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My Daddy Rides a Harley. Please Share the Road With Him.

Updated on September 24, 2013
Our daughter and her daddy. First time sitting on a motorcycle.
Our daughter and her daddy. First time sitting on a motorcycle. | Source

Dear Motorists of the World,

Last month my daddy was riding his motorcycle home to me and was rear-ended by an SUV. The driver of the vehicle was distracted by her phone and didn't notice that daddy had slowed to make a turn.

This is the third time daddy has been struck by a car while riding his bike. In all three cases the drivers of the cars were violating traffic laws. Luckily he wasn't hurt this time.

Why am I writing this? To raise more awareness about sharing the roads safely with motorcyclists. Bikers are people too.

They are bankers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and dear friends.

One week after my daddy's accident, another biker was not so fortunate. He was struck from behind by an intoxicated driver, (also in an SUV). The rider was thrown almost 200 feet and was killed on impact.

This was only a few miles away from where my daddy was hit. The difference in this case was that both the car and the motorcycle were going at highway speed, whereas daddy was in town.

Even in town, at a slow speed, he could have lost control of his bike if he had been a few inches closer to making that turn. That's how close my daddy came to not coming home that day.

Motorcycles Are Here to Stay. Lets Keep the Riders Too

With gas prices soaring, more and more people are buying motorcycles. They aren't just for leisure or show. They are an economical alternative to driving automobiles.

In recent years, emissions standards and new design practices are increasingly making motorcycles eco-friendly as well. People of all age groups are ditching their gas guzzlers in favor of two ( and sometimes three ) wheels.

With every bike, there is at least one rider. There may be two. Automobile drivers may not like motorcycles, but that doesn't make it okay to endanger the humans on board. Motorcycles have been a common part of our world since the early 1900s. They may be a bigger part of our future. Hopefully, the riders will be too.

Motorcycles Are Still Taking the Rap

Even though motorcycles are becoming increasingly more popular, they still have a bad reputation when it comes to safety. When operated correctly, motorcycles can be just as safe as cars and trucks.

While there may be some ill-informed persons who still believe that motorcyclists are solely to blame for all accidents, studies from the National Highway Safety Administration (U.S.) do not concur with this assumption.

The only truly dangerous motorcyclist is an intoxicated rider or a distracted rider. This is true for any motorized vehicle or heavy equipment operator. The message is clear: If you drink, don't drive or ride!

Remember, in the time it takes you to read a text message, a motorcycle could have entered your blind spot. Texting and driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence!

Even with safety features and protective equipment, bikers are still vulnerable to other vehicles.
Even with safety features and protective equipment, bikers are still vulnerable to other vehicles. | Source

More Bike Accidents Caused By Automobiles

A leading cause of motorcycle-related crashes is negligent automobile operators. In most instances, these wrecks were caused by distracted drivers. Apparently, the most common types of accidents happen when drivers turn or drive across the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Even though motorcycles can stop sooner than larger vehicles in some instances, a sudden stop or a swerve can cause a rider to lose control of the bike. If a group of motorcycles are close together, such as at an intersection, this can cause a series of accidents.

In 2010, 51% of all motorcycle accidents were caused by other vehicles. 39% of those accidents happened because the vehicle was crossing or turning into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Other causes are head-on collisions and rear-end collisions. It is crucial for drivers of automobiles to look at least twice before pulling through or turning at intersections or across traffic.

Motorcycles are equipped with the same safety features as four-wheeled vehicles. By law, motorcycles must be operated with the headlight on at all times to improve visibility. They must have brake lights, turn signals and horns. However these safe devices are useless unless the surrounding drivers of automobiles are aware and alert.

Safety Tips

  • Never Drink and Drive
  • Don't text or read texts while driving
  • Look twice or more before turning or crossing at intersections
  • If you are listening to loud music, you may not hear a bike, so be sure to watch closely
  • Always assume there may be a motorcycle nearby
  • When passing cars, make sure you can see ahead of them. A large vehicle can obscure a motorcycle from your sight.
  • Give plenty of warning when you make turns
  • Try to avoid sudden stops
  • Don't ride too close behind motorcycles
  • Avoid crowding or otherwise forcing a bike into traffic or onto a the shoulder where they could easily flip
  • Be extra vigilant at night, and on cloudy days

Motorcycle riders have to pay close attention to potential road hazards.
Motorcycle riders have to pay close attention to potential road hazards.

