I read an article once that mentioned teaching our children to be on the lookout for motorcycles. It suggested that the fascination many young children have with motorcycles could present the perfect opportunity to teach them to see motorcycles more frequently as adults.
This article made me reminisce back to road trips as a child, long before the time when children, and adults alike, were engulfed in multiple electronics each time the vehicle was in motion. I vividly remember passing the time by searching busy roads for unusually unique license plates or the opportunity to slug my sibling or cousin—“Punch Buggy! No punch backs,” we would say.
To this day, each time I pass one of these vehicles, I notice it; I don’t just see the car in passing—I NOTICE it.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of deaths on motorcycles was more than 27 times the number of those in cars in 2014. The number one cause of enclosed vehicles versus motorcycle accidents is the lack of visibility. Motorcycles are an average of one-fourth of the size of a regular vehicle and drivers often just don’t see them.
However, most drivers take an extra second to analyze the speed and distance of a transfer truck before choosing to turn or change lanes. The 18-wheeler is much more visible and the damage it could cause to the much smaller, more lightweight vehicle in the event of an accident is very easily calculated.
Why do we not give the same consideration to motorcyclists? The same amount of damage can be caused to motorcycle riders by a passenger vehicle.
As a motorcycle rider, I know how terrifying and infuriating it is to see a car creeping over into my lane or a vehicle pulling out in front of me. As a driver, I also know how scary it is when a motorcycle “comes out of nowhere” or when I mistakenly overlook a motorcycle in my blind spot. I immediately cringe at the thought of what could have taken place simply because I was not paying close enough attention or was distracted.
I fully believe that most motorcycle accidents are just that—accidents. Many drivers become distracted by cell phones or radios, or they are driving with their mind on “autopilot” instead of being alert and aware of the traffic around them. They check traffic in both directions or in their blind spots out of habit, rather than consciously and carefully checking for other vehicles.
Though I don’t encourage children “slugging” each other much these days, I can’t help but wonder how many future accidents could be prevented if we teach our kids the traditional travel games we grew up playing rather than allowing them to become engulfed in their electronics. What if, instead of, or in addition to, “Slug-Bugs” we teach our children to NOTICE motorcycles?
Imagine the impact that could be made on the number of motorcyclists’ lives lost due to distracted driving or “autopilot” if we embed the ability to NOTICE these riders into our children’s minds early.