What in the World Could Make Roads Safer for Bikes?
We keep on hearing all sorts of officials speaking the big words on road safety, but if you take a look at the plethora of dashcam records on You Tube, some sort of mad laughter seems to lurk. This magic word, “safety” is as big as it is easily uttered by cars drivers u-turning in the middle of the road and insane motorcycle riders blazing at highway speed in urban areas. To what extent?
Millions in property damages each year, hundreds if not thousands of lives lost, orphan children and families torn apart, grieving husbands and wives and the list can go on forever. Car manufacturers battle their way up to the top-safety specs of the NCAP certifications, and motorcycle producers add the latest in ABS and traction control systems to their machines... and the end product is still the same.
Because nothing could ever compensate for riding or driving like a mindless amoeba! Once you're set on turning your car to the left cutting across 4 lanes, it's already over. Like it's also over when you feel the adrenaline rush of doing 100 mph (160 km/h) or more in the city.
Both riders and drivers wave the banner of stupidity as they believe they're so ninja they can operate their vehicles despite their high alcohol blood content. This list could span across two more pages, and I am sure almost each one of you has a story to tell. But it' s back to the question: how could we make roads safer? And the car drivers themselves could benefit from this, too.
I may sound a little bit on the ranting side, but thinking about the motophobe France law-makers, I believe we’d be proving ourselves a bunch of idiots in the absence of a wave of righteous indignation.
All the crap with the hi-viz jackets, later changed for armbands, a minimum of 150 sq. cm (23 sq. inches) of reflective material, and similar ineptitudes... why? To hide the lack of efficient solutions. It would have been truly nice if we could make a trip in the future just to prove these thick-headed bastards that dressing a rider and his bike in Xmas LED lights will not prevent the idiot car driver from cutting him off. It's not about not being seen: it's about not looking!
Like it's the case with high-power motorcycles. Well, it makes perfect sense to try and limit the number of fresh riders getting killed after losing control of a 150 hp bike. But banning sales of bike more powerful than 100 hp in a country such as France doesn't seem to cut it, not the right way, at least.
Guess what? Since a 100 hp or slightly less bike can easily do 200 km/h (~125 mph) and crash to smithereens... what difference does it make whether the stupid rider reaches this speed 1 second earlier. You really think that banning 100+ hp bikes limits the number of accidents? It may be so, but the percent is most likely hilariously low.
Of course, it's the ABS laws and the like: as far as I am concerned, having a bike with ABS is good, but this does not make roads much safer. Of course, one could stop better and maybe, just maybe, avoid a crash. And I stress this maybe because most crashes happen in just instants, with very few of them leaving enough space for braking such as to prove the capabilities of the anti-locking brakes. So you see, ABS helps, but it does not make the roads that much safer.
Just like the traction control systems, it really helps preventing cars and bikes crash on their own, when their operators make mistakes. But when a speeding bike crashes into a car making an illegal turn and the rider dies, while the car passengers are unscathed, being protected by the safer bodywork of the new X model, speaking about safety is pure, unaltered cynicism.
The problem is not in gear, and definitely not in the vehicles: it's the human factor. Because in 99% of all cases, a bike or car becomes unsafe because of its operator. So... which way to go?
Some of those really concerned about this put all their hopes in the integrated communication system which will finally be able to anticipate danger, by analyzing traffic and being in constant contact with each other. Automatic braking and similar technologies may help reducing casualties.
Others dream about the self-driving cars on special highways. This would, of course, eliminate the human factor from the driving and could be a way for safer transportation. Myself I am not that much of a fan of trading in driving for transportation, and I know there are many like me. And if we think about motorbikes... this seems much of a nonsense, to be honest.
Maybe a stricter law enforcement could scare drivers and riders into obeying road regulations. Harsher punishment for breaking the law and causing extensive damage or casualties may be one of the solutions. We must admit that we all know at least one guy who is right just because he or she is scared about the legal consequences.
Longer suspension periods for drivers and riders causing brutal crashes, higher fines and even jail could be a solution. Have these backed up by road surveillance cameras and judges less susceptible to lend an ear to the BS attorneys usually come up with, especially in cases which are clear as daylight, and maybe things will start to change.
Finally, it's mostly to the newbies: getting a driving license should really mean that the respective person knows more than how to operate a car or motorbike; he or she should be able to offer a timely and appropriate response to critical traffic situations, car or bike as is the case. And for crying out loud, have all the scooter riders pass the same ton of tests!
Phew! I feel so much better now. Please feel free to add your own opinions in this discussion: you never know when a good idea springs up. Now, I'll still be riding my bike until snowfall and I bid you ride safe, as well.
comments written so far
Bikers risk their own lives as well as other precious lives on road.
They are the most dangerous creatures on the road.