Ah, yes. It is that time of year again.
The time has finally come to break out the iron and steel and hit the asphalt hard. Motorcycles on the road tend to be a more common sight when the summer solstice nears, something I personally love – being a motorcyclist myself. Blue skies and sunshine aren’t the only reasons why motorcycles are on the road more and more, however. The rise in the cost of gas during the busy summer travel season is another reason why many fellow bikers take advantage of riding their metal ramblers. There is also the simple fact that motorcycles are just plain fun to ride.
If you are a fellow rider, then you get what it means to come home with a visor plastered in bugs after a spirited blast. The sheer joy one can experience when there is nothing else in the world that seems to matter when you grab a fistful of throttle on your hog is simply exhilarating. It becomes more than riding a frame with an engine underneath you. It is almost an out-of-body experience to feel nothing but the ground roaring below you as the wind howls without mercy against your tear ducts, screaming towards an unreachable horizon in the distance. Being a motorcyclist is a beautiful pastime that I will never be able to give up in my lifetime. I will always have at least one motorcycle in my garage.
Since there are many more motorcycles sharing the pavement at this time of year, unfortunately, there are also many more accidents involved with bikes. In 2010, in the United States alone, there were 3,615 fatalities on the road involving a motorcycle. That is a sad and sobering number for any rider to hear. Even more sobering is the fact that when motorcycles become involved in an accident with an automobile 77% are struck in the front and only 7% are struck from behind. Of these accidents, 47% were fatal to the motorcyclist involved.
According to the American Red Cross, a single automobile accident victim might need up to 100 units of blood in extreme cases; so imagine what a motorcycle accident victim could need! At Incept, you might know a big part of what we do is helping to recruit blood donors for blood centers across America. During the summer months, due to colleges and schools being on summer break, many blood donations are missed in part to not having drives hosted at this time of the year.
I’ve been riding for almost three years now, and I haven’t laid my bike down or been in an accident with another car (knock on wood) ever in my time on my Suzuki. That is thanks to being alert while riding and constantly paying attention to my surroundings and other vehicles. Even with good riding skills and riding defensively, however, many good motorcyclist do end up going down.
Earlier this year in February, a rider from Sarasota, Florida was involved in a turbulent and near-fatal accident when a minivan ran a red light colliding with his Harley and causing him to need more than 20 units of blood due to multiple surgeries. This was a rider that had been riding for decades and was always careful, but it goes to show you how risky it is to even be out on the road on a motorcycle.
If anything, please watch and listen for motorcycles. Loud pipes really do save lives! Give each motorcycle enough space on the road between you and your car and always pay attention to their turn-signals or hand signals. While you are at it and if you are eligible, why not stop by your own local blood bank to donate blood? At a time of year when it is crucial to receive support from donors, if you haven’t donated yet, now is the time!
If you are a motorcyclist, be safe and donate blood for our brothers of the road that will need our help this summer.