A motorcycle with three vehicles behind it stopped at a red light in the
Atlanta metro this week. Vehicle four slams into the third car, and there
was heavy vehicle damage to the cars. The motorcyclist died.
As one who monitors news media it is very clear to me that motorcyclists are
truly endangered. Some are victims, and others are responsible for their
own demise. Those are the facts. Today¹s issue is not with the cyclists as
much as it is with the car and truck drivers who share the road.
As I travel the interstates and secondary roads across Georgia, I find it
interesting to watch the cyclists as they travel either ahead of, next to,
or behind me.
Just this past week I came upon a group of ³Rolling Thunder² cyclists, and
there is a lot to be said for these former military troops and their
companions. They are courteous, they tend to stay in a tight group, and
they are usually older, more "settled" drivers.
Then there are the smaller groups from two to six cyclists and they, too,
tend to ride together but not always as a tight group, and they vary widely
The solo cyclists are an interesting and wide-ranging group from the
graybeards to the bullet bike riders who never saw a speed limit sign they
Let¹s be honest, the same can be said for the 4-wheel drivers.
What is a serious concern is the number of traffic fatalities of cyclists
and why they occur. High on my list of what to watch out for are those
drivers who don¹t seem to pay attention to cyclists. Sure, we¹ve discussed
distracted driving enough, but these cyclists have to be treated with
respect every bit as much as other four or more wheelers.
In my younger days I greatly enjoyed my Honda 360. It was a pre-bullet bike
to say the least, but it was fun to ride so I understand the trials and
tribulations of both the cyclists and traditional driver perspective.
If you think about it, cyclists have very little protection, especially when
they don¹t wear a helmet in several states and wear only jeans and a
T-shirt. Then there are the middle of the road riders who use helmets, wear
decent clothing to help protect in case of an accident, and sometimes there
is the cyclist who wears a racing suit, which makes me wonder whether it is
speed or safety that concerns those folks.
Motorcyclists do not seem to ride inexpensive bikes any more, but my old
360, a Harley, or a touring bike still has a high risk not just for the
careless cyclist but even for those who are vary careful until they are hit
by a motorist who just was not paying attention.
Insurers understand the risks for both the drivers of the four-wheelers and
the three-or two-wheel kind. For those who ride bikes, insurers encourage
taking of a safety course to better equip the cyclist for what can happen on
the road. Our member companies also are concerned when drivers accumulate
traffic tickets as that indicates an increasing level of carelessness.
Sharing the road puts responsibility on both the cyclists and the larger
vehicle drivers. As I¹ve mentioned previously, driving is truly a team
sport, and not to be confused with a right to drive. It is most definitely
an earned privilege for all who use the roadways.
David Colmans is executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information
Service. Contact him at 770-565-3806 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.