20/9/2005

Fragile 3: Motorcycles, Volvos and Giant Trucks

Filed under: — Bravus @ 5:51 am

It used to be Volvo drivers – and for some reason, in Australia at least, older ladies wearing lawn bowls hats were quite scary, and a bowling hat lady in a Volvo was the epitome of terror!

Volvos were marketed as being so safe in crashes that their drivers felt invulnerable. This tended to make them a death threat to anyone else on the road, because their feelings of invulnerability made them careless. The same applies now to some drivers of big trucks and SUVs (four wheel drives) – the drivers perch high above the world and, to misquote George Clinton, ‘if anyone’s gonna get funked up, it ain’t gonna be them’. It’s most likely gonna be someone on a motorbike, or someone in a small compact car, or a pedestrian, and I’ve seen these guys blow through stop signs and red lights, feeling all safe and happy.

Since I’m thinking about getting a bike when I get back to Oz, it’s reminding me of how fragile we are. On a bike, you know damn well that if anybody’s gonna get funked up it’s gonna be you, so you’re careful, and drive defensively. I think a lot of the bad reputation of bikes as dangerous comes from young males who also think they’re invulnerable and immortal, only to discover (briefly) that it ain’t necessarily so. I’ve kinda been through that phase – broke my leg but was unbelievably lucky it wasn’t my back or head – and I’ll be the most defensive, cautious biker out there. I’ll assume everyone on the road is actively hostile and has me in their sights, and never trust their indicators (turn signals), but will wait until they actually turn, and pretty much assume they’re going to blow through stop signs and red lights, and that I’m invisible.

But it’s the people in the Volvos and big trucks who think they’re invulnerable that are the danger to those of us without metal shells to ride around in – I hope they’ll remember how fragile we are.

  1. Fragile and Fragile 2 are earlier posts on different threats and responses

2 responses to “Fragile 3: Motorcycles, Volvos and Giant Trucks”

  1. Sirdar Inc. says:

    In Canada its farmers wearing hats in their pickup that you have to watch out for!! 🙂

    I was musing that I should get a scooter for next summer…like a Vespa or something. I think the jury will still be out on that for quite some time…but you never know.

  2. Gromit says:

    The way to survive is to ride in the certain knowledge that (a) you are invisible, despite which (b) all other road users are trying to kill you.

    Also, know your limits and ride within them.

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