The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

The perils of the motorcyclist

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This helmet is the only bumber that motorcyclist Claire Sullivan has to protect herself from the road and the other drivers. Evan E. Duran | [email protected]

Many people have misconceptions about the stereotypes surrounding motorcyclists. Between the gangs and the violence, people look at bikers with an air of caution, expecting that at any time, their helmet might peel open at the back and reveal a claymore.

Parents don’t want their daughters to date motorcyclists, and they don’t want their sons to ride them. Needless to say, I threw my parents for a loop by becoming a motorcyclist, but at the end of the day I honestly feel safer on my motorcycle than I ever have in a car.

The perks just don’t stop. I spend about 10 percent of what car drivers do on gas, even if they only have a 4-cylinder engine.

Additionally, I can split lanes through high-volume traffic and I don’t ever have to pay a mechanic. You heard right, maintenance is so simple on older bikes that anyone can do it—even a girl.

However, the world of two-wheels isn’t all about independence.

As a 10-year rider, I have seen many friends and family members killed in auto accidents purely from the negligence of third-party drivers. My father was nearly killed about a month before I was born in a motorcycle accident when a pick-up truck crossed the center line and hit him head-on.

When I first met my dad, he was in a full-body cast.

A dear friend of mine was killed on her bike by a drunk driver in another pick-up truck who stated in court that he didn’t even know he had hit her. Evidence from the dents on his vehicle containing the paint from her bike proved to be conclusive in his reckless manslaughter conviction.

In a car, one may be protected, but they are also distracted. A person driving a motorcycle is required to be attentive; his or her life depends on it. I have noticed, though, that if a motorcyclist is driving a car, he or she tends to still have safer habits than those who are unfamiliar with motorcycles.

I have been in more than 10 car accidents with my mother, a person who has never ridden a motorcycle in her life. Furthermore, she was the cause of eight of those 10 accidents. .
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I have been in only one car accident with my father—an unavoidable accident in which he was faultless. In fact, I have been on a motorcycle with him many times dating back to  before I could walk, but we have never had an accident.

I was riding my motorcycle toward the parking area on campus several days ago and for the fifth time since school started a month ago, an individual ran the stop sign when I had the right of way. After mumbling profane words into my steamed-up face-shield and eventually making it to a parking space, I began thinking of the safety of my friends and family who are members of the two-wheeled community.

Current data on motorcycle accident statistics is unavailable; however, according to the Hurt Report, a comprehensive analysis of motorcycle safety published in 1981, 75 percent of accidents involving motorcyclists are multi-vehicle accidents involving a passenger vehicle.

Of these incidents, two-thirds of the drivers of passenger vehicles admitted fault for the accident, citing visibility of the motorcycle as the underlying cause to many of the accidents. The fact is that a motorcyclist can only increase its visibility so much before motorists just have to open their eyes.

This shows that statistically, the motorcyclist is rarely at fault for the accident.

Of course, there are the morons who ride at about 120 miles per hour while steering with their feet, but be aware that the majority of motorcyclists are not the Rats, Angels, or gangsters that we are assumed to be.

I bought a sandwich for a homeless lady yesterday; I am not a crook.

I ride with my headlights on, even in the middle of the day, I wear a helmet, and I am abundantly cautious. Nonetheless, I am tired of having to ride as if I was invisible and everyone around me is drunk.

If you insist upon driving a vehicle that could kill someone, try opening your eyes before stepping on the gas. You never know, the love of your life might be just beneath the helmet that your bumper almost smashed.

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