As a motorcycle instructor, and when teaching new riders, I review risk factors that can and cannot be controlled. Auto-mobile drivers are one risk factor we can’t control. Things we can control would be- increasing our visibility, slowing at intersections, ensuring proper following distance etc. And being that one of the main reasons motorcycling gives us such pleasure is because “you’re out there”, you become part of the scene. And this means, that you become part of this ever-changing environment. With that, being part of your surroundings includes being part of its mood and this was much the case recently in downtown Toronto.
I had planned to take a friend on my popular Toronto City tour by scooter. But when under way and at rush hour, the Toronto subway system broke down and chaos hit the streets literally! I contemplated cancelling our plan of heading through the city because of its jammed up frustrated mood. Vehicles were at a standstill as thousands of pedestrians tried to find a way home after a long work day.
Stunned at The Unexpected Happening
When en route to my friend’s home, I experienced a bout of road rage. A fellow in a supped up pick-up truck after much effort at illegal speeds and traffic manoeuvres (I realised after the fact) pulled up beside me at a red light, rudely threatened me while blatantly cussing me off. I was stunned at the unexpected happening. Apparently, earlier, I had cut him off? He avoided eye contact with me during his rant and rave. I think likely because he thought I was a guy and felt embarrassed at behaving so inappropriately to a woman. Either that or that it took him six city blocks to catch up with me. My response to him, non-reactive “blanco”.
You ride your motorcycle amidst an environment that’s ever changing around you. This has direct effect upon you unlike in an auto-mobile where you’re more of an observer, watching all behind a windshield of glass.
Nonetheless, the city tour by scooter went on and we ventured down-town which ended up being not so difficult as we were via scooter. A defiant urban advantage.
Later however, while course-plotting through traffic jam aftershocks, a taxi cab in front of me hit reverse and managed to drive itself up on my front fender. I caught him in time, luckily, resulting in surface scuffing of my fender.
Indeed you’ve got to be calm, and mentally prepared for the ride around us – particularly in the ever sensitive and changing urban environment.
Being careful not to let what happens around us- ride us!