I read the news feeds this morning and like many mornings when I am looking at clear skies and a motorcycle that teases me and tries to lure me away from work - I wonder what will it take for my brothers and sisters of the family wind to be safe on our roads?

Advanced rider training is something I think we could all benefit from. I have watched the Ride like a Pro DVD Series and have benefited a lot from it but still feel that some hands on training could help me take my skill to a higher level. While only one part of the safety equation, it is very valuable I believe.

But what about the rest of it? The drunk drivers who wipe people out? The distracted driver who switches lanes without ever turning their head or looking in their mirrors...

What about the pot holes and the absolutely awful road repairs - I wonder if those who glob asphalt on a crack or pot hole with out smoothing it or feathering it have ever considered the damage a bad repair can inflict on a motorcycle and their rider?

How about the road construction where no signs indicate grooved pavement or sharp drops, or how about the sand and gravel on dirty and unkempt roads?

How about those unsafe loads - I have dodged plywood coming off the back of pickups or trailers, 4 x 4's off the back of welding trucks. I wear braces today because someone couldn't tie their canoe down properly....

Yes - I wonder what it is going to take for the DOT to enforce truckers to tarp their loads of wheat, sand and gravel, to secure their loads properly and clean their frames and rails off when they come out of the bush...these things are laws on the books that seldom get enforced. Then there is the whole issue of maintenance of these vehicles and how parts come off of them like the incident in Calgary recently or when tires shred...

Road debris from people throwing bottles, cans and other garbage either out of their moving vehicles or leaving it in the ditches as a method of disposal (for the wind to catch and whip all over the place)...then there are those who flick their cigarettes/cigars out the window only to land in the lap of a rider, or to go down a jacket front or in the eye...I have seen all three of those things happen and the ensuing chaos is NOT pretty!

I wonder at the death, the injury - the lives destroyed and forever altered - in many cases because someone who was driving a vehicle thought they were the only ones on the road, never once thought about how their actions could affect someone else.

Yes folks, there are many things to consider and think about. I know that only I can make my actions different, that only I can control my attention and keep myself focused on the task at hand. Only I can change my behaviors and force myself to think of how my actions might impact or affect someone else...

But can I make the lady who is scolding her kids or the engineer who is looking at a map and writing down directions as he his driving, can I make them understand BEFORE it is too late that their vehicle, being driven by some one who is otherwise occupied is now a 2, 3, 4, or 5,000 lbs weapon?  How about the girl who is texting her boyfriend and he is texting her back, both while driving or the gal putting on her make up or the guy who is reading his book...can i make them understand and want to change their behaviour before they kill or maim someone?

Can I make the trucker who is on his cell phone driving a truck with the seat slammed down on the floor so his head barely rises above the steering wheel - who forgot to or couldn't afford to repair his brake drums or put on new tires - that his truck is a 100,000 pound weapon?

I wonder...what is the answer????

Well one part of that answer - which has to be multilevel and multifaceted is AIR HORNS. 140 decibel AIR HORNS for about $50!

As always - your feedback, you comments ARE ALWAYS welcome here.

The news of the day is available 24 hours a day at where we comb and sift through the news feeds so you don't have to.

If you are one of the fortunate and you are riding today, PLEASE, ride like everyone around you is blind, cannot see you and is out to get you and please, Ride Proud not Loud - save those pipes for when they are truly needed - when someone is about to violate your lane.

Belt Drive Betty
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Foundation for Injured Riders, Rights & Education
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  1. Changing our own attitudes and techniques comes first and foremost to making our roads safer because as I've said hundreds of times before "Safer roads start with safer road users". But we can also spread the word especially to our friends and family. Ask them to look for YOU every time they are on the road and every time they make a lane change. Tell them to make sure YOU are not in their blindspot. Put YOUR face in their minds while they are driving and it could save several lives by default (other riders and drivers alike).

    We can't change it all in a day (week, month or year). All we can do is start with our own social circle and branch out to our community to be more responsible riders.

    So start small and remind people you know that YOU are out there and to look out for you personally.

    As for road hazards (blown tire bits, car parts, loose loads)...same thing goes. If you know someone who ties loads onto their vehicles, remind them of how important it is to secure it properly so that it doesn't hit YOU or fly through some windshield.

  2. A very well written, sensible article that so reflects what is happening out there on our roads and the impact this is having on every rider's safety and peace of mind. Having lived an awful experience myself and still trying to recover from it...I couldn't agree more with your title: "How do we improve rider safety..."
    I have personally come to the conclusion, sadly, that the onus is on the rider to try and remain safe...there is no way we can educate all the blind and yes, ignorant masses driving in cages...they just don't give a hoot about who is in their blind spot or whether a rider or a pedestrian, for that matter, is struck by flying debris due their negligence and I don't care attitude. In their eyes and minds, we are not road worthy...we simply do not exist. Maybe we should force the authorities to post signs on the roads saying: Watch out for Riders...they share this road too.