Drivers must be alert for riders

As a 45-plus-year rider of motorcycles, I read with some interest your June 22 editorial on training and rider safety.

While moron riders have always been a problem, it’s now so much easier to purchase a small motorcycle with huge horsepower and ignore insuring the vehicle, making them cheaper, faster and more exciting than a new Corvette. Those of us “long in the tooth” riders refer to these clowns as “Darwinian,” meaning they will remove themselves from endangering the gene pool within 19 or 20 payments on the bike by being fatally stupid. They’re the same ones you see riding in the summer wearing shorts, tank tops, flip flops and a full face helmet. Why? So the face looks good at the funeral?

The other side of the coin is the harried mommy who “didn’t see” the motorcycle rider as she hurried to make a left into the drive-thru at Pizza World, cutting across rush hour traffic at the smallest opening. Usually she/they “didn’t see” because they weren’t and aren’t trained to “look for” the rider. I can’t tell you how many times someone has “looked” right at me and pulled out in front of me while I’m riding, even though I’m wearing a road worker’s screaming yellow reflective coat and have all the lights on my big touring-sized (800-plus pounds) bike turned on. Usually they get all ashamed looking when I pull alongside and use my fingers to point at my eyes “are you looking?” Or they get angry that they apparently got “caught” trying to commit vehicular homicide.

As a rider, if you want to stay alive in today’s traffic, you better ride like a fighter pilot and keep your head moving and looking because “mommy” isn’t doing either!

An immediate impact that can be made is to utilize the newly installed and very pricey electronic road signs to read “be aware of motorcycle riders” and “watch for motorcycles” in between telling us that it will be a 75-minute drive from Ballard to Southcenter.

I’d like to see a bit more safety-oriented usage from those expensive signs, and this is a perfect way to do that while subtly planting “safety awareness” in every other driver’s subconscious.

Bill Downing