What You Should Know about Motorcycles On The Road

Along with the misconception that motorcycles can stop on a dime, here are some other assumptions drivers make about motorcyclists 'road behavior':

Weaving-Doesn't mean intoxication. They are gently weaving to avoid road hazards that you cannot see in your car. A small oil slick, a handful of loose gravel, a glass bottle, or an uneven piece of asphalt are all potential hazards to a biker. You may also see them weave closer to the inside of the lane or toward the outside. This is to avoid uneven or worn asphalt or to give them better visibility.

Ganging Up-Bikers don't ride in groups to be intimidating to other drivers. They ride in groups because they enjoy the companionship of other motorcycles. It is also safer, especially on long trips. Riding in a group makes the motorycles more noticeable by other drivers, and bikers can alert each other to hazards. Riding in groups has also become a way to deter people from hassling motorcyclists when they have to stop for breaks.

Bikers also travel in groups for events such as charity runs. In these cases, they are following a set course that has been cleared by all law officials along that route. Usually they will be in sets of ten or more, but not all bikes can travel at the same speed. Just because you think the entire group has passed, be on the look-out for more smaller groups or lone bikers following behind.

Goofing Around-You may have seen bikers doing some pretty interesting choreography on the road. They might be traveling side by side, only to switch places, fall back, or allow other bikers to go ahead of them. They aren't playing around. They may choose to return to a staggered or single file position due to wind gusts or traffic and construction in the neighboring lane.

They often fall back if a vehicle in front of them is emitting too much exhaust or throwing back debris. Don't just watch the motorcycles, watch the traffic beside or in front of the bike as well to determine how they might have to react on short notice. They may also be trying to stay in YOUR line of visibility.

Bad People - While it is true that some felonious biker gangs do exist, most motorcycle enthusiasts are simply people who like the freedom of riding in the open air. They come from all walks of life, income groups, and age groups. They organize charities and benefits, raise families, go to church, coach little league baseball or rescue homeless animals. Just like any other driver, they deserve the chance to travel the road in comfort and safety.

She needs her Daddy to be safe so that he can teach her to ride someday.
She needs her Daddy to be safe so that he can teach her to ride someday. | Source

Before You Go

It only takes a view extra seconds of your life to look over your shoulder and check your mirrors. The same amount of seconds it takes to look at your phone, the radio dial or your reflection in the mirror.

Those seconds could be spent saving lives. Remember that the protective gear a biker wears cannot compete with the reinforced body of an automobile. A simple swipe that might only put a dent in your fender could kill a rider.

My daddy rides a motorcycle, and when I grow up, I want him to be here to teach me to ride too. Please make the roads safer not only for today's bikers, but for those of the future.

Sincerely,

BikerBaby

Update

One month after my daughter and I wrote this, three of our friends were involved in a bad collision. A car used a right signal light, then turned left into the lane the motorcycles were using. The friend in front was able to swerve, but the couple behind him crashed into the car.

The guy suffered broken ribs, and his wife a broken wrist and a punctured leg. The police report in the paper cites that the lady driving the automobile knew her left signal light wasn't working, so used her right one, thinking that it wouldn't be a problem.

Please do not be this irresponsible. Maintain the safety features on your car as soon as possible, and in the meantime, use the proper hand signals! These bikers were very fortunate. Others are not.

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    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Well said.

      There is, to me, a contradiction between, "When operated correctly, motorcycles can be just as safe as cars and trucks," and, "Remember that the protective gear a biker wears cannot compete with the reinforced body of an automobile. A simple swipe that might only put a dent in your fender could kill a rider." That difference needs to be kept in mind by all.

      When I learned to drive a car, someone taught me to mentally draw a big car around each motorcycle on the road and to not get close to that imaginary car.

      The first funeral I attended, when 6, was a neighbor man who was riding his motorcycle on a busy city four-lane street and was passing a semi truck on the right and was in a blind spot when the truck driver made a right turn to get gas at a filling station.

