Thinking Safety

| 9/29/2008 12:08:06 PM


Why do I feel vaguely uncomfortable when I encourage fellow riders to think and act in a proactive, safety conscious manner? Like the too-chatty co-worker at lunch, it feels like I am somehow intruding, even unwelcome, in this macho world of motorcycles. 

I don’t even have to see how any given rider handles his/her motorcycle, as a casual glance at riders’ apparel tells me heaps about their safety attitude. From the cruiser pilot’s statement with the fake beanie and fingerless fashion gloves to the crotch-rocket jockey in running shoes, shorts and a tee — they are only deluding themselves about being good riders. Safety doesn’t just mean wearing proper gear, but it is a very visible expression of attitude and safety awareness. Unfortunately, far too many of the visible attitudes tell me all the wrong things. Five seasons of brief weekend rides and regular commuting to the donut shop do not a rider make… and the immortality of youth does not save one from painful reality when pushing the envelope goes awry. 

In Pat Hahn's book, "Ride Hard — Ride Smart," he breaks common sense proactive safe riding into what he has labelled the "Three Degrees of Separation." This is the separation which exists between safe and enjoyable riding and the dire consequences of being unprepared. From the bottom up, this includes: 

1. Defensive Riding Strategy.
2. Training Skills
3. Riding Gear 

Believe it…  Good protective gear is your backup in case the first two lines of defence crumble. But wearing protective gear is not just about saving one’s hide in a worst-case scenario calamity. Good gear is about attitude — about being safety proactive and about being prepared before you get on the bike. 

Richard Backus
10/8/2008 8:00:44 PM

I'd guess her motive is safety. Not everyone took a course to get their license. When I got mine years ago, all I had to do was pay an extra 50 cent fee! No proof of ability, nothing. Just 50 cents.

10/3/2008 11:50:27 AM

I agree safety is fundamental to the motorcycle rider, but I hate being rebuked about it; who isn't aware of this? We all have to take a course before we get our cycle license that focuses on safety. It makes me wonder what the writers motive is.

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