What is the first question most of us ask when we hear of a motorbike accident? I would say it’s most definitely “is the rider ok?”. The next questions tend to be along the line of “what has happened?” and “how did it happen?”. Because in our minds we try to establish whose fault it was and who is to blame.
I believe that the blame is of no interest to anyone except the police, the courts and the insurance companies. We as riders, have a completely different concept to focus on – responsibility!
It’s a jungle out there!
In the jungle there is only one rule that applies – the strong survives. If you are strong, you are immune. If you are small and weak, you need to look after yourself at any given moment, because in one moment of inattention, a larger animal may come and devour you. As a result, the weak must adopt characteristics such as wisdom, cunning, agility, sophistication, and to live under the radar. As a rider you need to ride knowing that you are in constant danger and manage yourself accordingly. This means you should never let anyone surprise you or enter your “crash avoidance space”, your buffer.
In the jungle of the roads we, the riders, are the weakest (along with cyclists and pedestrians). It means we have to take responsibility for our lives. For example, if you enter an intersection in green light and a vehicle coming from the side runs a red and hits you – there is no doubt that according to the law the driver is at fault. But it’s not the main focus here, because you’re the one who got hurt. You are in charge of your life and you should have performed all survival tricks before entering the dangerous place that is full of predators – the intersection. This means reducing your speed and making sure no predator is approaching from the side. This is just one of many examples of us riders taking charge of our lives.
It is important to remember that we cannot expect drivers to follow the rules we riders know. Some drivers are not at all aware of their existence. Just ignoring this fact is the very issue of not taking responsibility.
Even in fast or sporty riding, there are a set of rules that, if we follow them, will significantly increase our chances of survival. For example, not letting anyone surprise us on the road. For example, zealously preserve our personal space, our buffer, our “crash avoidance space”. For example, riding at a speed that allows us to respond to any unexpected situation. If we want to survive on the road, continue riding and live peacefully and uninjured, we have to follow this simple set of rules with religious determination. Blaming drivers for ignoring us is burying our heads in the sand. But more than that – blaming others will result in more riders getting hurt.
You can ride a sport bike, you can ride fast and enjoy the state-of-the-art motorcycles we have and take advantage of their capabilities, even on the public road. But it all has to come with responsibility. With a neat riding strategy that relies on a clear set of survival rules. With the mindset of always allowing room for mistakes and never riding on the edge, because when mistakes or surprises happen on public roads – they cost dearly. Those who want to live need to take responsibility and stay away from the edge. Anyone who cannot give this up may pay with their lives. And for that, friends, you should take responsibility. Full responsibility.
Take responsibility for your life!
Be safe. Enjoy the ride.
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I agree with the article, you do need to make sure you are taking care of you first and foremost. Too often I see riders on the road putting themselves in compromising positions on the road(no not that kind of position), even though you can pass that car with the performance your bike has, does not mean it is a good idea to do so. Ride with a safety zone around you and do not push limits of adhesion too far. Make it easy for drivers of cars and be courteous, the last thing you want to do is cause someone else to get hurt down the road because you pissed off a driver earlier in the week. Unfortunately people hold grudges, are emotional and are not all together paying attention when driving. Take care of you and your brothers and sisters that ride!
I totally agree with your article, as you might have seen already in my comment on your SMIDSY post on FB that my attitude towards road riding is all about maintaining my safe zone, having at least one or more escape routes and always, ALWAYS expect everyone around you (even other riders) to do the unexpected.
Thank you for your comment.
We all need to have an attitude like yours towards riding. It is the only way we can survive in the “jungle” (our roads).
Please feel free to share and spread the word. It is extremely important that both riders and drivers are aware.