Friday, July 17, 2009

Motorcycle Madness

Every weekend this summer, there have been accidents, some with fatalities, involving motorcycles. Each year the number of crashes seems to increase. Perhaps, because of the new popularity of bikes for "non-bikers", and the draw of an economical form of transportation, there are lots more motorcycles on the road than ever before. Not every rider is as competent or as observant as they could be; and not every motorist is looking for a two-wheeled rider in the oncoming lane. I see helmetless folks all the time. Many aren't wearing protective gear, like jackets, chaps, or goggles. Then there are the dozens of bikes parked for a social break in front of a couple of local watering holes. Everyone knows that drinking and driving don't mix, and the risk increases considerably with bikes. Do these people have a death wish, or do they just think they are invincible?? The laws of gravity and inertia don't give the poor guy a chance against a car, tree, deer, gravel, oil slick, pothole, or any number of other potential hazards. So why not boost the odds in your favor and wear the gear that might save your life? Rhetorical question, I know..... but, I needed to ask.
That, being said, I don't like over regulation of anything. We have plenty of laws and rules already. But there is a point where the freedom of the individual to feel the wind in their hair, and the public cost to rehab and support their subsequent traumatic brain injury intersect. We already have excessive governmental support of personal irresponsibility, we are saturated with it. So, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised or outraged with small potatoes like a helmet on a motorcycle...... but I am, every time I see it.
I used to ride, my last bike was a beautiful States Blue HD with an almost obscene amount of chrome. It was wonderful! As I was strapping on my helmet one day, a small voice in my head or heart or from somewhere said no. I had always told myself that I would quit when I heard that voice. I have taken care of trauma patients that told me they had heard it, but didn't listen..... they wanted that last ride. I listened then; be it wisdom or fear, and I never took the bike out again.
How many of these accidents have happened when folks did not heed a warning or premonition of some sort. I'll never know, of course, but I do believe there are guardian angels, or the like, out there that will protect us... or try to... even when we aren't protecting ourselves. Of course, when they fail, the taxpayers can foot the bill.

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