This all started about a week ago in Johannesburg when a motorcyclist and a driver of a car got into a heated argument which turned so violent that the motorcyclist was gunned down. Although details of the incident are few and far between, I know that everyone automatically assumes the motorcyclist is the guilty party.Â He might be, or the might not be, that is not the point. The point is that people react in a certain way, and as humans we are creatures of habit, if you’ve seen a few motorcyclists break the law, automatically you assume all of them are bad people.
One other guy who also seems to think so, isÂ Thegandra Naidoo who wishes that he could open his car door in traffic and have a few bikers crash into it, and hopefully break their necks. The problem with this is that there are lots of people out there who are easily influenced by the words and actions of others.
Just this morning, I was on my way to work, taking the off-ramp at Okavango to get on the N1, when I noticed a car to my left. It was a woman in a VW Golf with government car pool insignia on the door trying to push me off the road.Â I was too shocked to try and read what it said on the door, but her intentions were clear.Â I sped up to get her far behind me and kept on going. I know some of you would say I should have tried to get her to pull over and explain herself, but in light of the recent events, I opted to just let this one go.
What most of these people don’t realize is that motorcyclists aren’t on the road to cause conflict or chaos.Â They ride their motorcycles because it is easier to navigate peak hour traffic on a bike, than in a car. At the very least, you should thank them, because if they were in a car, traffic would in fact be worse because of the more cars on the road. If you see a bike in your rear-view mirror (which you should, if you’re doing proper observations according to K53), simply pull a little bit over, let them pass and a few seconds later everyone is on their merry way. Also, please remember the correct procedure before changing lanes, 1) check blind spots, 2) signal, 3) change lanes only when it is safe to do so.
On that same note, it is our responsibility as motorcyclists to not act recklessly.Â If you lane-split down the middle of rush-hour traffic, don’t do it at break-neck speeds! If you travel 5km/h faster than the rest of traffic you’ll still get home faster than you would have if you had been in a car. It’s irresponsible to take chances with not only your own life, but someone else’s life as well.
It’s time we assume responsibility for our actions. We’re all adults, let’s start acting like it.