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9 Ways to Be a Half-Wit on a Motorcycle

April 1, 2006

Safety on a Bike is Not for Half-Wits: Learning to be safe on a motorcycle is serious business. Untrained riders are getting into accidents and some are dying needlessly. My article, Ten Ways to Be Safe on a Motorcycle, is a must-read to help you be safe.

But, just for the few days around April Fools Day, I have morphed my "Ten Ways" into "9 Ways to Be a Half-Wit on a Motorcycle" to emphasize with a bit of humor, how NOT to be safe.

Don't try these tongue-in-cheek tips on the road. I'm sure you don't want to be a half-wit rider.

  1. Assume That All Drivers Can See You: This tactic assumes that everyone is a member of your family and they have all taken a pact to look out for your safety. They have each taken a special course in motorcycle recognition and always look three times in every direction before pulling out. They each have a GPS in their car that tells where you are at all times and each car has a warning device that sounds an audible alarm when you are within 500 feet.

  2. Always Stick Together With Other Vehicles: It's no fun being separated from all your friends on the road. Always hurry up to get close to vehicles in front and allow vehicles behind you to get close enough to hear your ride bell ringing. It's also fun to converse with the drivers on both sides of you since you know that the vehicles in front and back will watch out for you.

  3. Don't Worry About Anything: On the road, don't worry about unexpected traffic events. Nothing will ever happen to you. You are invincible. That's why you wear a T-shirt and shorts and sandals. You might find a beach somewhere and you need to be ready to get some rays.

  4. Forget About Left Turners: When you're riding along, be sure to ride at least 20 mph above the speed limit especially in heavy traffic areas. Sometimes an oncoming car will be waiting to turn left in front of you and will dare you to go by while you maintain speed. These vehicles like to have their wheels turned to the left so they can get a quick start when they see a break in traffic. Not to worry, they won't see you but remember you are invincible and you'll make it through.

  5. Keep Up With Your Buddies: There's nothing that irritates a seasoned rider more than riding with someone who can't keep up. It's your responsibility to keep up no matter what. Even if you see a buddy in front round a curve covered with sand or oil, you must speed up and slide right along with him as you both go horizontal and into the ditch together.

  6. Assume All Curves Are Easy: There will never be a problem with a curve. If you can't see around it, don't worry. In a few seconds, it will be straight again and you'll be able to see just fine. Curves are always free of debris and no oncoming vehicle will ever be crossing the centerline into your lane. Also, the drivers of stalled trucks on a curve are always courteous, set up flares, and push their vehicles completely off the road so you never have to worry about hitting them.

  7. Always Vent Your Anger on the Road: Other drivers sometimes give you a hard time. Your riding ability is always perfect so it must be the other guy who is at fault. Don't bottle up your emotions. Vent them before you have a heart attack. It's better to relieve your stress on those who are making life miserable for you. After all, it's better to get mad and vent than to pay those big medical bills later on.

  8. Don't Let Sunglare Bother You: The Sun is our friend. It warms us up after we pass through a cool section of road. We must expect that from time to time we will be blinded by the Sun but we need to press on oblivious to the sight depravation. It will most likely be temporary and we don't need to slow down at all. We might lose half a minute from our schedule if we slow down and shield our eyes and that means we might have to back up our Tivo an extra click when we want to watch Desperate Housewives upon returning home.

  9. Always Ride At Night: Deer always see and hear you coming but they will always wait for you to pass before they step into the road. Also, drunks always give their keys to a sober driver before being driven home and road crews are careful to fix all potholes so your bike will never be damaged.

STOP! I expect you won't last too long as a motorcyclist if you follow much of what I've said above.

What Am I Trying To Say About Motorcycle Half-Wits?

The best way to be a motorcycle half-wit is to never take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course. After all, you'll only be learning the basic ways to control your motorcycle and recognize traffic situations that you need to be ready to handle. Half-wits don't need that.

Half-wits always wear as little protective clothing as possible and don't wear good helmets. A tiny plastic beanie helmet with a fake DOT sticker is all a half-wit needs.

There is no reason for a half-wit to keep a bike maintained. They just wait until things break or parts fall off. That way they avoid those expensive hourly costs at repair shops. Five years is a good interval to begin thinking about getting a new battery. Tire pressure should be checked once a year, if you remember. Half-wits always wait until they can't see any tread left to start thinking about new tires.

Half-wits start riding in heavy traffic as soon as they have their motorcycle endorsement. Half-wits usually ride alone while learning. After they've ridden 200 miles, they plan a cross-country trip. It gets their blood pumping the first time they ride through Chicago, tackle the 50 mph crosswinds in Kansas, navigate among the other 500,000 riders at Sturgis, or cross over the Rockies only to find a snowstorm at the summit.

Riding a motorcycle is not for half-wits.

Motorcycling is for those who want to learn how to be a safe rider -- those who have already read 10 Ways to Be Safe on a Motorcycle.

So, Always Ride Safe! -- Don't Be a Half-Wit, even on April Fools Day.

~Walter Kern

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