      A few years ago my sister's oldest offspring died when he went for a joy ride before supper in the mountains outside LA, took a curve a little too fast, went over the line, and ran head-on into a paramedic or emergencies truck, and went with his bike under it, whereupon his gas tank flamed. He was in his 30s and left behind -- waiting for him to get home for supper -- his wife and toddler son. My sister learned that to loose a child is unbearably painful no matter at what age.

      Joy ride with care.

      Everything you say is right on. Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you for your thought-provoking comment. I suppose I should have worded that a bit better. Motorcycles themselves are as safe as a car or truck, as in they have the same features. But only when operated by the law, and away from other traffic. Both incidents you cited have the rider taking a slight risk. Passing on the right, and speeding. Sadly, a lot of bikers take those slight risks frequently.

      I'm very sorry to hear about your sister's son. The death of any family member or friend is tragic. Three days after I wrote this hub, one of our good friends and his wife were in a crash. They were following a car that decided to make a right turn without signal lights, then halfway through the turn whipped around into a left turn. It didn't give him time to stop or slow the bike and they crashed into the back tire. Miraculously, neither one of them was hurt beyond some scrapes and bruises. The driver told the cops she knew her lights were out but didn't think it was a problem.

      It is people like that driver to whom I directed this. I'm not saying that motorcycles can't be dangerous. They are. As are cars and other vehicles handled improperly. There is no excuse for negligent drivers OR negligent riders.

      I like your suggestion about imagining an imaginary car space around the bike. If more people would do that, a lot more lives would be saved. Thank you for sharing, and pointing out my contradiction.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Great hub! Hubby and I have owned a Harley for about 8 years now. I was always a little afraid of riding my came to love it! Hubby is an excellent driver, it's everyone else that you have to beware of. Hubby had a wreck when someone's dog ran out in front of him, with no time for him to hit the brakes or even say, "Oh s--t!" He was injured, but luckily was able to come home from the hospital that same night. The bike was totalled. He bought it back from the insurance company and fixed it back up. I haven't been riding but once or twice since. About a week after hubby's accident a friend of our was killed on his when he rear ended a truck. It was his fault, but would not have been a fatal accident if he was not on a motorcycle. I just can't get comfortable riding again. This is an excellent hub and I hope everyone reads it! Voted up, useful and sharing! Have a great day! :)

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for the great comment! I agree it is hard to get back on after an accident. Having an alert passenger does help the rider though.

      That is actually how my husband and I got together. We were just friends and he was always pestering me to ride with him, and I always said no. One day he was coming home and a woman T-boned him at an intersection. He was in the hospital three days with broken ribs and some stitches, and his bike was crunched.

      They told him he should give up riding and that no one would want to ride with him because he was bad luck. So I told him I would ride with him as soon as he got a new bike.

      The rest, as they say, is history. :)

    • pocono foothills profile image

      John Fisher 4 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

      Although, I don't ride a motorcycle myself, several of my friends and co-workers do. Therefore, I share your concerns and believe there should be more focus on making other drivers aware that motorcyclists need to be given safety considerations by other people sharing the roadways with them.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      The state of Florida passed a law several years ago making it mandatory to wear a helmet, but because of the public outcry, the law was revoked. Now the riders around here don't wear helmets or protective clothing. I think that is a mistake. My husband used to ride a Harley, and I stayed scared to death all the time.

      Good Hub with some good advice.

      I voted this Hub UP, and will share.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Wonderful hub, I hope everyone heeds your advice. There is no doubt that the biker is much more vulnerable than auto passengers. People might wonder why they take the risk. All I can say is, for those who get it no explanation is necessary, for those who don't not explanation is possible.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @mary615--Oklahoma is a no-helmet state as well. I am guilty of riding without, which I know is not smart. I have only been riding three years, and in that time I have known four people who have wrecked on bikes. The only one that died was wearing a helmet. I'm not saying they aren't important, but they definitely don't insure survival.

      I highly encourage all new riders to wear helmets and protective leather. If you start riding with a helmet, it is much easier. Old-school bikers who started out before helmets were a law, find that they have a difficult time adapting to the decrease in their peripheral vision, and that the new "blinder" effect can lead to some road mistakes.

