Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Friday, May 8, 2015

Motorcycles and liberal ideology

 I love spring and summer, but not everything about it. One of those things I don't like is having the roads suddenly overrun with motorcycles and seeing the yellow bumper stickers and signs everywhere to "watch out for motorcycles." Those signs irritate me and reek of something liberals would do. Why do I compare motorcycles with liberal ideology? I am glad you asked.

  First, a few facts: Motorcycles are NOT a safe mode of transportation. You can argue that all you want, but they are not. You are in the open with nothing to protect you except a pair of sunglasses. No seat-belts or rules that apply to anyone driving a car or truck. The chances of severe injury or death are much greater on a motorcycle than in a vehicle, and made worse by the fact that so many people don't bother with a helmet. (Helmets give bikers a 37% better chance of surviving and accident than without, and 67% chances of surviving brain injuries but I guess many don't want that 37% and 67% chance).

  And yet these people who are driving unsafe vehicles drive recklessly, go faster than they should, cut people off, pull out in front of cars..... and they want US to watch out for THEM?! How about they take some responsibility for themselves? How about they drive more responsibility and be more careful around vehicles that are bigger than them? That is where the liberal ideology comes through: driving a less safe vehicle - and often not observing safety and laws - yet expecting everyone who IS driving safer vehicles to take responsibility for you and your unsafe vehicle and actions.

  If you pay attention to what the extreme liberals say, they basically want to do their thing and have others be responsible. They want healthcare, but want others to pay for it. They want free sex and want others to pay for their abortions. They want to do their thing and make you accept it, but if you do something they don't like they want you to stop it.

  Just like bikers. They want to ride an unsafe vehicle, dart in and out of traffic, pull out in front of people, and other things that are not safe... but they don't want to be responsible for all that. They want the car and truck drivers to be responsible for them, to watch out for them, to give them the right of way all of t he time.

  Two true stories that happened to me last summer:
1) I was on my way home from work and was coming into the town where I live. The speed limit was 35 and I was going that. Just as I approached an intersection, a guy on a motorcycle pulled out in front of me from the right and got in the lane of opposing traffic. It was close, but I hit my brakes... and then his buddy who was behind him also went. And I had to slam my brakes on and barely missed him.

2) Later last summer, I was again on my way home from work. I was in a 55 speed limit area, but was slowing down for a turn off around the bend and was going around 45. As I came around the bend, a motorcycle pulled out in front of me. As I hit my brakes, 2 others followed him, not bothering to stop at the stop sign, just intent on sticking with their friend.

If ONE vehicle pulls out in front of you, it is dangerous and can be a close call. If two pulls out in front of you, it is even worse. But try THREE..... I had to hit my brakes as hard as I could and went off the road to avoid hitting the third bike. And it was close. I was beside him when I went off the road, and was sure I was going to hit him. It scared the daylights out of me. Had I hit him, I am not sure who would have been at fault. He ran a stop sign, along with the guy in front of him.

  Which brings me to a great point: When there are more than one biker and they come to a stop sign, it is not unusual for everyone to just go and only the front biker actually come to a stop. The rest just run the stop sign and ignore traffic laws. Am I the only one who sees a problem with that? As much I dislike motorcycles, I get the idea that people like to ride them together, but is it worth the risk of being hit by a car to do so? Why not pull off the road and let the others catch up, instead of having bikers run the stop sign so they can all stay together?

  I had the 2 close calls I mentioned, but there have been other times when bikers ran a stop sign in front of me and it wasn't a close call, but it was still frustrating. Laws apply to bikers also. Well, some do. We have to wear seat belts in cars and have all kinds of safety rules for cars, and bikers don't have that... but stop signs, speed limits, red lights, and common courtesy still apply to bikers.

And I am not saying we shouldn't watch out for bikers. Good grief, we have to the way they act and drive.... but it is time bikers take some responsibility and watch out for cars, stop pulling out in front of vehicles and placing the burden of avoiding an accident on others for their dangerous actions. And stop posting signs to tell us to watch out for bikers. It should be a mutual thing. They need to watch out for us, respect the laws and rules of the road, and drive more responsibly. Don't be a liberal and expect others to take responsibility for your dangerous actions and driving. If you're going to drive an unsafe vehicle like a motorcycle, then drive cautiously. If you want we car drivers to give you space and watch out for you, then do the same with us. You do not have special rights, you cannot break traffic laws and expect everyone else to be responsible if you are not.

   I do realize not all bikers drive unsafely and take risks that they expect everyone else to take responsibility for. I see responsible bikers, though I still feel if you are truly concerned about safety you don't ride one, and I always give a mental thumbs up to bikers I see with helmets on their heads, Is it a guarantee that they don't die or suffer tremendous head trauma in an accident? No, but there chances are 37% better of dearg not happening with a helmet and 67% chances of brain injury not happening (I know, I said that already, but it bears repeating.) And if I insisted on riding a motorcycle, I'd want to improve my odds. And no, I don't hate bikers. I am just tired of being told I need to watch out for people who insist on driving an unsafe vehicle and driving it recklessly and unsafely. If the same rules were applied to bikes that were applied to cars, they wouldn't even be allowed to be on the road and licensed.

  Had I hit one of the bikers who recklessly pulled out in front of me, I'd have been devastated. Ticked off, but also devastated. I believe 100% it would have been their fault, but that wouldn't make me feel any better if they had been hit by me and died as a result of the accident. And that irritates me.

Some motorcycle fatalities statistics:

Motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars and often have high performance capabilities. When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they're more likely to be injured or killed. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2012, the number of deaths on motorcycles was over 26 times the number in cars. 1
Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths 2 and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. 3  Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. 
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not designed for on-highway use, but in recent years more than 300 riders died in crashes on public roads annually.  
The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

A postscript:

  After I had this blog post typed up and ready to post, a friend sent me this message on Facebook. We had not been discussing this issue at all, and he had no idea I was working on a blog post about bikers and liberals, so this was completely out of the blue to get this message from him:

This sounds like a liberal agenda: where the few that want to ride there unsafe motorcycles cry and complain about how those of us who are save drivers in our four wheel vehicles need to watch out for them and cater to them. I'm tired of it. if you want to ride your unsafe, unstable vehicle on the highways with the big boys, then man up and ride and don't complain.

  And a final note: If you are one of those who likes to go riding with your buddies and stay together in a group..... try riding in a car or van. It is really easy to stay together and be safer if you are all in the same vehicle........

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