After a fun day of shopping and visiting with close friends last week, we parted ways and headed for home.  I might mention that we were shopping in a city that we were unfamiliar with, so it’s even more important to drive with care, and watch for the other guy, too.  My dear friend left first, to head for her home town, and the rest of us were close behind going our way.  We reached the corner where we needed to turn, and there had been an accident – sirens, police, an ambulance, and then the most frightening realization, my friend walking to the crash site!

She had taken a turn to go home when a young man on a motorcycle smashed into her car.  Thankfully, he was wearing a helmet – but his bike was probably totaled, and her car sustained quite a lot of damage.  Witnesses said that he had been standing on the seat of the bike earlier, then “popping a wheelie” just before he came back down on the street, when he hit her.

It woke us all up to the fact that accidents happen so fast, and this could have ended with a much sadder outcome.  There are some tips that have been given in previous articles about motorcycle safety, but I want to repeat some of them and hope that a parent or biker will pay attention before it is too late.

From the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Share the Road Safely:

Watch the No-Zones: Never hang out in a truck’s blind spot or “no-Zone”.  These are at the front and back and on both sides of the truck.  They cannot see you when you ride in these spots, and cannot stop as fast as you can.

Always Wear a Helmet: Make sure helmets meet US DOT standards.  Check for the DOT label in your helmet.  The accident I am telling you about, the rider’s helmet was scratched where he hit the car, and the visor was completely off. 

Drive to Survive: Remember that motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the road.  There is virtually no protection in a crash.  Be extra cautious, watching the signals and brake lights of other vehicles.  Don’t ride inbetween lanes in traffic or share a lane with another vehicle. You must respect the law just as other drivers.  Don’t instigate aggressive driving with other motorists.  This only increases your chance of a crash.

Check Yourself and Your Bike: Conduct a safety inspection of the bike prior to each ride, and wear protective clothing including gloves, boots, and a jacket.  Some high-visibility stickers or vest will help others see you.

Watch Your Speed:  Motorcycles accelerate the fastest, while trucks and buses are the slowest. Watch your speed around trucks, especially in bad weather or riding at night.  If you collide with the back of a truck, your riding days will most likely be over.

For those of us driving cars, be sure to watch for signs, especially in surroundings you aren’t familiar with, and some cities should ask themselves if there is appropriate signage for visitors to navigate safely, staying with the flow of traffic in their towns?  It only took a few seconds for what could have been devastation for my friend and that young man on the bike.  Cars and motorcycles can be replaced; material things can. But my friends can’t be replaced.  Thank Goodness for Guardian Angels! Drive and ride safely!