I’ve have let it be known in the past that I am probably the best driver at any given time. The second best is (I believe) my friend Mikey. Sometimes I ponder what it is that America could use that would help improve the driving experience as well as help train better drivers. There are plenty of things out there that just plain annoy me, but there are the much bigger concerns of safety. What it comes down to is that if we have better drivers we’ll have much safer roads and much more enjoyable driving experiences.
My solution to the problem of bad drivers is this: we need more motorcycles. If people were required to learn and ride motorcycles we’d have better drivers. Betters drivers would bring us safer roads and better experiences. I think that all drivers should be required to pass a motorcycle training course AND clock in a minimum of 25 hours of ride time before getting to drive a car. Here’s why.
1. You Will Experience ‘The Fear.’
When you ride down the road on a motorcycle, you can’t help but notice all of the things that could easily kill you even if you had lightning quick reflexes. Giant pot-hole in the road that you don’t see in time…ouch. Car runs a stop light…probably going to take a spill. Small animals crossing the road…not as easy to hit w/ a motorcycle. The giant Hummer barreling down the wrong lane…not a chance. If you think about it too hard, you can almost psych yourself out of ever riding a motorcycle but that’s a good thing. It helps you really get a grasp of how fragile everything really is on the road and how driving safe is a must.
2. Appreciation of the Elements
Weather effects motorcyclists more than drivers. Riding in the rain sucks. Riding in the snow is hardly an option. Harsh winds will make you think twice. When you ride, you are constantly checking the weather, making sure conditions are favorable. Weather also greatly effects driving conditions in cars, but people don’t pay attention to it enough. If you come to a better understanding of how weather effects road conditions, visibility, and reaction times, you will be a better driver.
3. You Notice Everything
Things sometimes seem to happen in slow motion when you are riding a motorcycle because you tend to notice things you’d ignore in your car. Things like, minor road defects, cars turning right at red lights, traffic that only yields to oncoming, someone inching out to pull into traffic, and other’s peoples’ blind spots are extremely noticable and greatly contribute to the fear factor. The good part is that it helps you recognize trouble situations way before they are actually trouble. This kind of observation is key in collision prevention.
4. No Radio, Phone Calls, Texting, Tweeting, etc..
This kind of in-the-car behavior is an extremely dangerous distraction. On the motorcycle, you can’t answer your phone. If you see a deer or an ice cream truck driven by a scary clown, you can’t just whip out your phone and tweet about it. And you can forget about sorting through status updates. Your hands are on the bars, and your attention should be on that Ford Escort casually inching over into your lane. It’s not to say that you can’t get distracted while on the bike, it’s just that there’s less gadgetry to fiddle with.
If more people rode motorcycles we’d have better drivers, better roads, less polution, lower gas prices, and more biker gangs. If we simply forced people to learn on a motorcycle first, then everyone’s driving experience would improve. Also, if someone is REALLY bad driver, I’d rather them be behind the bars of a moped than behind the wheel of an SUV.