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There Is No War

I guess I'm about to become some sort of devil's advocate in this matter, since it's both unfair and silly to analyze the topic of “road rights” from a single point of view. Fortunately, I drive both cars and motorcycles, and even more, I also ride my bike a lot around the city, therefore I believe that my opinion on the subject is somewhat unbiased.
To be honest, I have to admit that I'm pretty annoyed to listen to the same old song time and again: car drivers are almost hunting us (bikers) down and they have absolutely no respect for us. Well, that simply won't do, because a large number of accidents are triggered by rider error, sometimes coupled with other external factors.

I am positively sure that nobody is hunting down bikers, save for some people with mental disorders, maybe. It's really disquieting to meet or hear riders who strongly believe that they are “more equal” than car drivers; this is pure fallacy, and the result of such thinking does not help the two-wheeled community in any way. Even worse, car drivers tend to get really angry as they hear such nonsense... and the prejudice grows on, stronger and blunter.

It's simply a matter of understanding that both motorcycles and cars have the exact same right to exist on a public road, each being driven in its own specific manner and accordingly to the law regulations. Fact is that both categories will break the law ever so often and speed, change lanes without “checking and blinking” and so on, the list can go on forever.

Since there's absolutely no way traffic would ever become as neat and peaceful like any sane person could dream, it all falls down to the very operators of the vehicles present on the road. There's absolutely no law enforcement strong (and present) enough to ward off all the mishaps on the road, and that's a fact. Police are virtually helpless as a biker blazes by at 200 kph (~125 mph) and crashes; it's the rider's decision to “fly low” and he or she should be capable of assuming any risks and consequences.

The same with a car driven recklessly, changing lanes or making an U-turn in a restricted road zone, cutting off a bike. He who thinks that the car driver had anything with the bike, is a fool, I'm not afraid to call him so; instead of a motorcycle, there could have been a truck full of hardwood logs, and the result of that crash would be terribly different, much to the car driver's loss.

Everybody makes mistakes on the road; it's just that the bikers are less protected, and they get hurt much easier than a car passenger. “It comes with the job” I'd say, with the very choice they've made. As I decide to lose two wheels and ride just two, I should never expect that the remaining car drivers would instantly think about how exposed I am and try to “protect” me.

Such a thought is not only pure and empty wishful thinking, but also dangerous and a very good proof that I, as a bike rider, am more like a ticking time bomb, an accident waiting to happen. When I mount my motorcycle I am more focused on my own safety than going paranoid; there's no driver out there on the streets prowling and waiting for me to show up in his line of sight. There's me, and my bike, and the road, and possibly some other fellow-riders and we all must do so that we make it home in one piece and with no groans of pain.

Some might say there is a silent war between bikers and car drivers; it has been going for a long time and it's fed only by prejudice and failure to assess some of the most elementary facts and precautions. With riders putting themselves in the way of danger and car drivers being often less aware that they should, accidents will keep on rolling.

One of the simplest and easiest ways to avoid them lies with the vehicle operators themselves: paying more attention to traffic and being more polite. Drivers could understand better that a biker splitting lanes at 10 kph (6mph) means one less vehicle in front of their car, traffic with a slightly better flow and not an act of sheer impoliteness on one hand. On the other hand, riders should acknowledge that they're smaller, harder to spot in traffic and therefore should take better care of themselves.

There's no real war out there on the roads, we all are brethren and should at least try to get along. Ride safely, drive safely!

 
 
 
 
 

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