What a difference a couple of months make. Just ahead of Christmas we were writing about how the weather was so balmy that motorcycles might still be out and about. We venture to guess that such a sight today would be rarer than a yeti in a fur coat.
Perhaps that's reason enough to pay a return visit to the issue of motorcycling. In the face of the cold, piles of snow received and a forecast of yet more to come, it's nice to imagine warmer days that beckon motorcyclists to embrace the freedom and exhilaration their pastime provides. And as we ponder that, why not consider what steps we all can take to prevent collisions involving motorcycles and other vehicles that all too often occur.
From the car and truck driver perspective, the challenge might center on being aware of how easy it is to not see motorcyclists and be extra vigilant. As the Motorcycle Safety Foundation points out, too often drivers of large vehicles look right past motorcycles. It can happen even if they aren't distracted.
It's because of that reality that the MSF urges motorcyclists to do something that might seem just a little odd -- pretend you are invisible. That is, presume that other drivers not only aren't seeing you, but actually don't see you. They are looking for those vehicles they expect, other cars and trucks, and motorcyclists just don't register.
So what can motorcyclists do? The MSF has these thoughts.
- Be conspicuous. Wear bright outwear and a light-colored helmet. Never turn off your headlight.
- Get educated. Driving a motorcycle involves more than turning the handlebars. Riding under normal conditions can be challenging. Knowing how to react in an emergency only comes with training. So find an approved training course and take it.
- Be extra aware for your own sake. This gets back to that invisibility notion. If you adopt an attitude that others can't see you, the MSF says you'll become more sensitive to details around you and drive more defensively and strategically.
If everyone takes responsibility, the motorcycling season can be more enjoyable for us all.