“S’not my fault!”
Yes it is. Take responsibility
By Rennie Scaysbrook
If you’re reading this, you’re probably into motorcycles. You might even own one and ride it regularly. If so, you’ve doubtless met other humans who ride and may have even spoken to them about this binding subject.
No doubt, then, you’ve heard their BS stories of bravado and near misses and super massive 12 o’clock wheelies, brah…
I can handle that. Hell, all my mates and I are part of the same verbal fart cloud that makes the rest of society hate us. Being able to talk it up is part and parcel of riding. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, hey?
But there’s one part of the flatulence I simply can’t stomach any more. It’s the blame of everyone else for the fate that befalls them when they and their shitbox motorcycle go crashing into next week.
Over 32 years of riding, I’m fairly positive I’ve heard most of them. “He just pulled out in front of me, man!” “the tires weren’t hot”, or my favorite, “she was staring at her phone the whole time!”
That last one I’ve had spewed at me more times than I’ve woken up with an ear-splitting hangover. It should come as no surprise the majority of drivers—yes, that means most of them on the roads today—spend at least a small if not large portion of their time staring at the ’Gram or FaceCrap or texting or sending those dumbass Snapchats with the dog face filter. Those I don’t mind, because a cartoon dog face can be a great improvement for some people.
A few weeks back I had to lane split down California’s I-5 from Ventura to Irvine at 6 p.m. about as much fun as sticking hungry lizards in my—well, you know what. I was right up the guts and then some of the worst city traffic on the face of the planet. As an experiment, I counted the amount of lit up faces I saw in the driver’s seat. I got over it after all of about 10 minutes because I was moving along pretty good. The odds of me getting hit by one of them didn’t bare thinking about.
The fact mobile phones are now just a regular part of driving should be drilled into every rider’s brain. It should make you take action before the action takes you. Getting in front of and then out of the way of those phone freeway wingnuts became a game to warn off the boredom. See a face, pass it, leave it, do it again. If I was away from them there was no chance of them ending up with my bike wedged between their phone and index finger.
But it’s not just phones that’s pissed me off. Some riders have this moronic sense of self righteousness, like they can do no wrong and whatever hell lands at their feet is of someone else’s doing.
I’d say in the last 10 years I’ve picked up about five bikes off the road and I don’t once remember the rider telling me he’d simply overcooked it. It was either road conditions or tires or drivers of the bloody Loch Ness monster asking him for tree-fiddy. I smashed by dad’s Yamaha XJR1200 square up the bum of a stationary Toyota Camry at 50 mph back in 2001 and had no excuse for other than I stuffed up. What else could I say?
The actual story was I saw another XJR coming the other direction, a green one, and I thought, ‘damn, that looks sweet!’ Then, bam! Head through the screen, bike in the trunk. My fault.
I was recently told a story of a guy being all butt hurt because he nailed the side of a car. Fair enough, I thought. That was until I heard the guy say he was doing “about 120” down a country road. That immediately made me think: does this idiot not have any idea what the term “closing speed” means? He does realize that if he is doing 120 mph in what I can only imagine is a 50 mph road at best then the guy in the car probably can’t see him until he’s wearing the front of an S 1000 RR, doesn’t he? If he wants to pin it at 120, go for it, it’s damn easy to do on a modern superbike, but don’t go saying it’s the car driver’s fault for not seeing you.
I will grant you some of the crashes that happen are simply wrong place, wrong time. Planes fall out of the sky that had nothing to do with Bill and Wendy joining the mile-high club in economy. But most of the time, riders crash for two reasons: they lose control of the motorcycle they are riding, or they leave their safety up to everyone else around them. The former can be fixed by doing something like a riding course to learn some new tricks. If you haven’t done one, do it.
But the latter, well, if you’re one of those, you may as well get financial advice from the Greek parliament.