the immense pleasure I get in return. I just hope I never forget to ride smart. After that... I'll accept whatever happens.

Me

14 comments:

B.B. said...

Great post Lady R. I'm glad that it turned out okay. You're right though, sometimes we do stuff that can make it hard for others to avoid us. We all take the risk of riding, and need to be reminded to be on guard at all times.

"Joker" said...

Congrats to you for paying attention and watching not just what's in front of you, but what's around you. I think that's more than half the battle right there.

'Keep the rubber side down' had a post a few days back asking for opinions on how to be a safer rider. I weighed in with my .02. Check it out - you may want to add your story or at the very least, you may pick up something that'll stick in your head and bail you out someday.

Ride Safe...

Allen Madding said...

only one correction, it isn't a "goldwing". it is a Hondapottimus :)

I wish other drivers were looking out for me like you were looking out for the couple on the Hondapottimus.

-Peace

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Good reminder to keep your head on straight while riding. It's far to easy to forget about how careful we must be.

Dean "D-Day" said...

Great post!
And I agree that since I've been riding, I think it makes me a more careful cage driver.

FLHX_Dave said...

We've all been there. Why I don't drive a car now so I don't have to worry about plowing one of my friends. LOL!

I'm think we have all done this at one time or another. Riding a bike has made me a better driver for sure so amen to that sister.

Now, as ignorant as cagers can be, I think alot of bike accidents are cause by bikers who a) Think they are the shit and own the road. b) Are assuming that everyone sees them. c) Pulling "stupid biker tricks".

I guess what's kept me out of trouble is just assuming that no one can see me. I am the ghost rider when out and about and transparent. This really makes you position yourself properly on the road and keeps you sharp. (This is stressful however when you are stopped at a light or stopsign. I'm always ready on the throttle and peering into the rear mirror.

Glad no one got hurt...but it sounds to me like that rider needs to pay more attention.

Webster World said...

William Holden fell in his living room hit his head on the coffee table and died. So any fall is a bad fall. You(and they) are a lucky Lady:)

Willy D said...

“I watched his passenger grab his arms in fear, as he had to make a pretty radical swerve to the right”

That statement tells me that they were probably novice riders. I’ve had to make quite a few idiot avoidance maneuvers with my wife on the back. She’ll grab my waist, lean where I lean, go where I go, but she knows better than to grab my arms while I’m trying to get us out of a pickle.
You did good Lady R.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

I agree with what has already been posted. Novice riders do tend to swing wide in turns and even at 5-7 MPH that couple is fortunate you were paying attention and not lighting a cigarette while talking on your cell, while putting on eye liner, while balancing a cup of hot coffee in your lap, and thinking of this weekends great ride you and Harley are going on right after you file your taxes.

Minds do tend to get cluttered when the ONLY thing we are doing is driving. But, hey it was only in a parking lot.

Lady Ridesalot said...

B.B... I'm glad I saw him coming and he's lucky I was watching.

Joker... I saw the post over at "Keep The Rubber Side Down" too. I think you can be a very defensive rider and still enjoy the experience. We can't control everything around us, but carelessness can bring us to our own demise. We can never get careless. If you do, it's time to quit while your ahead.

Allen... I'm always watching out for other riders while I'm caging it. Becoming a rider has helped me tremendously with my driving skills.

Mr. M... That's the whole reason for this post. We have to remember that safety begins with ourselves. We can never let our guard down.

Dean... I think most riders would have to agree. I know I have.

Dave... You said it! If we are going to be stupid or careless while riding, there's not much we can expect a cage to do to avoid us. My only problem is, no matter what the circumstances, I would still carry the guilt for hurting someone. Even if it was the other guys own doing. Just the way I am. This just reminds me again to always be on the lookout for those who aren't looking out for themselves.

Webster... My thoughts exactly! Like the post said, it probably wouldn't have been a terrible collision if he had hit the car, but a simple fall could still turn out to be pretty devastating. Parking lots are just as dangerous as the open road. I think riders turn their radar down a notch in these situations and maybe that's their mistake.

Willy... It's funny you pointed that out. I thought the same thing when I watched her grab him. She was sitting higher up than he was and her elbows were resting on her back rest (they had one of those nice touring back rests that wrap around you). So when she grabbed him, she grabbed around his biceps, which I thought was crazy! But, it happened in a split second and that's how she reacted. It's just a good thing he still handled the maneuver okay.

AZD... I used to be one of those. Thank God I smartened up while I still have time to make a difference. Being a rider definitely helped me become a safer driver. Amen for that!

Baron's Life said...

Check out:
http://baronsview.blogspot.com/2009/02/fabulous-blog-award_22.html
You have an award.

"Joker" said...

I didn't realize Baron beat me to it - I gave you the award too!

KT Did said...

Damn...he's lucky he had you in front of him. We all take the risk as riders. We should all try to ride the safest way we can...in no hurry would help. There is always that 1% though that will get you. He was just plain lucky he had another rider, you, at the wheel. That's why I advocate rider education for all that want a drivers license...period. We need more "Yous" on the road!

Lady Ridesalot said...

Baron and Joker... Thanks guys! I really appreciate your mention! I will do my best to pass it on.

KT... I appreciate your kind words also. I wish everyone rode motorcycles. That way when we do get in cars, we'd have a different attitude on the road. Ride on!