Painful to watch motorcycle accidents happening over and over again because we all know how it feels to be drawing first blood from the tarmac.
The past two weeks have been tough for the riding community. Some of these accidents involving motorcycles were preventable. While many accidents have been caused by erratic driving, we have also seen those that were due to rider’s own negligence, in other cases both driver and rider at fault.
The fatal Ducati accident has affected my circle of riding friends tremendously as they are good friends with the late Lin Ken, affectionately known as Linken. I have seen him a couple of times with my friends at common hangouts like Handlebar etc.
I will refrain from commenting on the accident to show my due respect for the fallen rider.
From my four years of driving around due to work and two years of riding on the road (my interest and also my main mode of transport), I note:
1. Stay away from cars, commercial vehicles. Don’t linger too long at their blindspots because I guarantee you out of ten drivers, probably only two to three check their blindspots. When we say check your blindspots, we are not referring to the mirrors. We are talking about turning your neck to look over your shoulder.
2. Riding slow doesn’t mean riding safe.
3. If the road is wet (raining), stay away from the painted white markings as this can be slippery. If the rain is heavy, take shelter if possible.
4. Ride defensively. It is always good to have dual license – drive a car and ride a bike. You know the quirks of a driver and the behavior of a rider.
In fact, in a perfect world (to me), it should be compulsory for drivers and riders to possess both Class 2B (minimum) and Class 3 license and at least one year experience on the road of each license. Class 3A should be abolished, and auto cars should be given the marching orders and sent to scrapyards. Auto cars makes it so easy for people with no license to hop onto a car and drive away illegally.
But of course, in a not so perfect world like ours, this is nonsense and unpopular.
5. Ride like everyone is out to kill you, especially the drivers.
6. Stay away from the fast lane in heavy traffic. That’s where all the nincompoop congregate – the road hoggers, tailgaters, chiongsters, slow-to-react-drivers, oblivious-to-surrounding-drivers…. You do not wanna be sandwiched.
7. Loud pipe saves lives.
8. Upgrade to an airhorn.
9. Stay away from Malaysian drivers and riders.
10. Give way to faster vehicles (cars and bikes alike). Do not road hog. It is amusing to see everyone queuing up on lane one when the other lanes are not as congested.
And if we are filtering as a bike and there is a faster bike approaching behind us (could be a kup, could be a liter bike doesn’t matter), signal to let the rider know your intention to give way and proceed back to filter after letting him pass you.
As a driver, I feel that it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of motorcyclists because they are the vulnerable ones on the road. Check your mirrors all the time, use your indicators and check your blindspots.
As a rider, I feel that we should ride responsibly. I always believed that when we choose to lanesplit/filter, it is a risk we choose to take. Be alert. I have avoided at least two to three rear end collisions thanks to lanesplitting. Whether you like it (or not), most riders filter because it saves lives, saves your (drivers) time sitting in traffic, and reduces congestion as a whole. Of course, we have also seen how irresponsible, reckless and careless filtering can end up a disaster.
There are always two sides to a coin – similarly there are good and MANY bad drivers, good riders and also MANY bad riders. As a driver, I know I am protected by my metal cage, I know that one wrong move from me may cause irreversible damage to others. Knowing these facts, what would you do? A wrong move from a rider may damage your bumper, scratch your mirror, cause you some minor inconveniences but just one wrong move from a driver may end up taking the life of an innocent rider. I choose to think this way because life is priceless and precious. No amount of regrets can bring a son, daughter, father, mother, (of someone) back to life.
We share the road. All that talks about banning motorcycles, they are just words from an idiot trying to sow further discord between drivers and riders. I’m not a perfect driver or rider but I try my best to minimize my mistakes on the road and be as considerate as possible to the best of my abilities.
Look out for each other on the road. Don’t be lazy to signal. Don’t be lazy to check.