Dear cagers, get off your damn phone. Love, everybody, especially motorcyclists. This message is simple, and it’s being hammered home by a rider from Arvada, Colorado. Nathan Maes was riding his Kawasaki on a normal day when the driver behind failed to notice that Maes was slowing for a red light. AMERiders gives you the interview and story and then a few words from some icons in the industry.
“It was just, like green confetti, everywhere,” said Maes, who was slammed into the back of a pick-up truck after the impact from the texting driver, before he was able to get to his feet. His Kawasaki Ninja 650 was totaled.
Police in Colorado charged the driver with careless driving, but despite an admission from the driver that he was texting, cannot charge him with texting while driving. That’s because, in Colorado, police have to actually witness the crash in order to charge someone under the state’s distracted driving laws. “He said, ‘You know, I was just looking at my phone for two seconds, I was just sending a quick text,’” Maes said in an interview with local news.
This story comes as distracted driving and general poor behavior on the roads is on the increase. Deaths caused by drivers who went through red lights hit a 10-year high last year, and many believe this is because of distracted drivers, who miss a red light while texting. A Canadian study found that in 2016 more people were killed or injured by distracted driving than any other infringement, including speeding and driving under the influence.
There are things we can do motorcyclists to mitigate the risks that distracted driving poses. Maes says he was looking in the rearview mirror but couldn’t avoid being struck. We should always be watching our mirrors when braking for any reason, and always line up towards the edge of the lane we’re in. That way, we have an escape path if we notice that a car behind is not going to stop in time.
No amount of risk mitigation and road positioning can change this one simple fact: Drivers who use their cell phones while behind the wheel can and do kill people. So, please, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, put your phone down.
Now Words from our Icons.
Public safety films are amazing time capsules sometimes, but they rarely feature motorcycling icons like Peter Fonda and Evel Knievel. If you’ve never seen the short film Not So Easy, you’re in for a treat that’s surprisingly not as dated as you might expect.
Clearly, both motorcycle safety and riding skills have come a long way since this film’s 1973 release. Bikes and safety gear technology have both greatly advanced. Unfortunately, the number of things that make other road users—especially car drivers—take their eyes off the road have increased over time, as well.
Knievel’s advice that you should a) be ATGATT ( all the gear all the time ) and b) familiarize yourself with any new-to-you bike you hop on is timeless. Likewise, Fonda’s admonition that, “For some reason, most car drivers just don’t seem to see bikes, so you’ve got to think of them as asleep, blind, or drunk,” is, unfortunately, an eternal truth. So, why Evel Knievel and Peter Fonda? They would totally rally behind the “don’t text and drive crusade” I don’t like it either.
Well, as for Fonda—once Easy Rider put him on the map, he said he never lacked for work. That’s a plus when you’re obsessed with motorcycles, as he was—it was never just an acting job for him, it was a true and lifelong passion. He passed away at the age of 79 earlier this year, which is, quite coincidentally, the same age that Not So Easy director Cliff ‘Soney’ Vaughs was when he passed a few years back.
As for Knievel, could there be a more appropriate ambassador for motorcycle safety from the early ‘70s? I mean, the man suffered enough bone fractures in his life that no one could quite agree on how many breaks he’d suffered, according to the Billings Gazette. More to the point, he lived to talk about them later—so clearly, even wearing gear of the time made a huge difference.
All three of these legends are remembered fondly—and with constant rediscoveries of videos like these, their legacies live on forever.
Stuff to remember!!!
With all this said AMERiders reminds you to Stay off the phone while your driving… PERIOD… Texting, Talking anything. It takes your attention off the road, plus your reaction time is slower as well. Most phones have a driving setting on them now. If you need to use the phone pull over. It may save not only a motorcyclists life but if you hit another cager it could save yours as well.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
AMERiders reminds you to Get off the Phone Because I’m Sorry Isn’t Good Enough! and leaves you with some Words from motorcycle Icons.
And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.