Scooter in the Sticks swears an oath

I’m 100% with Steve on this post. Every scooterist I know complains about distracted drivers on mobile phones, and every scooterist I know talks on the phone and plays around with electronics when they’re driving a car.

Worse, more and more scooterists are rigging up phone/gps/mp3/helmetcam contraptions on their bikes, even as they complain about distracted cagers.

Try it for a week: when you’re driving your car, don’t use your phone, don’t use a GPS, don’t play with the iPod or Pandora, don’t even touch the radio dial, see if you can do it. I bet you can’t. I bet I can’t.

6 replies on “Scooter in the Sticks swears an oath”

  1. For the second time in my riding career I had a near miss yesterday with a driver on a cellphone. This one was a maintenance truck, one of those big bread truck looking things, and the driver was obviously texting while he waited to pull into the street. He was tapping away while he waited for the car in front of me to pass but didn’t see me and began to pull out slowly. When I realized he was not going to stop I was able to throttle by just before he clipped me. Had I been paying closer attention to him I might have realized sooner what he was doing and just stopped and let him go.

    He saw me at the last second as I zipped by. My temper was beginning to percolate but I refrained from any direct action other than my left hand up making a texting motion. He slowed down and stayed far behind me. I’m guessing he was feeling sheepish.

    It must be an addiction. I see students on campus with those phones glued to their heads or in their hands nervously working away. I fear things will get worse before they get better. And they won’t get better unless there is some sort of Draconian punishment for their use in a vehicle. Something tantamount to carrying a loaded firearm.

    I wonder how long it will be until some enterprising law firm will begin a class action suit on behalf of some sacrificed people?

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  2. I didn’t get around to reading the NYT story Steve referenced until today.

    Very sad, and enlightening, and typical.

    “955 fatalities and 240,000 accidents over all in 2002.”

    While it’s maybe a stretch to compare the threat to that of drunk-driving (17,419 fatalities in 2002), you also have to remember that the smartphone wasn’t invented yet, and GPS, satellite radio, and MP3-saturation, not to mention SMS use, was minimal compared to today.

    Speaking of drunk driving, scooterists have improved on that front, but we still have a long way to go.

  3. I’m 100% guilty of the GPS – Cell and occasionally a text…which I really, really try to avoid. I’ve been using pandora while driving too. I’m a poster child for driver distraction. I hit a new high (low) the other day… I responded to a text at 75 mph…on my motorcycle.

  4. Steve, sorry to hear about your scary ride; yet we must all deal with such escalating incursions everyday, or else we die, instantly.
    Stay cool, pay attention, and remember the sounds of rushing wind and the hum of the motor+exhaust are the only music you need to stay alive.

  5. Becoming a scooter rider has completely changed my phone behavior in the car. I just don’t do it anymore. I don’t turn the phone completely off, but that’s because I have this little thing called Voicemail and realized long ago that I’m not bound by law to answer a phone just because it rings. I don’t initiate calls and I don’t answer calls. I will only answer it if it’s my wife and there’s a chance that it’s some sort of emergency — and if it’s not, I cut it off straight away and she understands why. I only check things like text messages or email when I’m stopped at a light. This only reinforces my decision to not use the thing while actually driving because half the time I’m late in noticing that the light has changed!

    Having made the shift, I can’t help but look upon all the other rolling phone booths out on the road with great contempt. It really does border on criminal negligence in my opinion. Furthermore, I just can’t even imagine having all those distractions added to my bike! It’s hard enough not to get killed when my full attention is just on riding.

    A few months ago, Ryan Reynolds was on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. In his interview he talks about how he’d fallen in love with riding his Triumph Bonneville around LA. He said that the thing he loved most about riding his bike was that “When you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re not doing anything but riding a motorcycle.” I think that really is part of the beauty of it. Unplug once in a while people!

    I’m totally going to tweet about this.

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