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Aging & Worn
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With all the talk these days, about "Distracted Driving," I thought it valuable to consider that issue, with regard to motorcycles.
The "typical" discussion about the topic is usually directed at the increased danger to OTHERS, as a result of the careless choice of a four-wheel driver, because they willfully allow themselves to pay less attention to the road, and be the catalyst for an accident with someone or something else.

No matter WHAT the activity the driver is engaged in, (reaching for something in the glovebox or on the floor, or on the back seat; Texting; Talking on a phone; putting on makeup, or whatever....).
In effect, what we have done, by creating so many creature comforts for the driver, is to give them a sense of "the car will do it for me" mentality, that erroneously makes the driver believe they can let various responsibilities go, giving more time to do other things.

I would contend that as we modernize the motorcycle, with GPS, IPod's, Cruise Control, DIgital Gauges that even tell us the weather, and so forth, we are creating the same scenario for the bike driver.
I have a four-mile commute to work each day. That's not much at all, and I love that fact! I USED to live a good deal further from a former employment situation, and at the end of the day it was tougher to face the ride home, than living close by. Just because of the distance and stress factor.

On the bike, I"m busy. Each hand and each foot is engaged in some part of the responsibility of keeping that bike of mine on the road. Sometimes the duties are reduced, when on an open road that is pretty much straight and level, minimal traffic, and good weather; and this is where I can get into trouble!

For some folks, this means that they feel they have time for, checking the map tucked under a clear plastic sleeve in the bag that is strapped to the gas tank; reading their MPG or the weather on their digital gauges; reading the GPS; looking the bike over for who knows what; reaching for some water or food in the bag behind them; setting up video equipment and/or doing a Vblog while they ride, and other things (might be hard to apply lipstick..........lol).

I said all that preamble to discuss how this whole topic came home to roost, when driving to work the other morning. I stated in another Thread how angry I was at myself for having stalled my bike out at the precipice of a hill, because I didn't remember what gear I was in, and kick it down, before attempting to proceed thru the intersection. A little self-examination told me that I could easily be distracted on the bike, even MORE dangerously than in a car or truck, simply BECAUSE I am more fully engaged with all four extremities, when riding.

It may seem to some, that having all the bells and whistles that a bike can have, to assist us in our ride, is a good thing. I see the value in certain circumstances. But I also see the increase in danger, due to the freedom that we suddenly have, to do "other" things, because of those innovations.

I'm personally glad that I took my "Cruise Control" OFF the bike. I'm glad that I didn't mount my GPS to the bike. It's hard ENOUGH to (even though admittedly, much of it becomes second nature after a while) keep all my extremities doing what they are supposed to, at all times, without having more "time" to do something else.

The long and the short of it is that we as motorcyclists, can be equally as guilty of "Distracted Driving" as the folks on four wheels or more. Even when we (I'm guilty of this one too) are too busy thinking about plans, events or discussions, that's enough to take our minds away from what we are doing.

I have to tell myself, every time I get on the bike, to "let go" of the "stuff" that is cluttering my thinking, and "focus." It saves MY butt, and the butts of the others around me. It keeps me "engaged."

-Soupy
 

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I agree completely Soupy. There have been times when I've turned around and gone home because my head wasn't in the game. I allowed myself to be distracted. I admit I have "cruise" on my bike, but I only use it if I'm on the interstate on a long trip (though that is likely the worst time to do it).
It's the same argument I made on a couple other threads. The more we simplify and make things "safe" the more skill we lose.
 

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Soupy, familiarity breeds laziness. My daily commute is 45 miles each way. They are mostly country roads with little or no traffic to speak of. My Goldwing has most of the toys, I pay very little attention to them. I'm as guilty as anyone for becoming complacent as I ride.
Then I get jolted back to reality as a deer or some other critter runs across the road. About a week ago I came around a 30 mph corner at my normal 45 and one of the local gavel trucks left some on the road, in an instant I was going sideways and almost lost it.
These little incidents do help me stay focused a bit better, but when you ride the same road, day in and day out one tends to get lazy and inattentive, especially on an almost hour long ride.
Your points are well taken, and the older I get I realize the reflexes aren't as quick as they once were, and the attention span needs a little help at times.
My wife recently asked me if I still felt safe on a bike, I told her if I felt safe on the bike, I would quit ridding.
 
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