Safety that is. I have said it before, but at this point, I believe that there is only one item of safety equipment in the riders toolbox; the rider their self. Everything else is for survival in an accident.
That basic concept leads into another opinion that I find myself gravitating towards. Bigger, heavier and sturdier cars do not make drivers safer, if anything, they make drivers overconfident and careless. The bigger and heavier vehicles not about making the cars safer on the roads, they are about improving the survivability of the occupants, and nothing more.
Keeping that in mind, we have to start focusing on what truly makes the roads safer. Driver & rider (henceforth singly referred to as driver), not the vehicles themselves. For a long time I have advocated the MSF, but at this point, I am beginning to think that we do not do enough to educate drivers, nor is there any requirement that drivers work to become safe drivers.
As a parent of a new driver and another soon to enter the roadways, what can I do to make them better drivers who care more about their fellow road users? Would it be unreasonable to force them to take the MSF Basic Riders Course even if they have no intention of riding on two wheels? Defensive Driving classes? What other things can be done to educated these drivers?
Vacation, much needed. A week long vacation is a very rare thing for me. It has been three years since I took more than a long weekend away from work as a vacation. Yes, I have had a few days here and there, but always associated with a work trip. Last week, I packed up with the family and went to the beach.
While I took my laptop and my iPad, and I did some work, it was not under the pressure of being 'in the office'. I built sand castles with the daughter, rode my bicycle, shopped, ran and did touristy type things. Basically stuff I never really do.
It was perfect. I found a relaxed space that I desperately needed. An emotional and mental reboot if you will. The one downside, was that since we took the whole family, no scooter or motorcycle went with me. It has been nearly a year since I have been out of the saddle for more than one day, much less eight.
This morning getting back in the saddle after a week driving the family SUV was a bit startling. I felt "rusty". It took a few minutes in the saddle to get the feel of the bike underneath me. Even then, I felt the need to slow down, and let things slip back to natural. Perhaps I am more sensitive to the atrophy in my desire to 'be the best rider I can be', but it reminds me of just how quickly skills fade when they are left unused.