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Sunday, June 14, 2015

What ever happened to Civility?

When I ride I try, try to obey the rules of the road.  I'm in my gear, I'm scanning and hopefully doing everything I need to do to make it home safely.  I've shook my head of some things that I've seen; people cutting across three or four lanes of traffic, idiots pulling off NASCAR moves during rush hour.  Frankly I'm surprised I've not seen more accidents than I have.

Sadly I've also seen my fellow bikers do some really, really stupid things.  Lane splitting (which is illegal in Florida), speeding in traffic or other wise unsafe conditions, stunting on the freeways...again, frankly I'm surprised I've not seen more accidents.  

This article which promoted this weeks rant was entitled "Motorcyclists:  Please Stop Being Sanctimonious Assholes" by Damon Lavrinc.  With National ride to work day being this Monday I thought it was worth a share.  If I would have been able to format the article to blogger correctly (including the You Tube video's), I would have reprinted the entire article here.

Illustration by Sam Woolley
To summarize the piece, he gives examples of where we bikers are being less than the best we can be.  He gets it however.  We are riding, invisible and dealing with not only traffic but drivers not paying attention to begin with.  Roads that are less then stellar in some cases and where our frustration can come from.  I was left with the impression that Lavrinc rides himself.

He then gives us examples via You Tube video's of bikers being...pardon the language but it fits.   "Assholes."  The video's are not easy to watch (warning - course language and one shows a car going after a biker....and the results of that collision).  

The situations the bikers find themselves in frankly could have been avoided.  I understand the desire to tell someone to please turn off the phone and pay attention to the road.  I understand the anger that occurs when someone does something stupid.  Sadly, I've been that asshole in the car with his phone to his ear!  Although I would never act like the driver did in the first video

The discussion afterword is interesting to me.  At the time I wrote this there were over 1045 comments.  While I can understand the riders anger, while I can sympathize with the end the ride we choose to have is of our own doing.  

Did the driver in the first video act badly?  Yes, and frankly he should be in jail.  However the biker should not have dropped a series of F-bombs at him in the first place.   A friendly "Hello, would you mind putting down your phone till you arrive safely at your destination" should have sufficed.  If the diver was an ass after that....well ignore it.  Frankly we don't know what that person is capable of...and I for one would rather have them in front of me than behind me.

Video number two?  While it's just wrong on so many levels.  

The truth of the matter is that we can't change behaviors until we change perceptions.  Video's like this don't help either party.  What is that old saying about engaging your mind before your mouth?  Maybe engaging your mind before the clutch would work here too.

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