You can not change some drivers’ attitudes, but you can protect yourself. Here’s how.
Tailgaters are not nice. Even though these intruders can make the hair on the back of your neck rise, your main concern needs to be whether the tailgater can stop short of rear-ending you if you need to stop quickly. Trying to change a tailgater’s behavior is about as likely as convincing Donald Trump to endorse Bernie Sanders for president. Any attempts to do so will only distract you from other hazards and could trigger deadly road rage. Instead, I present to you a few tips for minimizing the risk of being the recipient of a Hood Ornament.
1. Check your speed.If people regularly tailgate you then maybe you are not maintaining the expected speed of surrounding traffic. While you should avoid riding faster than you are comfortable, riding too slowly could increase the risk of being tailgated if traffic is moving significantly faster than you are. If this is the case, you may need to find an alternative route where the pace is more to your liking.
2. Let them by.If it becomes apparent that the driver is not going to back off, then find a safe place to pull over. This is often easier said than done, but why let a tailgater ruin your ride if you can let them pass? Be sure to signal early and slow gradually. Then watch as they zoom by to tailgate the next vehicle ahead.
3. Increase your following distance.A common response to a tailgater is to speed up to try and get away from the tailgater’s bumper. But, this usually results in the tailgater also increasing speed. Instead, slow down. No, not to mess with the tailgater to get them mad, but to gain a space cushion ahead of you. This allows you (and the tailgater) ample time and space to slow if necessary. A minimum of 3 seconds should do the trick.
4. Communicate intentions early.Most motorcycle brake lights do not command a lot of visual attention. But you can increase its effectiveness by flashing it two or three times before actually reducing speed. Also, be sure to activate turn signals at least 4 seconds before slowing to give drivers behind you plenty of notice.
5. Use smart lane positioning.To prevent a close call from a tailgater it’s important to choose a lane position that allows you the best angle of view past the vehicle ahead so you can spot problems early and slow gradually. When stopping at a traffic light or stop sign, keep an eye on your mirrors and flash your brake light. Also, place yourself in the right or left-hand portion of your lane to give the driver behind an escape if he can not stop in time.
6. Stay cool.This may be the most crucial. Even though tailgaters can get under our skin, smart riders do not let this bad behavior affect their judgment. Instead, they initiate strategies that prevent these morons from decreasing safety and enjoyment.
You guessed it. Riding season it’s finally here. While working last night I could not stop thinking about how excited I am about riding season finally being here. What does this mean? It means lots of opportunities for all of us that ride. I’m talking about opportunities to tell people about Jesus. I hear people saying that they find it hard to talk to people about Jesus. It really is simple. Here are a few ideas to get us started for the year.
Always wear your back patch. I have a simple rule that I have set for myself. If I get on my bike I put on my back patch. Its that easy.
Here is the way that this works. If I’m wearing my back patch,people can see it. If I’m not they can’t. Make yourself visible.
Have a flyer for an upcoming ASR event or a ASR business card with you at all times. Something to help break the ice and open up a conversation. Starting a conversation is not hard. Here is how I usually start the conversation.
When I pull into a gas station and see a motorcycle I always start a conversation with that person. I do not walk up to them and start immediately pushing Jesus, church or religion on them, I simply say something like this:
What an awesome day for a ride. Or I love your bike, that is one sweet ride. I tell them my name and shake their hand and then never leave without giving them an invite of some kind. I usually just hand them a flyer or a business card and tell them I am part of Azusa streetRiders and we have a ride this weekend and that we would love to have them join us. If there is no ride coming up I simply hand them my card or info and say we have rides all the time if you ever want to join us give us a call.
I usually like to throw into the conversation that I belong to a biker friendly church and we would love to have them visit us sometime. You will be surprised how many will take you up on this offer.
It really is that simple. The last days are here. We cannot miss an opportunity.
Hope this helps. We have work to do this riding season and that time of year is finally here.
Jesus is coming back soon, so let’s get busy.
Rev. Jim Curley
National Vice President
Azusa StreetRiders Motorcycle Ministry ~ Official Newsletter