Carefree Biker or Careless Poser?
It’s almost every day that our car-driving friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc., have an unpleasant road-occurrence to share, which, more often than not, has a person on two wheels in the middle of it. Of course, by that I am not at all inferring that car drivers are any better; far from it in fact, as most seem to have cranial capacities inversely proportional to the displacement of their cars’ engines. But it’s the two-wheeler riders who generally get the short end of the stick, be it their mistake or others’. And despite this extreme vulnerability, we see people riding around with utter disdain for everything but their ego. Therefore, the onus lies on us bikers to identify and avoid the blunders to not only keep the country’s mortality rate in check but also to better the deteriorating image of bikes and bikers.
The list of mistakes we make while riding can never be exhaustive, so I’ve narrowed them down to four instead, which I feel warrant an immediate corrective action.
Not strapping the helmet properly
I know what to think of you if your helmet happens to be the cheapest article of your attire. I also know that you wear it only because of cops. But I fail to understand why would you not fasten the chin strap? Is it the, er, double chin? Or you aren’t able to conveniently chew and spit-spray the traffic behind with your favourite paan masala? Whatever the reason might be, I request you to understand that a helmet, only if it remains on your head in the event of a crash, will save your head from resembling a mashed watermelon. So please do yourself a favour and strap the helmet properly. Also, if your head is not all that valuable to you, perhaps your wallet is – yes, even a loose strap can get you fined.
Riding in blind spots of bigger vehicles
Blind spots are areas that are not covered in a vehicle’s rear-view mirrors and most riders remain oblivious to the dangers of riding in that space until they finally get to learn the hard way. The situation gets compounded by the fact that most car drivers keep the wing mirrors closed. So, what’s the way out, you ask? It’s simple – never ride parallel to a car or follow one too closely. It may also help to visualize big ‘KEEP DISTANCE’ stickers all around the vehicle that you are about to overtake.
I am a cyborg
You may feel indestructible on your iron steed but the fact is that you are as exposed as any other motorcyclist. So while images of Arnie riding the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy flash by every time you thumb-start that long-stroke motor and make you a nuisance for others on road, please keep reminding yourself that the Terminator got 15 stitches from a minor accident in real life; yes, he wasn’t wearing a helmet…
Right to live is more important than right of way
Even if you are certain that it’s your right of way, don’t assume that the car coming from the opposite direction will stop in time. Proceed with caution as even a small nudge can throw you off the bike. Remember that reaching home to your family in one piece is way more important than making a futile effort of teaching someone a thing or two about civic sense.
Keep riding. Keep breathing. And if this makes sense to you, do share it with your friends…