Ride Aware – The Hot Seat

Ride Aware – The Hot Seat

As often happens, I had the idea for my editorial sorted early in the month, only to have something happen the day before deadline, which turns everything on its head.

This month it was an unexpected call from a newspaper journalist informing me that the driver who turned in front of a fellow motorcyclist, killing him in the process, had pleaded guilty to the charges laid by the police. The motorcyclist in question was a friend, and where we thought it was a tragic case of a ‘wrong time/wrong place’ accident, it transpires the driver of the truck and trailer that pulled across the road in front of him had a long list of driving convictions.

The day our friend came along on his bike, (I guess it really was a case of wrong place/wrong time) just happened to coincide when a driver, who doesn’t have a licence, decided to turn right across a double yellow line into a driveway. Why did he do it? It turns out he’s got really terrible eyesight which, I imagine, is the reason he can’t get a licence. So, chances are, he didn’t know there was a motorbike coming until the point of impact.

It’s a tragic case, more so due to the fact his partner was riding behind and was first on the scene, which was no doubt unimaginably hard to face. And he was a good rider, someone I respected and would happily ride with. If anyone could avoid an incident, I’d put him right up there, which means it was a completely unexpected manoeuvre. Completely out of the blue.

It got me thinking about the faith you put in the fact that another motorist MUST have seen you. You think to yourself, if you were them, you would have noticed a motorbike. You look into their eyes as you’re approaching an intersection and wait for that moment where you’re sure they’ve seen you. And then you detect the wheels starting to move…

If anything, this has taught me to NEVER believe someone has seen you. Never think other motorists are anywhere near as observant as yourself. From bad eyesight to mobile phones and drug impairment, there are a million reasons why the driver of another vehicle on the same stretch of tarseal as you might not register there’s a motorbike coming. And even if you’re sure they’ve seen you, keep that doubt in your mind and prepare to react. You never know, you too might just end up in the

wrong place at the wrong time…

On a lighter note, just before heading to print I got a spin on the ‘new’ Harley-Davidson LiveWire. While it is new to NZ, the world launch took place over a year ago, Charley and Ewen have ridden them the length of the Americas, and some customers have even taken delivery of their own bikes. Is electric the future? Yeah, it probably is. And there’s no denying the LiveWire’s an entertaining machine. But it’s got drawbacks – it’s expensive, the range isn’t long enough, and it takes too long to charge. All that WILL change as the age of the internal combustion engine comes to an end. 

Would I have a LiveWire in my shed if I had the cash? Absolutely. Will we all be riding electric bikes in the future? There is no doubt…