Almost wasted twice yesterday in the same situation twice. Cagers just aren't looking.
Two different pickup trucks - two different directions - almost exactly the same scene. It was weird. Normally this happens at least once a day (cager does something dumb that I have to react to) but it's remarkable because of the duality of the event.
First time was northbound in the morning. I was in the right hand lane with small pickup just in front (my front wheel was just ahead of his rear wheel) in the middle lane. He just signals and starts coming over - his head never moved. I lay on the big-ass horn and start braking (slowly because there is someone behind me) while taking the far right position in my lane. He freaks out and pulls back into his lane. I let him in ahead of me, then pulled around him and pointed at my eyes. LOOK you stupid cager!
The 2nd time was southbound in the afternoon. Same size truck, different colour. He is beside me as I merge onto the bridge. Traffic is pretty heavy so no one is moving around at all. He may have signalled - I'll never know because I was literally beside him. Laid on the horn and pulled to the rhs of the lane. He was halfway in my lane before he stopped and he didn't move back. I pulled ahead and he gave me the finger. For what? Existing? Fucker. I really do think I am going to get some of my rare earth magnet ball bearings and keep them on the bottom of my tank for 'emergencies' like this guy. As I pulled off the highway I really felt like leaving him a present.
An article in the Province reads:
1. Survival demands constant alertness
The Province, Page C07, 27-April-2007
It's a thought no motorcycle enthusiast enjoys entertaining: Motorcycling can be a risky business, particularly when starting out on your first bike.
Along with that risk, of course, comes the reason we all do it, which is the exhilaration of wind rushing by, a near Zen-like focus on the task at hand, and seeing your world in a completely different, much more engaging way.
Still, we must address those risks as we approach May, billed as Motorcycle Safety Month by the Insurance Corp. of B.C.
Listen for a radio campaign beginning next month around the province and keep your eyes peeled for Motorcycle Safety Month posters at Autoplan outlets, rider- and driver-training schools and at motorcycle and car dealerships.
Motorcycle riders and car drivers alike would be well served with a little reminder to watch out for each other as we head into warmer weather.
"We're still seeing a lot of the same thing when it comes to motorcycle crashes," explained Sonny Senghera, manager of provincial loss prevention programs for ICBC.
"A number of crashes occur when a car turns left in front of a motorcycle [or pulls into a rider's lane]. And another common crash we see is the single-vehicle accident on nice, quiet back roads." Multi-vehicle crashes, in which at least one motorcycle is involved, occur most frequently in urban areas -- 71 per cent vs. 25 per cent in rural areas.
Of these, 76 per cent occur at speeds of 50 km/h or under and at intersections where the driver of the other vehicle either violates a motorcyclist's right of way or simply does not notice the motorcyclist at all.
Common sense would dictate that riders slow down and make eye contact whenever possible when travelling through intersections. Drivers should watch carefully for a single headlight coming in the opposite direction, and proceed with caution on left turns through amber traffic lights.
"ICBC often sees a spike in motorcycle casualties in younger riders and in riders aged 45 to 55," said Senghera, "but it's not necessarily age, it's experience that [we found] was more of a factor." Many motorcycle crashes occur within the first two years of obtaining a Class 6 motorcycle licence.
"B.C. is incredibly popular for motorcyclists, and [ICBC] would just like riders to realize what they're getting into with regard to the risk, said Senghera.
"In 2004-2005 there was a drop in the casualty rate for motorcyclists, but motorcycling is booming in popularity, so when you have a lot more riders and the same amount of crashes, the rate tends to drop."
According to ICBC statistics, in 2005 there were 65,000 insured motorcycles, 2,100 crashes, and 43 fatalities. The message is simple. Car drivers: Keep your eyes peeled (and ears off the cellphone) and your focus on the road.
Motorcyclists: Stay alert to your surroundings, always ride within your ability and, if you feel like pushing the limits, do so in a controlled environment like a track day or race-training program at Mission Raceway Park.