Accidents Happen to All Vehicles

I’ve never understood the “Kill a biker, go to jail” thing and I defiantly didn’t get Steve Dupree’s column, “Liars!” [Rubber Side Down, April 2009]. What are people like Dupree trying to say? That because I’m large enough to be seen that you shouldn’t hit me? That’s crazy. Using that logic, then surely cars would be large enough to be seen, too, and we’d never have any traffic accidents at all because everyone is large enough to be seen... that is, until a mistake is made.

Have you never been in a situation where you were the cause of a close call and thought to yourself, or maybe even said it out loud, “Man, I didn’t even see that guy, I almost took him out.”? I know I have. As a matter of fact, it just happened to me the other day and scared the shit out of me. The fact is that drivers run stop signs, by accident, and they also change lanes without looking or signaling and they don’t always see everything... no lie.

Here’s the bottom line: Pulling out of your driveway onto a street is the beginning of a dangerous journey, whether you are in a truck or a car or on your motorcycle or your bicycle. Roads are crowded, traffic is moving fast, people are distracted by a number of things (many which should be against the law, in my opinion); some drivers are stoned, drunk, or sleep-deprived and the vast majority of people in cars and trucks have never traveled in anything but. They don’t understand (or chose not to care) what it’s like to be cut off or tailgated by something that could easily kill you. I know this and you know this. but we still get on our bikes and ride.

If you want to fight for your safety as a motorcycle rider, then fight to outlaw cell phones on the road, fight to outlaw eating in a car, fight to have tailgating laws enforced, fight to outlaw anything that doesn’t have to do with driving. But don’t think that just because you ride a bike that you are special, because you are not—you are just another vehicle sharing the road and making it more congested.

Eric Ohlgren, Knoxville

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