Before I go on a rant, let me throw out this question: when you are riding or driving, at what point do you signal that you are making a turn? I want to see if I am just an early warning type of person or if I fall into the middle of the road signalers. Because if you are one of THOSE people, you will bear the wrath of my oncoming rant. This also is assuming that you DO let other people on the road know when you are making a turn.
There are a few things that push my buttons. Many have to do with lights. I’m not sure where or when I developed this OCD about electricity, but it sends me (grumbling under my breath) into a frenzy. If a light is left on in a room when there is no one in that room to use it, I do see red.
What I noticed the other day while out doing errands is that few people make use of the stick attached to their steering wheel or button on the left handlebar. Driving around Newton and its vicinity, I found myself screaming at folks mindlessly turning left and right with absolutely no warning or concern for those behind or heading towards them. I am amazed that there aren’t more collisions because of this.
This lack of notice to other vehicles on the road is even more destructive and dangerous for two-wheeled travelers. I know that, being a motorcyclist, I am even more aware and vigilant to those clueless folks with which I share the road. Space cushioning is mandatory, especially in crowded urban situations, but having to predict the actions of those heading towards us is a crap shoot at best.
Many years ago, Brian brought up a brilliant idea. If someone in the automotive industry wants to steal it and make it part of standard equipment, please do so. Front brake lights. How awesome would it be if you are coming to an intersection and you see the oncoming car’s front brake lights come on sans turn signal. You could at least have a clue that the car may be making a left turn in front of you and act appropriately. I really believe this would bring that horrible statistic of that collision down tremendously.
Another light issue I have, and it is diminishing with new motorcycles and cars with self-cancelling signals, is the ever-blinking light long after the turn is made. Not only is it annoying if you are riding behind that person but it, too, is dangerous. Like the non-signaling turn, the forgotten turn signal gives a false signal to those oncoming and behind. I am guilty of this: if I see a vehicle in front of me with a left signal on, I will slide onto the right shoulder to get around it. Not totally safe in many situations, but forgivable. But, if that forgotten left signal is on and the oblivious vehicle in front is REALLY making a right turn……all hell will soon break loose.
Another light situation that just annoys rather than infuriates is the use of high beam headlights. Cars today already have over-bright headlights, and with aging eyes at night, this is just brought to new heights. When I drive or ride at night, I try to keep a watch on where my high beams are set so as to bring them down when there is an oncoming vehicle. I can’t really say the same for others.
There are many motorcyclists, including Brian, who have added auxiliary lights to their rides. My additional lighting, which is always on during the day, is very beneficial when I do find myself out past sunset. But, unlike some, it is mounted in a lower position so as not to blind oncoming traffic, Yes, it is a matter of better visibility for we, the riders, against the clueless drivers of the world. However, I ask that if you are an uber-lighted bike, please be courteous to those who share the road. Turnabout is fair play.
Be mindful – use your turn signals, lower your brights and, for God’s sake, turn the freakin’ light off when you leave the room. I thank you - rant over.