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OPINION

Yesterday I crashed my motorcycle and no one came to help

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Hopefully I have your attention.

First let me say I have been riding for 13 years. I commute via motorbike pretty much every day, so much so that I sold my car because I never used it. I have been commuting this way for just over two years now. I live in a large city and take a mix of backroads and highways to get to work every day. Yesterday started like any other: Same roads, same level of traffic. I was going down a 4-lane road at about 45mph when someone in a minivan, coming out of a shop, pull out in front of me.

While it all happened so fast, I would say they pulled out about 50 ft. in front of me. Given my current speed it didn’t allow me much time to react. I pulled in the clutch and got hard on my brakes. Then I caught myself doing the very things I know you aren’t supposed to do: Target fixation and locking up the brakes. My eyes fixed on their rear bumper and my rear brake was locked up solid. As I felt my rear end come around, I had a point where I was aware of what I was doing wrong and tried to correct. I decided to ease off my back brake and steer left to go around and avoid running right into their bumper. Unfortunately, the odds weren’t in my favor. As I tried to go left to go around, the minivan went left too. I ended up tapping their rear bumper and going down on my left side.

I sat there for a moment, collecting my thoughts (and made certain I was stopped). I surveyed my surroundings and realized my bike ended up facing the wrong way, and cars were going around me. I knew I couldn’t just stay there so I picked up the 600lb behemoth and assessed the damaged. Luckily the bike slid on the panniers and crash bars, saving the bike’s plastics and important parts. Other than some rash on the crash bars, side & centerstands, and panniers as well as a broken clutch lever, the bike faired OK.

It was at this moment I realized the minivan in question didn’t stop, they continued on. I tried to get my bike started but it refused. As I attempted to stop traffic so I could push my bike out of the way, one person rolled down their window and asked if I was OK. They confirmed they saw the whole thing and agree they pulled out in front of me (validation is always nice). I asked if they could stay for a few minutes so I could call the police, since the minivan left the scene of an accident. Their response was “sorry, but I have to get to work.”

No one stopped to help the fallen motorcyclist. No one helped me pick up the bike, no one helped me push my bike to safety. They were all too busy with their morning commute to be bothered by the silly man on his motorbike. Honestly I find this a little sad. Has our society degraded to the point everyone is too busy or too afraid to help their fellow man? Perhaps it’s just where I live, or the road I was on at the time. But maybe not.

While I wasn’t badly hurt, a few scrapes and a lot of soreness, what if it had been worse? How long would I have had to lay there before someone came to my rescue? I’d like to think there is an unwritten rule amongst motorist that if you see someone in need, whether it be pushing a car out of the road or just letting someone use your phone, you should help them. Personally, I try to help anyone I see in dire straits, this goes double for motorcycles. I have pulled cars out of ditches, pulled injured drivers out rolled vehicles and even brought a stranger gas. I understand we are all busy with jobs and families to get to. But sometimes maybe that stranger needs our attention just a little more. What if it were you or your loved one, in that position? Wouldn’t you want someone to help?

Sometimes we depend on the kindness of strangers.

 

*Photo for illustrative purposes only

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OPINION

How to: Film your motorcycle tour

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There’s little doubt that the availability of compact cameras, and the ease at which you can get published online, has made cameramen and directors out of many motorcyclists.

And why not? Filming a trip not only gives you the opportunity to relive it from the comfort of your own home, but can inspire others to do so – and might make you a few bob in ad click-throughs in to the bargain.

There’s more to filming a bike tour than just sticking a GoPro to your helmet though, to come back with consistent, quality, usable footage takes a lot of planning , a good helping of discipline on the road, as well as plenty of creativity and at times some outright brass neck to get those really good shots. Here’s how not to make complete hash of recording your next tour:

Can you cut it?

First things first: ask yourself if you really want to stop enjoying those lovely, twisty mountain roads, pull over and set up your tripod, ride back and forth ‘till you get the shot you want and then pack it all up and carry on. If the answer is no, then filming is not for you.

Sort your set up

Think about the shots you want to get and how you can get them: want a rider’s eye view? You’ll need a helmet mount; fancy some tracking shots? A tripod is easier than balancing on rocks etc. Either way, decide on your kit before you go and keep it as simple as possible.

Shoot some cutaways

Cutaways are ‘atmospheric’ shots that help paint a picture of your trip and can help guide a viewer through the film, eg: zipping up jackets, pointing at maps, putting the bike in and out of gear etc. Even if they seem mundane to you, you’ll be glad of them when you come to edit.

Keep it rolling

You’ll sometimes meet situations where maybe you shouldn’t be filming eg: crossing a border, talking to someone in a cafe etc. If you think you can – safely – get away with it, keep the camera rolling, as situations like that can often produce some fab footage.

Angles and positions

Don’t just stand there with the camera at your face pointing it at things, or it’ll start to look like your dad’s old VHS holiday films. Shoot a few different angles and perspectives to help bring the subject alive.

Hold the shots

Don’t stop shots abruptly, hold them for longer than you think you need – when filming people riding off from a stop etc. – that way you’ll have lots of room to play with when editing and you might just catch something unexpected.

Catch some context

Keep an eye out for things that are country-specific, like signs in foreign languages, flags, local people in traditional dress, well-known landmarks etc. and try to capture some sounds like people talking in native tongue etc. to give a real sense of where you are.

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OPINION

One LOVE

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All motorcycles have a singular beauty. However, if it is YOUR motorcycle, there is a deeper connection.

Your relationship is one of trust and respect that transcends time.

From the first time you meet, a connection is established. Your one love is hard to find. I have been out at the dealership and seen some hot Italian bikes but in the end, they are high maintenance, expensive to keep up, and they will not stand the test of time.

Looks are important, but a relationship is more than skin deep.

How does that bike make you feel? Every time you gaze upon your bike, you should smile; you have found the right bike. The worst thing you can do is settle for a bike you don’t truly feel a connection with.

I am a one-motorcycle guy – truly monogamous. Having two bikes is hard to juggle. I think a small, fast motorcycle that is good-looking, handles well, and has a classic appeal is what I always
wanted, and I think I have found it.

Stay with a motorcycle that has stood the test of time. A bike that’s made you smile, given you a thrill, and stuck with you through thick and thin. A solid, well-built motorcycle is a thing of beauty.

Be smart, and cover that motorcycle so no one steals it at night. Buy your motorcycle expensive accessories, and take it on trips to exotic lands. Up or down, thin or flush, treat your motorcycle well.

Respect it, and it will return to you amazing experiences, expand your world and open your eyes.

Understand that this is a partnership. From the first ride to every terrible bump in the road, stay with that reliable bike and remember she is your one LOVE.

Happy Valentines Day, Mrs. Sterling.

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