      Therefore, I guess it is important to add to the hub that bikers in helmets do have some blind spots and cars need to consider that as well.

      Thank you for the vote and the comment!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @ Sherry--That is a great comment! I think you have explained it perfectly. The same goes for any hobby or pursuit with any possibility of injury. People are injured and killed everyday bicycling, sky-diving, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, and in sports. If someone is hurt playing football or at gymnastics people don't say "Why did you take that stupid risk?" They cheer them to get up and try harder.

      Personally, I wouldn't want to break my back across a balance beam or have a bunch of three hundred pound guys squash me into the ground, but I understand that those people take those risks because it is their passion. Motorcycles are the same way. If you love them, you feel its worth it, if not, then you wonder why people are crazy enough to do it. :)

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      I live in S California, I have ridden motorcycles, I still have a motorcycle license, but the motorcyclists today are not the innocent.

      In California the stupidest MV law allows motorcyclists to share a lane with a car. This is dangerous, yet it is legal. The rice rocket young adult drivers use the speed of their bikes to break several laws in the matter of seconds.

      In the carpool lane, which motorcycles are allowed they ride on the double yellow as if it was a lane itself. They drive through traffic at higher speeds than the traffic they are passing. They are hard to see coming, especially when moving fast.

      MY point is that it is the cyclist that should do more watching as they are the moving target.

      Most of the Harley Drivers are more like your description.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @pocono-Thanks for the comment. The world would be a much safer place for cars and motorcycles alike if everyone took the time and patience to be equally patient and observant.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @ib radmasters--Sounds like the laws traffic laws are more dangerous than the bikers or car drivers.

      Sport's motorcycles are harder to see, and are more difficult to hear in noisy traffic situations. We have a few sport's bike riders that fall in with us sometimes, and as long as they aren't showing off we try to help them.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Well said, indeed! Does OK have a helmet law? Michigan, (the state I grew up in), recently got rid of theirs and it was quite upsetting for me to learn this. Not that I've been on a bike for years, but it just is so unsafe.

      Great hub and photos! I love the ' bikers have families' So true.

      Rated up/U/I

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      From one biker to another, this is awesome and so true! I used to ride a Suzuki, I never learned to drive I just liked to feel the freedom on my bike and I totally agree with all you say. I also ride a bicycle now I have got rid of my bike, it broke down and I couldn't afford to get another one or mend that one, but the principle is the same. I always tried to look in the eyes of people at crossroads, and nine times out of ten they just looked everywhere but at me, they just don't see bikes. It drives me mad! I remember when I was riding my bike, I saw a car come round the corner, two girls were giggling away and totally ignoring the road, I knew that they were going to hit me so I slowed right down, luckily I did, I went straight into the side of them! all they did was laugh and drive on! so important and so true, voted up! and shared, nell

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @Denise-No OK does not have a helmet law. Therefore, you see a lot more bikers wearing them. They like to make that choice for themselves, and I can understand that.

      Thanks for the comment, vote and ratings!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @ Nell--That is awful. I honestly want to beat drivers up that do stuff like that. We had a car full of women almost run us off the road one day, deliberately weaving in front of us, slowing down, speeding up, etc. Then they waited for us at the intersection and starting screaming out the window that they liked the motorcycles and laughing hysterically.

      And yes. They are just as rotten to bicyclists. Too bad there isn't a law against mean people and idiots.

    • kimberlie33 profile image

      Kimberlie Kacan 4 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      This is a great hub! I have family members who ride and it is something I secretly worry about every year. Though I know my aunt, uncles and cousins are cautious, they can't always control the cars around them.

      Thanks for posting this! Voted up!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Very interesting and informative hub! I enjoyed reading this. I agree with you that with these economic times there will be more and more motorcycles on the road. I have never experienced any bad motorcycle drivers. Most that I see on the road are careful drivers. I just don't like to see any riders without helmets on though. I hope your husband wears one when he is on the road. The photo of your husband and the baby is precious. She looks like she loves motorcycles already. Enjoy the autumn riding!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @kimberlie33-Thank you. I worry equally when my loved ones drive in cars too. For the same reason...there are some scary drivers out there that just don't care. Hope all of your riders and drivers stay safe!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      We ride motorcycles in our family and it is amazing how badly drivers attend to driving. When youngest son took the safety class he said "The one thing I learned the most about riding is to assume nobody sees you".

