This post is basically a glorified warning. We all know that left-turning cars are some of the most dangerous situations for a street rider, and are the most likely to take out an experienced rider. Today’s warning, however, has to do with stop light controlled intersections that should, technically, be some of the safer “cross-traffic” situations we encounter.
Near my part time job there is one such intersection. Mind you, in this area, ALL of the cross intersections are lit, in both directions. You would think that cars would be aware of the lights since it’s not a random place or unexpected. Despite that, however, in less than a month I have seen two collisions happen at this very intersection. Both times, a vehicle traveling in one direction or the other completely blew through the red light. Not only did they not even slow down, they were speeding – nearly twice the limit.
With a stoplight every block, that means they were gunning it from the previous intersection and charging down a street lined with businesses and houses, and paying ZERO attention to, well, anything outside of their vehicle. Both of these collisions, had a motorcyclist been the unlucky victim, could have very well killed a rider.
The simple fact that people in their cars are so self-absorbed is terrifying. It’s far more important to them to be updating Facebook, texting their friend, looking at their maps, or rushing to their destination than it is to pay attention to the road. They don’t consider that their actions could end someone’s life! It’s not only motorcyclists or other drivers – these same people could have just as easily killed a legally-crossing pedestrian or bicyclist!
As the holidays approach and drivers become even more distracted, or are perhaps traveling to areas they are unfamiliar with, please exercise extreme caution everywhere you go. Take the time to slow down and look a little closer, watch your 6, and keep your head and eyes on a swivel. While we can’t prevent every collision from ever happening, there is a lot that we can control. Other drivers will never worry about our safety as much as we will, so I urge all fellow riders to take extra precautions this holiday season and be extra vigilant. Remember, saving that extra 2 minutes by rushing through things will never be worth it if those 2 minutes could ensure you reach your destination safely.
Wear something bright and reflective. Slow near intersections, driveways, or anywhere you have reduced visibility. Assume cars are going to do exactly what they should NOT be doing. Be prepared for the unplanned reactions from other drivers as they suddenly realize they are passing their destination. Wear all your gear – all the time. You never know when something may happen, and you don’t want to be wishing you “had been” wearing that piece of gear that may have saved you from a major injury.
Enjoy your holidays, but please, exercise a bit of extra caution when you are out and about.