A Pointless Motorcycle Story

I was riding home from work this evening, clipping along at about 65 mph in the middle lane of a three lane freeway. About 10 yards ahead of me in the right lane was another motorcycle. A blue car entered the freeway behind the other bike and just as soon as it did, I thought to myself, “Self, I think they’re going to come right over onto you.”

Sure enough, the car never hesistated in the right lane. It kept sliding left. About the time the wheels crossed the stripes, I made my decision. In about two seconds, I checked my mirror, glanced over my left shoulder, hit the turn signal, and gunned the throttle. It was perfectly timed. I have loud pipes (they came with the bike) and they went “roooaaaaar” just as I was even with the driver’s door. The lady driving the car was surprised by the noise and jerked her head to the side just as I crossed over into the left lane.

I love that old Virago. By the time I completed the lane changed and cancelled the turn signal, I was going 85 mph. I pulled well ahead of the blue car, signalled, moved back into the center lane, and slowed down to 65 mph.

A few seconds late, a small white car with a wing on the back pulled even with me in the left lane. He waved to get my attention and gave me a “thumbs up”. He had been about 50 yards behind me in the left lane and had seen the whole thing. He sped up and pulled away. Over the next rise, Fort Worth’s finest were waiting with their laser gun and they nailed him. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad for him. He was just speeding. The careless driver in the blue car got off with just a little surprise.

So, for all of you bikers out there, remember to ride like they’re out to get you. Sometimes, youll be right.

It’s not pointless in that it will make me more aware of motorcycles. I really do try to see them, and I’ve never had a close call…but maybe I have and didn’t know it.

You sound experienced and skilled!

I rode a bike for years. I still have an unhealthy fear of Lincoln Town Cars. Those folks NEVER check their mirrors.

Every day I got on my bike I said to myself “Who is going to try to kill me today?” and tried to figure out who it was gonna be. I haven’t ridden a bike in about 10 years and I still am hyper aware of blind spots, I still notice how many people never check them and still get mad when I see people doing stupid stuff that could potentially kill a motorcyclist.

You have no idea how bad drivers are until you are on a motorcycle.

That’s not unhealthy at all. It’s probably part of why you’re still around after spending years on a bike.

You don’t really appreciate how bad some of the roads are around here until you’re on a motorcyle, either.

I’m not so experienced; I’ve only been riding for just over two years. But, when I started riding, it made me realize how many bad driving habits I had let creep in over the years. Failing to check my blind spot every time was the biggest. Riding the bike has improved my driving habits quite a bit.

I really like this metaphor of motorcycling: Quite often, the best way to get out of trouble is to twist the throttle and go faster and leave the trouble behind you.

It’s not always true, but often enough that I like the concept and I wonder how well it would work in the rest of my life.

Seems to be working well enough for me.

I’ve been riding on the street for 8 years now, and they finally got me last year. It’s amazing how adept you get at reading people’s actions when they’re behind the wheel. They can still manage to surprise I guess… My scars are testament to that!

And you want some bad roads? Try riding around the Denver metro area without jiggling your kidneys to death!

Not too difficult when they’re brain-dead! :stuck_out_tongue:

Left Seat Passengers, I tells ya. Left Seat Passengers.

I had some woman do that to me yesterday on the way home. I couldn’t go forward or to the left because of traffic. She came right into me after passing me on the right. I honked my horn and she still kept coming. I had to grab a handful of brakes. Then she proceded to get back into the lane she had just left a minute later without getting anywhere. She came close enough I could have touched her car.

I like to think I have a healthy respect for motorcycles. When I’m near one, I make a mental note of where they’re at and where they’re going to be. When I’m following one in heavy traffic, I’ll be sure and leave about five times as much space between us than I would if I were following a car. When I pass one, I tend to try and get in and out of their blind spot as quickly as possible. My reasoning is this: If I hit a car, I’m hitting a car. If I hit a motorcycle, I’m basically hitting a person. I’ve been hit by a car before. It’s not fun.

I thought loud pipes were supposed to prevent that shit from happening in the first place.

