To All My Buddies Who Believe I Ignore Them

A few days ago I failed to reply when a neighbor of mine nodded at me smiling and said "good day". I was stopped at a traffic light, early in the morning, getting ready to take off, and I realized what happened only as the lady was strolling on seeing to her own business.
The next day I met her around the block, greeted her and explained what happened because I didn't want her to believe I was THAT impolite. She smiled and said that everything was fine, but I really doubt she understood what I had told her.

As I was riding to work, I remembered just how many times people I know asked me why wasn't I responding to their salutes. And the times when I wasn't riding a motorcycle yet, and waved at riders I knew, only to never get a reaction in response.

After I got my A license I started to understand how things worked, and all of a sudden I figured everything out. Most of the riders who don't salute back after being hailed by pedestrians usually aren't aware of their buddies actions!

If you've been riding for some time now and are not the "look at me, I am a motorcyclist" type, then you know what I am talking about. When on two wheels, there are so many things to check out if you want to stay on the safe side of life... as safe as riding is, for what it’s worth.

Yes, from time to time, we who ride do look sideways, checking out girls or guys, as is the case, but those moments are truly the exception to the rule. When on a motorbike, eyes must be constantly watching the road ahead, the surroundings and we must even check what's going on behind us.

One can find hundreds or thousands of videos that show how quickly things can go wrong in that split second when a rider is not checking out his surroundings.

The enemy list is huge!

Potholes, motorists cutting you off or other riders making dumb maneuvers, jaywalkers or oil spills, people crashing or slowing down ahead, with or without a reason, dogs, cats and other animals, all these (and a s***load more) go on the list of things that can cause a rider to crash.

Seriously, the list is so long that it's not even worth attempting to enumerate all the "enemies" of a rider. Suffice to say that there are people who can only ride safely when they have both hands on the bars. In fact, one of my riding buddies is a great example.

Once I asked him, "Hey dude, when we ride out through the country and meet other bikes, why don't you salute back?" "Well, I would," said he, "but in the very moment I lift my left hand off the grip, you'll be gathering me from a ditch. I can't ride with the right hand only!"

Then I understood why this chap felt so uneasy at times, and why he would ride with his face shield shut even on a torrid mid-summer day on slow, winding mountain roads...

Awareness and paying attention to the road is what keeps us on two wheels... so you can wave at us

Some of the folks who aren't riding are having a hard time understanding that a motorcyclist may not be able to acknowledge them even though he or she sees them. A rider's brain is gradually training to try and spot the potential threats and road hazards, and would effortlessly ignore other things.

As for riders saluting other riders, you should also know that other bikes are perceived as "active elements" in traffic, and therefore, included in the big picture.

So next time when you are on the sidewalk and see one of your buddies rolling down the street, don't expect him or her to actually look at you, even though they seem to be looking in your direction. They might be very well checking with their mirrors, or scouting ahead to see if they can pass.

And by all means, don't assume that riders are being too full of themselves when they don't respond to you. I don't have statistic data, but I would guesstimate that in 99% of the cases they either didn't see you or were busy doing something else important for the ride.

I hope all my buddies read this, too, and smile.

PS: Oh, and if you wonder what can go wong, here is this unbelievable Harley-Davidson crash for a measure.
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