My brother got cut off while going to work yesterday by a car that was in the left lane and apparently needed to turn right.
Normally, my brother would just slam on his brakes and lay on his horn. But my brother rides a motorcycle, so this was not a normal situation.
This time, when he was cut off by a guy who wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing while operating a one-and-a-half ton vehicle going 45 mph, he slammed on his brakes, had to jump off of his bike and slid nearly 15 feet on his back before he stopped.
The driver of the car never even realized what he did.
Because he was wearing proper gear, my brother came away with non-life threatening injuries, but he still skinned his ankle to the bone and got a nasty gash in his forearm.
Thanks to his bike’s sliders, which are pegs designed to help save the bike in situations like these, his bike was largely unharmed.
But if things had gone a little bit differently, he could be in the hospital right now.
You have got to pay attention to what’s going on around you while you’re driving.
I’m not running a “no texting while driving” campaign here. I’m not asking you do to this for your own safety.
I’m asking you to use your mirrors and be aware because my brother or his friend Ryan, or my dad or my grandfather or I might be near you, and you might accidentally kill one of us.
We all ride motorcycles and we all ride defensively.
We’re not the irritating squids who ride around without helmets or jackets and pull wheelies on the highway.
We’re just trying to get to a destination and stay alive, which is actually very hard to do when the majority of people surrounding us don’t look around to see us.
I have noticed that a lot of drivers don’t pay attention to anything other than the car in front of them because they were never taught to when they were learning how to drive.
And if you weren’t, that’s not your fault. But I would love it if you’d change that.
Please, while you’re driving, just look around you.
Check your mirrors and see who is behind you and who is beside you. When you’re changing lanes, actually turn your head for a second to check your blind spot. We try not to stay in blind spots, but we could be there.
If you see something moving at night that only has one headlight, assume it’s a motorcycle and try to keep your distance. Maybe it’s another car with a burnt-out headlight, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I see a lot of stories about a lot of accidents. My brother is but one example.
One of my classmates in high school, Ben Dossett, rode a motorcycle. He was a senior, and two days before graduation, he was killed by a woman driving an SUV making an unprotected left turn on green. She ran right into him, and he died in the middle of that intersection.
It doesn’t take much effort.
Just remember that motorcycles exist and keep an eye out for them when you’re driving, please, because one day, doing that might save someone’s life.
Alexandra Williamson is an accountancy senior from Frisco, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @alyxwi.