Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Soapbox

So there are not too many things I am prejudiced against. Usually if I do have a prejudice of some kind, I can be shown data or compelling evidence and am able to admit that my view was incorrect. Motorcycles do not fall into that category. There is nothing anyone can say about them that will change my mind.

For starters, there's the whole carpool lane issue. Ummm, the big sign reads "two or more" and I don't see how a single rider on a motorcyle qualifies.

Secondly, there is the whole noise issue. They're loud enough to begin with, but for most motorcyle owners, 50 decibles is for wussies. They've got to illegally tweak them to have at least 75, and they are not happy until all people within a six mile radius can hear them exiting their driveways.

Third, the whole driving between lanes thing just kills me. I understand that you can move in between the cars. That doesn't make it always legal, nor a particularly bright idea. Last week, an idiot on a bike was riding between the carpool and fast lanes when the line was broken to allow lane changing! I cringed as I saw him swerve as some poor truck who had no idea he was coming up the right side switch lanes, which he had the perfect right to do. The rider almost lost the bike out from under him. And a very tiny, very admittedly bad, part of me was bummed that he emerged unscathed.

Because that leads me to my fourth and biggest problem- safety. Some time ago, there were about five high performance motorcycles bunched in the carpool lane in front of me. (Again, what up with that? And what up with the bunching where no one can get past them?) Anyway, one of them decided that it would be a fine time to pop a wheelie, and commenced doing so. With me right behind him! My blood was boiling as I slowed as quickly as possible in order to put as much distance between this mentally challenged individual and myself, as well as my child. Is there something in the owners manual of motorcycles that says, "Brains not necessary for operation of vehicle?" And even if the driver of the motorcycle happens to have some common sense, they are just plain hard to see, and get hit by other vehicles very often.

Hubba-hubba has told me many horror stories of motorcycle accidents that he has witnessed the aftermath of. Only about a month ago, a young man decided to pop a wheelie, lost control of the bike, causing it to skid on its side, with him under it. Man and bike hit a parked car, and even though he had a helmet on, he hit the fender at exactly the point of his faceplate and didn't stand a chance. He died within minutes. Stories like this abound. Even with helmets, which are required by California law, there still is no guarantee. Combine speed and recklessness and a helmet might not be enough. Or how about a friend's family member who had a car turn left in front of him on his motorcycle (which is also a scenario that happens often) and he almost died and was in the hospital for six months and still has yet to recover completely. He lost his job, and he and his wife and 3 year old son had to move in with his parents. I realize that accidents can and do happen to people driving regular vehicles, it is just that the risk on a motorcycle is so much greater that I don't understand the thought process behind wanting to be on one.

Motorcycles hold no element of coolness to me whatsoever. You couldn't pay me to ride one. I just see them as loud, glorified bicycles. With about the same amount of protection that a bicycle provides. I don't look at them and think the rider is such a rebel and admire him for his political incorrectness. Usually I wonder why they would put themselves in such danger for so little payoff. I understand that they can be somewhat inexpensive and easy on gas. Or that the feel of the wind on your face is exhilarating. Well, you can get the same things from these, but I have yet to see a stampede to the dealership.

Mr. Personality knows that I don't like motorcycles, since I cluck my tongue every time I hear one roaring up the hills behind us. And of course, he loves them, most likely just out of spite since normally he dislikes loud noises. Every time, the conversation goes something like this:

"Mama, do you like motorcycles?"

"No honey, I don't."


"I do. I'm gonna have one when I get big."

I play it cool and reply:

"Well my dear, we will see."

Secretly I am thinking, over my dead body, kid. Over my dead body.


Atasha said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels this way about Motorcycles. My husband wanted one and I usually am not one to hold the man back from his needs, well wants, but I simpky said "No" and that was the end of that. Yesterday I was driving home on one of the more busier streets. It was backed up pretty far and ofcourse you know what just shimmied by in between the cars. I got pretty angry as I thought to myself, why can't you wait like the rest of us. Not to mention the noise! Darn motorcycles. They're downright dangerous, especially when you get these young men on them trying to impress Lord knows who.

Amber said...

I totally agree with you about motorcycles. I come from a dirtbike family and even had a little one as a kid.

Now, as a mother I see how truly reckless they are. I'm always particularly annoyed when I see someone out on the road without a helmet. My poor husband. He has to suffer through me yelling at them all to "WEAR A HELMET!" It's almost like they're willing themselves to become roadkill.

One more day. Stay tuned for more details!