Letters to the Editor

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SAFETY: Be more aware of motorcyclists

Letter by Diane Leonard, Spanaway on May 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm with 31 Comments »
May 2, 2012 12:10 pm

During May, motorcyclists will be promoting National Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month. I would like to use this time to educate everyone that uses the highways, city and rural roads in our area.

I am a member of Leather & Lace MC, an international women’s motorcycle club. One of our top priorities is to support motorcycle safety in our community. Below are some awareness tips that I would like to share:

• Why didn’t I see that motorcycle?Because of its size, a motorcycle is harder to see and estimate the motorcycle’s speed.

• When are accidents most likely to occur? When you are attempting a left turn in front of a motorcyclist. You may fail to adequately check blind spots before changing lanes or making turns, and large vehicles may block a motorcycle from view.

• How can I become more aware? Give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel. Predict evasive actions when you see obstacles in the road. Don’t follow a motorcycle too closely.

Don’t just give a glance. Give a second look.

Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    As a forty year rider, I don’t depend on anyone but myself. Grab your ears, pull out, and pay attention to your distances separating you from everything in every direction.

  2. igotdabombfool says:

    It’s called Motion Induced Blindness or Motion Camouflage. Look it up. It’s not that ALL drivers are inconsiderate, some of them just don’t see you through no fault of anybody.

  3. kluwer says:

    Great letter Diane!
    Just last week I was almost hit not once but twice by cars that simply were not paying attention to what they were doing and what was around them.

  4. Inverse must be stated also: just yesterday a motorcyclist pulled up illegally next to a car in front of me, made an illegal turn, then proceeded to pass vehicles in the middle median! He had his kid on the back! Can’t count how many motorcycles speed on the freeway!

  5. LornaDoone says:

    I let my motorcycle endorsement expire long ago. If I were to own another bike, it would be strictly for off road.

    Meanwhile, I’d appreciate if road bikers would honor the rules of the road.

  6. RLangdon says:

    I ride and I appreciate Diane’s letter a lot. Thanks for spreading the SAFE WORD Diane!

    (LornaDoone, on a motorcycle? HA! Not unless it has training wheels.)

  7. LornaDoone says:

    RLangdon – I was riding a motorcycle when you were still tugging on mommy’s skirt.

    Last week.

  8. RLangdon says:

    Riding it how Lorna, sidesaddle?

  9. Frankenchrist says:

    Back in the days when I rode a donorcycle I can’t tell you how many times I approached an intersection, made solid eye contact with the automobile driver at the stop sign, and have that fool then pull out and cut me right off.

    Drivers just do not see motorcycles. That is one of the reasons I sold my bike and never wanted another.

  10. *Why didn’t I see that motorcycle? Because they were passing me on the shoulder when I was turning right

    *When are accidents most likely to occur? When the motorcycles are going 20 mph over everyone else on the road and driving between 2 lanes with no regard for safety

    *How can I become more aware? I am very aware when driving my car. And I understand that a few bad apples ruin a box. But, when people are on motorcycles they need to be drive more carefully, they will not win a fight with pretty much any car on the road.

  11. I will be more aware of Motorcycle… how bout teching your fellow riders how to ride safely how bout not squeezing between vehicle so they can be at front of the light or popping wheelies

  12. Alinup says:

    And bicycles and pedestrians. If you look for motorcycles
    it kind of follows.

  13. XBJ98N says:

    I was riding before many of you were born…All weather-All year. And I did it internationally. (My screen name is my British plate number-and I began riding on LA freeways)

    All I can say is, if motorcyclists want respect from the public, they need to clean up their act as well. You might want to start by putting a decent muffler on those pathetic Harley’s!

    Some of you attention starved, amateur dry weather clowns seem to feel a need to break the eardrums of anyone hapless enough to be near you.

  14. LornaDoone says:

    I rode enough to know that there is no saddle on a motorcycle.

  15. rivitman says:

    Ok, Fine. Stop lane splitting. Stop riding up the shoulder on the left and right. Stop changing lanes two feet off my bumper.


    Yep, you are small and hard to see. It’s also hard to estimate your closing speed, and when that closing speed it manifestly over the speed limit, it gets harder still.

    And it’s not possible at all when you two wheelers are doing 80, 90, or triple digits.

    So while I try to accommodate you, I have little sympathy for you as I so seldom see motorcyclists obeying the traffic laws. Your personal safety starts with YOU, and your attitude when you mount up.

  16. Always the other guys fault.

  17. I don’t know about Wa State, but California allows motorcycle “lane sharing”.

    I love having a motorcyclists come riding up between me and the car next to me at about 75 mph. And then zipping in and out of traffic.

    I always keep an extra eye out for motorcyclists, i hope they do the same. Safety is a two way street.

  18. I appreciate groups like this letter writer talks about, because they work with riders on safety and prevention as well as the general public.

    It would help if all riders were required to have safety lessons and be part of groups like this.

