After my experience, I truly feel there ARE motorists who look twice or even make an extra effort to locate the sounds of a roaring motorcycle on the highway. Maybe there are motorists who aren’t ignorant and choose not to believe that all motorcyclists ride reckless or all bikers and motorcycle clubs are gang members in motorcycle gangs. Perhaps there is hope to believe the world thinks positive thoughts about motorcyclists, bikers, and motorcycle clubs. The respect of its status is long overdue, but maybe the time has finally arrived after countless years. Maybe there really are non-riders who really care.
The other day while sitting at a red light, I witnessed a motorist showing concern for a stranger on a motorcycle. It was a three lane road that consisted of two lanes with a separate left turning lane. A motorcyclist riding on a new Triumph sat in the left turning lane. I sat in the left lane next him and a random car sat on my right in the right lane. I was patiently waiting on the green light and just so happened to notice the man on the motorcycle wasn’t wearing his helmet, but hey...to each his own if you choose not to wear your helmet.
Seconds later, the motorist in the vehicle next to me leaned out of his car window and tried to get the motorcyclist’s attention. After getting the motorcyclist’s attention, he yelled out to the motorcyclist, “Hey dude, where’s your helmet?” The motorcyclist just looked at him and shrugged his shoulders, then turned back around to look at the light. Once again, the motorist yelled out, “No seriously dude…why don’t you have your helmet on? What if I ran into you or something? Wear a helmet dude!” The motorist then sat back in his seat and shook his head. By this time the light had finally turned green and we all drove off together.
After driving off, the motorist then pulled into the nearest gas station, so I decided to pull in behind him to ask a few questions about what just happened. I assumed he was a fellow rider who was just showing a little concern for the next rider. I was curious to know, so I introduced myself and asked if he was a motorcycle rider as well.
The motorist laughed and said, “Nope, I saw an accident that should have killed someone. The guy didn’t know what hit him…he looked like a gymnast. It seemed like forever…I just knew he was dead when he hit the ground, but he lived and I KNOW…I just know it was because of his helmet. Yeah he could’ve broken his neck and died, but he didn’t. He had that helmet to keep his brains from being splattered across the highway…and yeah he broke almost every bone. So when I see someone riding without a helmet, I get pissed because it could be them next. I don’t ever want to witness that again. The only thing that keeps me from rehashing the picture of this guy flipping in the air is the fact that he lived. That’s it. So no…I don’t ride a motorcycle…I just don’t want to ever witness a death when there’s a way of perhaps preventing it…that’s all.”
I sat and talked with the motorist about a few more things and commended him on his efforts, and then I rolled out. After driving off, I thought about what just happened and was ecstatic to know there were people out there who really cared. It was good to know this stranger didn’t allow negative stereotypes to inhibit his willingness to care for the next person, and even better…he didn’t turn his neck when he could have looked the other way just as easily. It’s true when people say those catchy sayings like…You learn something new everyday or you never know someone until you get to know them for yourself. There ARE good people out there who care about motorcyclists …more people than you know.