Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring is a Terrible Time to Die


I am a biker. When I ride my motorcycle, I wear a full-face helmet, kevlar pants, an armored jacket, armored gloves, giant boots, and a smile. I have taken safety classes. I have ridden for a long time. I still practice all the time, too. And I help fellow motorists and bikers when they need it. That's how I was brought up. To look out for everyone's safety and well-being.

I know that some people have negative feelings about bikers, so I wanted to share this. There are three pictures here. One is a picture of me and my girls. That guy with the cute little girls? He’s a biker that wants to hug his girls forever.

The next picture is the back of my car. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how many comments my wife gets on the car. People all over town know our car. Which means they’ve read the bumper. Cyclists appreciate it. Bikers appreciate it. It cost almost nothing and it makes people aware.

The third picture is from a ride several years ago with three of my favorite men and my PPMC brothers: Mark Builder, Tom Schmitz, and Darin Moore – I still see Mark and Tom, but I will never again get to give Darin a hug. He was killed by a careless driver. He left a wife and children behind. He was a good man and one of the best riders I’ve had the pleasure to have known. I miss him.

Sure, there are bikers who do dangerous things. I don’t speak for them. I speak for us. For the dads (and moms) and responsible riders who just want to ride a MC and not die. We work hard and we wear all our gear even if it’s hot.

Most drivers do not use turn signals. Many drivers text while they drive. And you gotta remember, killing a biker would ruin your life. I’d hope. But your inattention could kill a kid, it could put someone in traction, it could paralyze someone. IT COULD KILL YOU.

I would like to encourage everyone to think about putting something like I did on their bumpers. I know people like their cars, but if I make one driver think a little more, I consider the day a success. Screw the appearance of my car.

I put the stickers on when Darin was killed. I will leave them on there because there are motorcycles, children, old folks, cats, deer and a million other things on the road. Daily, I see people following five feet off the bumper in front of them going 80 mph. That’s an accident waiting to happen. I see people changing lanes and speeding without signaling. I see people who have yet to have their heart broken by what an inattentive rider/driver can do.

I try to do my part to make things safe for ALL drivers/riders/pedestrians. You may not know a biker. Maybe you do. Either way, I’d appreciate it if you shared this. In a car, it’s easy to forget the fact that you’re propelling a HUGE chunk of metal at extreme speeds. It can easily become a deadly weapon.

I ride with bikers who don’t want to hurt a soul. I ride with bikers who just want to pursue a passion safely and return home to hug their loved ones. I know this is long, but life should be long, too. I want to ride with my brothers for a long, long time. And I want to be able to take my girls to the pool, too. And I don't want to even think about the pain and hardship my wife would experience if I died.

If we all work together, imagine how many tragedies could be prevented? You’ll be seeing more bikers out of the road now. Please, PLEASE see them. They deserve to live, and you deserve to live your life without aching guilt from a silly moment of apathy or inattention.

Sure, I ride with a club. But there's another club. If you have a vehicle with wheels, you are in the club. The ‘let’s be decent and respectful so no one gets hurt’ club. It’s a good club. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Feel free to share this, plagiarize it, etc. I'm a writer, and I'm very protective of my words, but I'm more protective of my brothers and sisters - on bikes, in cars, or just walking down the street.

If you see this sticker on a bike, it means you've found a friend. THAT is the basis of the PPMC Charter.