Signs of spring are everywhere in this city. Tulips are pushing their way up into the warming sun. Dust storms are being facilitated by the sand on city streets. And motorcyclists are out in force.
As a motorcyclist myself, I probably pay more attention to what riders are doing than the average motorist — and what I see concerns me. I don’t consider riding a motorcycle to be dangerous, though I recognize that it is a higher-risk endeavour than driving a car. Unlike drivers who are wombed into their cars, motorcyclists have no seatbelts, no airbags, and no reinforced side pillars to keep them safe in the event of an accident. There are, however, two major things that can mitigate the risk to riders.
Training is the best way to avoid accidents on a motorcycle. Just because someone has ridden a motorcycle before does not mean they are a trained rider. Without training, a sudden wind gust can cause you to go off the road. And the wobbling caused by the grating on bridge decks can lead to a nasty spill.
There are four motorcycle training schools in Edmonton that will teach both new and experienced riders how to ride in a safe manner. Experienced riders can be made aware of the bad habits they have picked up over time. Novice riders can learn the best ways to avoid developing a close personal relationship with the pavement.
Based on what I see happening on our streets, I have to wonder how many riders actually get training. Zipping in and out of traffic is definitely not a good idea. Speeding away from traffic lights is also a big no-no. Not shoulder checking is an accident waiting to happen. But the thing that concerns me the most is those riders who do not wear the proper personal protective equipment.
The law requires wearing a helmet. It does not require the proper type of jacket, pants, boots and gloves. Without those things, riders are at great personal risk, even at low speeds.
So if you are thinking about buying a motorcycle, or if one of the kiddos has decided to ride, you would be well advised to make proper motorcycle training part of the deal. At the very least, you should ensure that neither you nor any loved one ever rides a motorcycle without wearing all the proper equipment.