    Blaine has a geat comment, that motorcyclists should take responsibility, as should all drivers and riders on highways and streets.

    I worked with way too many head injured and paralyzed young riders who thought they were invincible on the road when they had that Harley throbbing under them. About half of all spinal cord injury and half of all traumatic brain injury for people 25-44 are from traffic accidents while riding a motorcycle

  19. amber424 says:

    I have no problem showing respect to motorcyclists, but I do expect the same courtesy. What is to be expected when a person weaves through traffic, passes in between lanes and cuts others off. All done with the thought that a tiny helmet will protect you.

  20. XBJ98N says:

    “I don’t know about Wa State, but California allows motorcycle “lane sharing”.”

    Its not legal here. Regardless, legal or not, it is a stupid practice.

  21. XBJ98N says:

    “I have no problem showing respect to motorcyclists, but I do expect the same courtesy.”

    Respect is EARNED. It’s not a requirement because someone demands it, or thinks they are entitled to it.

  22. igotdabombfool says:

    “Respect is EARNED. It’s not a requirement because someone demands it, or thinks they are entitled to it.”

    Then feel free to not respect my truck when you get hit by it because I didn’t earn your respect so you though you’d cut me off.

  23. RLangdon says:

    Lorna, You don’t know much about bikes do you?


  24. LornaDoone says:

    RL….you don’t know much about satire do you?

    I’m aware that the hipper than hip will call a motorcycle seat a “saddle”. Try doing a search to see which you’ll find more of – “seat” or “saddle”.

    Since you want to be pointed about this – “Sidesaddle riding is a form of Equestrianism that uses a type of saddle which allows a rider to sit aside rather than astride a horse, mule or pony.”

    Now I guess you could say that a motorcycle has “horsepower”….but that would be getting ridiculous. Of course, I should look back to your first comment directed at me and realize that “ridiculous” would be an improvement.

    And then there is the point that a relative cousin of the horse is a jackass, thus we have a perfect fit in directing discourse your way.

    As to “how much” I know about bikes, as I said, I let my endorsement expire long ago. Since I matured, I no longer need a penile substitute for transportation.

  25. RLangdon says:

    LornaDoone? Not a name I would associate with someone who would need a “penile substitute” in the first place. But, on the other hand, it does help to explain how you know so much about riding side-saddle.

  26. XBJ98N says:

    “Respect is EARNED. It’s not a requirement because someone demands it, or thinks they are entitled to it.”— Then feel free to not respect my truck when you get hit by it because I didn’t earn your respect so you though you’d cut me off.

    Where else but rednecked Tacoma would one find a moronic response like that? I bet “igotdabombfool” doesn’t get much respect earned. Right on cue to take offense by the truth.

  27. XBJ98N says:

    And as expected, not the only children playing in Tacoma’s perpetual sandbox!

    My god, what a bunch of bickering little babies.

  28. Smiles1961 says:

    This submitted article was done by my sister in Leather & Lace MC. So, here I am at her defense.
    Our club members mainly ride cruisers and some sportsters. We’re not the idiots that run down the highway popping wheelies or all that other stuff, so please don’t group us with the ‘bad apples’. Yes, it IS legal in CA to split lanes – we didn’t write that law. But I do agree that when splitting lanes, it should be done carefully and at reasonable speeds.
    Speaking of speeds. There are quite a lot of complaints on here about going 80mph or more – as if none of you have EVER sped in your life. Come on now…I wasn’t born yesterday. Just to keep up with traffic and NOT get ran over (motorcycle or car!) you’ll find yourself speeding, and you all know this to be true.
    This article was meant to be informative and educational and nothing more, but there are ALWAYS those that get their undies in a bunch – which is sad.
    Simply put, it IS Motorcycle Awareness Month, and almost (PLEASE NOTE that I said ALMOST) every driver says “I didn’t see them”.
    Be nice, look twice…and for Gods sake, lose the unwarranted attitudes please. We’re trying to do good things here.
    Have a blessed day everyone!

  29. averageJoseph says:

    Vey timely letter Diane. I don’t ride for the reasons you stated. There are some people driving that are so oblivious they wouldn’t see a tractor-trailer. Throw cell phones in the mix and that makes it even more dangerous.
    And yes, there are unsafe, rude motorcyclists as well.

    I’ll stay in my cage… thanks.

  30. XBJ98N says:

    Smiles1961…I certainly hope your group is not guilty of breaking the eardrums on anyone nearby with those ridiculously obnoxious improperly muffled Harleys! I say improperly because there are plenty of QUIET, respectable Harleys with proper mufflers.

    And please don’t anyone offer the tired excuse that its safer because people can hear you, then see you. The AMA (not the doctors!) has proven time and time again that excessive noise has nothing to do with safety, and in fact, only manages to stir up further animosity from the public. And I’ll add my own opinion that if quiet motorcycles are not as safe, why arent God Wings dropping like flies?

  31. XBJ98N says:

    GOLD wings!….my err.

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