The Actions of Wild Animals and Trained Humans

2014-09-03 12.45.52

There are so many reasons I ride a motorcycle. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but transportation and recreation are a start. The side benefits include a lower heart rate, clearer head and a prettier smile every time I climb off after a ride. Most benefits are hard to explain but I think you get the picture. I don’t ride to save gas but this too is a benefit, but I’m not bragging.

With all that’s good coming from riding motorcycles, there will always be a down side. Yes, wild animals can be a part of my daily routine. I’m not upset about it because I know living in a rural area, I’m traveling through their natural habitat. They don’t live by the same rules we humans do, so with that I give them a little latitude. The only wild thing a barbwire fence will keep off the road is a Wal-Mart bag… Deer, opossums and raccoons can be cute until they become obstacles in the road. Don’t they know I’m looking at the sunrise?

The only wild  thing a barbwire fence will keep off the road is a Wal-Mart bag…

But this morning’s commute, like so many days before, has a danger I don’t talk about much. As most of my 23 mile ride to work is rural two-lane highway my attention is always on those sweet furry friends that live in the country. About a mile from work, just on the edge of town, everything changes for the worse. At the junction of highways 77 and I-70 lies something more beastly than any four-legged animal. Traffic. In a span of less than an eighth-mile I deal with more cars pulling out in front of me than I care to talk about. Every day. Most don’t stop at all, some use the turning lane as a onramp to merge onto highway 77 exiting I-70 and none of them see me. Even though I have the right-of-way, they look right through me. Obviously, the desire to pull out in front of me is much too strong for them to stop to let me pass safely. I have given the “angry bird morning wave” to many.

This morning was a close one. Believe me, it takes a lot to even bring it up because history shows me it will happen time and time again. I can handle the drivers that don’t stop because they have already revealed their intentions. It’s the driver who stops and then rolls forward and stops again, that always has me worried. The driver this morning was unpredictable. After I had already slowed down, a sudden movement from him caused me to lock up my back brake causing a slight fishtail, followed with a few wild hand gestures and a mouth full of bad words. For a brief second I was ready to kick his ass. In fact, I’m still ready. After getting through the danger zone, heart racing and almost to work, I was inspired to write this.

So why do I ride? That’s a great question with an ever-evolving answer.

So why do I ride? That’s a great question with an ever-evolving answer. I lost my son-in-law Chanse to an inattentive driver this year. To say I’m hyper-sensitive to this very traffic situation is an understatement. Kicking this guys ass won’t solve anything but bringing awareness to it will. I can’t predict the actions of wild animals or trained humans but I can become a better rider and more importantly a better driver. To anyone who rides just remember, we are invisible. Educate yourself through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and check into the Motorcycle Industry Council for even more information. And gear up for every ride. Always expect the unexpected, because it’s a jungle out their whether its rural or urban, so be prepared.

Love you Chanse!


8 Replies to “The Actions of Wild Animals and Trained Humans”

  1. Very true on wild animals and trained humans.Very sorry for your loss of Chanse.I ride 22 miles to work dailey, most interstate,and I am invisible there also.

    1. Thank you Larry. Chanse was a great husband, father and son-in-law and a wonderful son to his mother and father. We expect to be surprised while riding but we never know what’s coming next…

  2. Very sorry to read about Chanse. We just never know what tomorrow will bring, do we? Glad to hear you are safe. Close calls happen too often it seems. What IS IT with people? Oh wait.. that’s right. We are always in a hurry, thinking of our next stop, late for our next meeting, always pushing ahead… Only on a bike do we understand the meaning of slowing our roll and enjoying the journey. I wish everyone would learn to ride/operate two-wheels. I think it is then that we truly understand what it means to be an observant and careful driver/operator.

    1. April 13th of this year was a tough day…my caught Kelly called me at work and said she saw on the news that a motorcyclist was killed in an intersection and she thought it was Chanse. I told her to call down and she said she had been trying to call him frantically but no answer. I asked her what made her think it was him and she sent me pictures from the news and it was Chanse’s bike. We couldn’t get to Colorado fast enough…

  3. Jeff, so sorry for the loss in your family, and prayers to everyone in the concentric circles of family, loved ones and friends who grieve the loss of Chanse.
    Every rider should read (and HEED) your article. As you said, in the end it is up to us to secure ourselves as best we can. We can all encourage our four-wheeled traveling associates to read your article as well. Even if they don’t share our passion for riding, almost all of them share the same respect for life that we do, and might adjust their driving habits–if only by coming to a full stop when they exit the interstate!
    Thanks for headlining this ever-present danger to motorcyclists everywhere!

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