      Excellent reminder to drivers.

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

      Thank You for writing this Sharke! I share the road with your Daddy and people in cars just don't get it. I could go on and on about how many time people cut me off or drive too close to me....but I'll just end it here.

      Voted up and useful!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I have many bikers in the family and I almost lost one when a woman in a suburban was texting, ran a red light and struck him in the side. People just have too much going on when they are driving with phones, ipods, cigarettes, etc.. It is a scary world for bikers out there. Great hub!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @suzettenaples-thanks for the lovely comment. She does indeed love motorcycles and we are already teaching her about safety and setting good examples through our driving for how she should drive later to be respectful to motorcycles and other cars.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @tirelesstraveller--Thank you. And yes, your son is exactly right. Cars either can't or won't see most motorcycles. Ride safe and enjoy your motorcycles!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @tycoon sam-Glad to meet another enthusiast! I'm sure all of us bikers and passengers could write a series of hubs detailing all the times we had to deal with bad drivers. One time on a road trip to Eureka Springs, a woman in a pickup pulled out across our lane and just stopped when she saw us. We barely made it around her. Scary and ridiculous. Thanks for the votes and the comment!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @Tammy-so sorry to hear to hear your relative was hit, but thankful he was okay. People definitely need to keep their minds on the road! Thanks for the comment!

    • VeronicaFarkas profile image

      Veronica Roberts 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I'm glad that he's okay! I like that you did (most of) this from your daughter's perspective. I'm not sure why, but it hits home a bit more, you know?

      My father was in a horrible accident (on his bike) years ago, when my oldest brother was an infant. It was pretty bad, and he still has issues because of it. I, too, wish that people paid more attention on the road!

      Sharing this & awareness!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you very much Veronica. I am sorry to hear about your father. I hope the accident didn't ruin his love of bikes. Just today I witnessed a near-accident, when a sports car decided to run a four-way stop. A motorcycle was already in the intersection and had to swerve drastically to avoid a collision, and almost lost control. The rider was very good though, and managed to keep the bike upright and on the road. He was very lucky no one was coming in that lane while he was unsteady. The sport's car? Roared off without ever looking back. Didn't care that he had almost caused an accident. That is sad and infuriating!

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      This is such an important hub! I've had many friends that were motorcycle riders and I always tell others to make sure and stay far back from one. Thanks for sharing and raising awareness! Voted up and plus'ed!

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      This hub is a good reminder for all motorists; as well as commuters. Safety is always first. There are a lot of motorcycles in the Philippines, too. They should be reading this hub! Voting up and sharing.

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Well job done. Very important actually. Creating awareness is most important to apply the safety procedures for friends and families. Votes all up and shared also.

    • gaplumber profile image

      gaplumber 4 years ago

      Look Twice Save A Life

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      My first husband had a bike, and I rode with him. Everything you say is so true. Often times, it's as if a biker is invisible as far as cars are concerned, and the biker has to be super defensive while driving. Great hub, voted up, useful and sharing.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @Insightful Tiger--good for you for helping to spread the message to watch for bikes! I hope all the bikers in your life are able to ride safe! Thank you for reading!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @beingwell--Thank you for reading and leaving such a kind comment! Everyone should be aware of motorcycles. Even pedestrians. Bikes cannot stop suddenly if someone decides to walk out in front of it. The biker has to choose to sacrifice him or herself to save the pedestrian.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @dghbrh--Thank you. Yes awareness on all levels is important to keep all people who use the roads safe, regardless of what they drive.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      @gaplumber--exactly!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      This was very interesting to me. I live in Arizona, where, because of the weather, there are riders all year long. Combine that with our reitered population and it is an accident waiting to happen. I have one friend who has been hit at least 3 times, nothing serious but all because of people not even seeing him. I have another friend who almost lost his life last year. I don't know how it is that people are so careless. Thank you for this hub. Voted up and will post for my friends to see. BTW, you have a beautiful little girl!

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