May 20th 2018
at 4:00 PM at FOP
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Say What You Mean
by Jackie Vaughan
Sometimes our words and our actions are in direct contradiction
to each other. This is especially true in many of the ways we ride.
When we fail to wear our helmets in parking lots, we're saying
it's only possible to have an accident or a fall on the highway,
probably at high speeds. Yet, parking lots are some of the most
dangerous places we ride. They're often crowded, with limited
visibility and uneven surfaces. The people in them are usually in a
hurry and certainly not looking for motorcycles.
When we fail to put on full protective gear, we're telling
ourselves and our co-riders we are so good we can't possibly have an
accident, and all the other drivers out there are excellent,
skillful, and always alert, too.
When we encourage our co-riders to wear shorts, sandals, and
sleeveless shirts, we may speak the words, "I love you," but the
unspoken message is "I don't care if a large area of your skin is
scraped off and you must have endless plastic surgeries and are
covered with deep, ugly scars." We may also be saying, "I don't care
if you sunburn so badly your legs, arms, chest and back are covered
with huge watery blisters."
When we wear clothing made of synthetic materials, we are saying
we're tough enough not to cry when that melted material is peeled
out of our road rash.
When we ride at excessive speeds, we may be convinced we're able
to handle them. What we're not reminding ourselves is that we've
used up our margin for error and the unexpected can happen at any
When we do something we know to be dangerous "just this once"
we're saying "it can't happen to me."
Do you believe that?
1997 by Jackie Vaughan.
This article may be used if I'm given credit and a copy of the
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