That’s the usual argument in support of loud pipes, but doesn’t seem (IMHO) to work that way. I’ve noticed this several times; the extra noise doesn’t seem to make me more visible. Especially to cell phone users.

The pipes were on the bike when I bought it. They sound cool, but I do get tired of the noise at highway speeds. My next bike will not have loud pipes.

My husband installed a headlight modulator on his bike, and he’s noticed a difference since he put it on. Says he’s getting noticed earlier, which of course makes him much safer on the roads.

Keep the shiny side up! :slight_smile:

As far as increasing your noticability, I’m impressed with the device that makes the headlight(s) flash rapidly. It really stands out to oncoming traffic.

How come nobody makes forward facing exhaust pipes? Yeah, I know the sound radiates in all directions, but why make the loudest part go to the folks behind you?

You can’t assume everyone can hear you. Even if you have the loudest pipes, and even if you wear a full leather suit covered with flashing LEDs, somebody will still fail to notice you.

ETA: I see Shayna already mentioned the headlight modulator. I wonder if it uses Illudium Q36.

Apparently I put it on the wrong bloody end of the bike! I was stopped at a red light, first in line. The signal had just turned red and I had the bike in neutral when - WHAM! The bike flies out from under me, while I sort-of stay in place in midair, until gravity does it’s traditional job and I end up on my back in the pedestrian crossing, wondering what the FUCK just happened, but getting on my feet before it could happen again. My bike is lying forlornly on its side in the middle of the intersection, but I seem to be in one piece. Time to figure it out…

Turns out I’d been rear-ended. A car had hit my rear tire/ license plate holder - nice clean hit, exactly centered on his front license plate. The guy was pretty shaken up as well, but was nice enough to assume complete responsibility.

A couple of friendly bystanders helped pick up my bike, which could at least be rolled, and we convened in a nearby parking lot - in front of a strip club, as it happened. Insurance information, witness names & phone numbers, photos, the full nine yards. 911 wasn’t interested, what with no one injured. Shayna came out to pick me up and offer psychological first aid. Then she accused me of planning the whole thing to get out of basement-cleaning duty tomorrow, but hey…

Left side of the bike is scraped all to hell. Mirror, front fairing, side fairing, footrest, passenger footrest, side stand, center stand, luggage holder, license plate holder.

I, on the other hand, is in one piece. And my laptop, which was stowed in my backpack, surprisingly seems to have survived as well.

Oh, please tell me it was Jumbo’s Clown Room!

Thank the gods you’re uninjured. Sorry to hear about your bike. It’s a looker. Do get it completely repaired. That guy’s going to be shocked when he finds out how much plastic costs.

Surely, you’re not expecting me to know my way around such places of debauchery! Ehm - I dunno. The place didn’t really advertise its name all that clearly. The manager’s name is Yolanta, if that helps you any?

It’ll add up, all right. And I’m feeling truly lucky getting away so easy - a slightly stiff neck is all. Good gear doesn’t hurt, either - my Arai helmet is for the scrap heap. Looking at it, I’m just glad those abrasions didn’t happen to my tender skin…

Spiny Norman, I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m glad you didn’t suffer more serious damage. Take it slow and easy this weekend. I suspect you will be moving slow this morning, whether you want to or not.

My husband loved to ride and he had a really nice Royal Star for years. But after 2 spinal surgeries and an orthopedic surgeon who started each office visit with “Get rid of the bike” he finally did, and I have to say, I’m glad. I’ve seen way too many vehicles do stupid things around bikes.

Of course, I’ve seen more than my share of bikers doing stupid things, too, and it always seems to be the young guys on crotch rockets. My opinion could be skewed, tho - I’m just not much of a fan. I could only pretend so much interest when we went to Bike Week.

Fair warning? It happens to auto drivers, too. The other week, I saw a guy in a 1970s Lincoln just gradually slide across a lane and sideswipe a Grand Cherokee at about 50 MPH. Just sort of a gentle but firm smash, like two icebergs colliding. He didn’t speed up, he didn’t slow down, he just bounced off and I think he kept going, but I’m not sure.

Nobody’s safe.