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