We are constantly reminded the road is there to share. The cops are always buying signage to tell us that – along with other signage that refers to us as being in their sights like game animals.
But it’s very hard to share that road with an invisible motorcycle. Or, more accurately, a motorcycle which is only invisible because the driver is missing the DNA needed to actually see one. And he doesn’t give a shit anyway. Not giving a shit assists the invisibility no end.
And you can’t give way to an invisible thing, right?
It’s OK. Most motorcyclists get it.
I ride my bike knowing I am invisible and drivers don’t give a rat’s arse.
Of course, some motorcyclists don’t get it, and they’re the ones who end up wedged in your radiator, telling Social media how it wasn’t their fault.
I hate those dickheads. I really do. Almost as much as I hate the driving dickhead who is blind.
But when the driving dickhead ends up in court to defend his charge of Negligent Driving or maybe even Culpable Driving, he’s going to tell His or Her Honour he didn’t see the bike, right?
And it will be the truth. He didn’t see the bike.
But it won’t matter, because he’s just admitted guilt. And the fact he’s a dickhead.
Which is all well and good, but it doesn’t make the motorcyclist re-growing his organs or re-learning how to walk feel any better.
So not-seeing motorcyclists, who really aren’t invisible, is pretty much Number One with a bullet on the hit-parade of things that shits me.
But there’s more to that list…
TEXTING ON YOUR PHONE
One day, just when you’re updating your Facebook status because you’re bored sitting in traffic, something terrible might happen. A gloved hand may reach through your window, grab your Smartphone and throw it under a truck. A brutal lecture full of cuss-words on the evil of texting while driving may or may not follow. Your car-mirror may end up on the road in pieces. There may well be tears and wailing on your part.
Don’t text and drive. Your messages and updates are not more important than paying attention on the road. Being a hot Instagram Influencer will not make any difference. That phone is toast.
When riders slip between lines of stationary traffic, they are not breaking any law. It may make drivers a little crazy they do this, and they’d be more satisfied if we sat in traffic like everyone else and waited our damn turn. But that’s not how it works. Drivers are not in traffic. They are traffic, as far as we’re concerned. Traffic that is invariably trying to kill us.
So motorcyclists filter for two important reasons. The first is they’re terrified of being rear-ended by dickheads texting on their phones or feral mums slapping manners into their kids in the back-seat.
A low-speed rear-ender into another car is nothing more than an inconvenience and an exchange of details for the drivers. The same rear-ender into a bike is a whole world of screaming for the rider.
The second reason riders filter is we are actively reducing congestion on the road. Most of the time drivers need do nothing. Just sit there in your car. We’ll get past, or we shall wait until there is space. It’s nice if you edge over a bit, but you don’t have to. It’s not nice when you edge over to block our progress. You might lose a mirror. Be nice.
TOSSING STUFF OUT THE WINDOW
All sorts of stuff is blithely flung from the windows of cars every day. In four decades of riding, I have been hit in the face with everything from lit cigarette butts, to bowls of cereal, to nasty used nappies. A mostly full Starbucks coffee once found its way onto my chest. I don’t blame the tosser for heaving it. It’s pretty chuckable coffee. But he could have waited until he found a bin.
Of course, it’s illegal to litter, but that’s a matter for the police. Getting hit in the face with milky muesli is something I might take up with you at the next set of lights way before the police get involved.
It’s one of the few times I’m keen to become an eco-terrorist. You will not enjoy that. Shut-up. I’m saving koalas.
No-one enjoys this, except maybe the actual tailgater. Generally, motorcyclists will accelerate away from you if you do tailgate them. Unless they are L-platers, in which case they can’t accelerate away from you because they’re not allowed to ride bikes that accelerate much. And they’re too scared to do that. Nor are they permitted to lane-filter. So they are at your mercy and they are terrified. So they will spend far too much time staring at your tailgating bastardry in their mirrors, won’t pay attention to where they are going, and when they crash, it will be your fault. So that might keep you awake at night. And I hope it does.
Lawn-clippings, paint-chips, chunks of particle board, manure-laden soil, sharp gravel, roofing nails, and plastic buckets with dried Gyprock in them – all of them have found their way into me and others like me. Without exception, these have all been terribly negative and painful experiences for everyone concerned, including the person responsible for the uncovered load.
Why don’t you cover the bloody thing? Oh, you’re just going “up the road”?
Fair enough then. Perhaps a lit cigarette through your open window will help keep you amused on that short journey?
By Boris Mihailovic