Monday 8 September 2008

I like it too much, move over darling

Although I don't have the correct statistic to hand, I remember reading that the number of bikers killed on Irish roads each year is hugely disproportionate.

Motorbikes and scooters represent about 2% of motorised traffic, yet they account for something like 13% of road deaths each year. That sobering, if not entirely unexpected, fact has never caused too many sleepless nights in the embassy - I am not afraid of dying such innate vulnerabilities are part and parcel of biking. There is nothing to be done but accept that you are willingly placing yourself at increased risk and get on with things.

However, with plans for a wedding (and hopefully children) in the pipeline, my longevity is suddenly more of a concern - which is why I decided my high visibility vest was no longer offering sufficient protection. You see, the little sleeveless (off the shoulder) number I had been wearing was quite small - if I wore a backpack (which I do most days) it was almost completely hidden from view which, I think you will agree, is of little use.

On Saturday, for the princely sum of €60, I purchased a full size, illuminous yellow, rain jacket which is so bright you could probably see it from space.

On Sunday, I put it on over my regular bike jacket (with all the padding and zips and what not) and went for a spin. It was magic - everybody moved out of my way. One man was so eager to move over, he almost moved over into a ditch*. I can only assume they thought I was a bike cop. (Either that or the jacket was blinding them)

Of course, given that I wear this helmet....

...I can only assume they thought I was some kind of renegade garda enforcer.

Maybe I should get a white lid and see what happens.

* I was riding at around the speed limit, in a non-agressive manner - exactly as I normally do.


redleeroy said...

someone told me that when people wear safety gear they get knocked down more. (however they had no stats to back this up).

The Bad Ambassador said...

Could well be true.

I read a study that suggested although car drivers can be very observant, their brains naturally only register the presence of vehicles which would pose a direct threat to their safety in the event of an accident. (Which would explain the "Sorry mate, didn't see you there" excuses oft heard by bikers).

On another note, I've recently fit a black visor to my lid and have had less cars pull out in front of me as a result.

I have a theory that when drivers make eye contact they figure "he's seen me, he'll slow down for me" and pull out. With the dark visor they can't make eye contact so they can't be sure I've seen them.

Caro said...

My 1960s Vespa didn't have indicators so I used to have to hand signal.

You should see how it made cars nearly drive into one another to stay out of my way. Totally baffled them.

Caro said...

Oh, and while your lid is indeed very Bad (Amb)ass indeed, a white one would make riding round Dublin much more fun, I reckon.

The Bad Ambassador said...

Thanks Caro. I've always meant The Bad Ambassador in the somebody-who-is-not-very-good-at-ambassing(?) sense as opposed to a stubbly, renegade type. I like your take on it though.

Maybe I should go with the white lid and spikes on the side of the wheels like the chariots in Ben Hur?

Rosie said...

my da's got one of those full sleeve visi numbers and a white helmet, he has a ball knocking on windows and wagging his finger disapprovingly at naughty drivers.