THERE are several pre–conceived notions that we glibly endorse and sometimes practice unconsciously that are prejudicial and even harmful to another group of persons, without many of us so much as pausing to even reflect on our thinking.
One of the preconceived notions that Saint Lucians seem to widely uphold is that whenever there is a road accident between a motorcyclist and a driver of another vehicle, then it is a foregone conclusion that the motorcyclist is at fault and in the wrong. In fact ,motorcyclists who are reckless seem to have created a bad reputation for all the rest. Alas this is a fallacy which must be dismantled.
Fortunately it appears that the Traffic Department does not subscribe to this unfair stereo–typing as only last month, police preferred a charge of death by dangerous driving against another motorist in a fatal accident which claimed the life of a young biker, thirty–four year old Kerison Joseph, along the Bexon road.
It seems to Abetta Country that this action is almost unprecedented and highlights the need for more public sensitization as regards the rights of motorcyclists. They (motorcyclists) and other riders often complain that many drivers treat them with scant regard.
The manner in which a driver conducts his or herself on the road has everything to do with this person’s attitude and mindset. It has very little to do with the type of vehicle driven. As a matter of fact many persons are licensed to drive a number of classes of vehicles. It is hardly rational to expect one’s level of responsibility on the road to vary from vehicle to vehicle, unless the machine is controlling the brain of the driver.
Motorcyclists who are not driving safely on the roads need to shape up. Wear the right gear. Fall off your bike and the tarmac will shred through your jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it. Wear bright or flourescent gear during the day and reflective gear at night. Bikers must wear a protective jacket, gloves, boots and trousers. Choosing the right helmet could help save your life. The SHARP rating system helps you understand how much protection a helmet offers in a crash.
Abide by the traffic laws, adhere to safety requirements and desist from performing unsafe antics on the roads, as this puts your life and that of other road users at risk. When motorcyclists conduct themselves professionally, they will eventually command the respect of a very cynical and sometimes unsympathetic public.
Likewise drivers, it is incumbent to respect that bikers use the roads too. Therefore willingly accord them the necessary road courtesies. Look carefully for motorbikes when you pull out at a junction. If you’re approaching a junction, look out for motorcyclists pulling out too. If you want to attempt to overtake, remember to look specifically for motorcyclists as they can accelerate faster than cars.
Keep your distance – driving too close can intimidate a less experienced motorcyclist. Check for bikes when changing lanes – a motorcyclist may be in the space you want to move into or moving into it fast. Remember your blind spot. Check for bikes when turning – parked cars or large vehicles can obstruct your view of a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists might pass you on either side. Double-check for motorcyclists, whether you’re turning left or right. Park safely – check for motorcyclists before opening your car door – and ensure that your passengers do the same.
Nothing can restore a lost life and what that person represented to his loved ones. The best approach is for road safety to be exercised at all times to avoid injuries and loss of life.
By Abetta Country