Friday, August 24, 2012

Attitude = Everything



I am normally a fairly calm, rational, and level-headed person....

That's just my opinion, of course, but I think my friends and even my enemy would agree. Meanwhile, I am here to tell you, there is a dramatic personality transformation that takes place every time I mount my steely steed and head for the highway.

Open-air riding is a rush and a power trip. There's nothing like it! That said, riding at speed on a highway crowded with inattentive cagers can be a nerve-wracking experience.  To stay safe on the road in spite of the tendency for some drivers to overlook bikes when they bother to look at all, I become hyper-vigilant. In fact, I compensate for my obvious vulnerability by adopting the attitude and persona of a vigilante.

On my Road King, I morph into the King of the Road. My eyes are scanning for danger continually. I look into every other driver's eyes and make an instant risk assessment. Trust me, when my paint job is on the line, the feedback I give is decisive, clear, and unambiguous. I share "my" road with others at my discretion.

[rant]

Follow these "Seven Rules of the Road" and we'll get along just fine.

  • Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way! I am looking at you, Grandpa. That's your turn signal, not your pacemaker, it's OK to turn it off when you're done!
  • When I make eye contact with you, I want to see full awareness in your eyes. I want to know that you see and acknowledge me. Courtesy is optional. Respect is mandatory. If you are too tired to drive, maybe my loud-assed pipes will perk you up! LPSL!
  • Stay to the right except to pass. No parking in the passing lane!  Move it on over, big dog! No, I will never pass you on the right. That is dumb, dangerous, and just plain wrong. Instead, if you refuse to yield, I will simply use my Hiawatha high beams to drill a hole in the back of your head.
  • For you, littering is just rude, unlawful, disgusting behavior consistent with your lackluster character. For me, that cigarette butt is just one more bit of debris I need to dodge. Congratulations, douchebag. I just took a picture of your hand, your candy wrapper, and your license plate with my frame-mounted GoPro HD action camera.  Enjoy the $1500 fine. 
  • Get the crumpled fender fixed; you're making me nervous!
  • If you can't keep your windshield clean, how do I know you can check your tire pressure? You did check your tire pressure, didn't you?
  • Put down your cell phone and pay attention--to me! I've only got two wheels here. Hey, stay in your own lane! 

So if you drive, share the road with us bikers. If you cannot share the road because you want to, at least share it because you know you should. Look: you will share the road even if  I have to take my half out of the middle while you are playing with your radio. My point? We are both traveling on the highway of life. You might as well share the road with a smile.

And, please! For Pete's sake, put. the. cell phone. down! You're a menace with that thing. That text message? It can wait!

By the way, just so we're crystal clear, if you cross over into my lane one more time, you will be

 entering a world of pain! I'm talking 
           middle-finger-flipping, 
                    high-beam-tripping, 
                              horn-button-gripping
                                        loud-pipe-ripping 
                                      pain!

[/rant]

Being a rider has made me a much more attentive driver, which is to say I have not always been as attentive as I should be. I wish all drivers could be more empathetic to riders. By the same token, being a rider has made me much more defensive. Riders must be aggressively and actively defensive to stay safe on the road. Attitude is everything!

H/T to BK