This is a guest post by Ankit Desai, who wrote this piece out of his pure passion for riding ethics that people tend to ignore. This post is in part of the series of Riding Ethics and Road Safety that I am working on. Share your views in the comment below.
This week yet again we lost a fellow biker. Anand Pawar, member of H.O.G., Pune chapter, passed away due to an accident en-route Goa. My condolences to both his family and H.O.G. Long days of riding, back-to-back long distances, and fatigue bad luck what ever.
The truth is a good soul was laid to rest too soon leaving behind a grieving family and a few friends. The rest of the world will forget in a matter of weeks may be days. The Facebook posts will fall down the time line, the tweets will be buried. The newspapers, well they just about managed to make some money with the death of a biker on an expensive bike, with a famed biker group.
Judgments too soon
Today there are judgments and there is gyan. What happened? Then come the guessing games. Maybe it was fatigue, maybe the breaks gave way. Or may be the rider was going too fast, maybe was not able to bank the bike. Or was a novice, was a good rider, tried too hard to keep up with the boys etc. The list is endless, and going on for about last 3 days now.
The postmortem report gives closure from the speculation – internal injuries. It yet does not tell you how he fell, and speculations will not be laid to rest as long as the story is discussed.
In the end the family and the friends grieve alone. A lot of us bikers push the limit once too often. Bragging rights on speeds we reached, proudly share the thousands of kilometers we runs without a break. Proudly share the horror stories of near misses over a drink, take off on a 10,000 kms in 7 day missions. Again, the list is endless. I am guilty of it myself.
Did you ever learn to say NO?
So why the gyan? If we are so learned and educated, what are we doing about it? All our experience, and learning for the day a biker goes down never to get back up again. Mark my words, right now some hard headed fellow is short by 2 days of leave from office. But s/he may be planning a 8000 kms in 7 day trip, motivating his or her buddies to take the plunge with them.
When was the last time you said NO? No to a certain road because it was unsafe. No a certain speed because it was not right? No to extra kms run because it was too much in a day? No to riding like a maniac at night to get from point A to point B?
How many times did you put your foot down and said NO I will not be party to this? If you did then my guess is that you got snickered at behind your back. May be you have got called a chicken or worse your pretended friend called you a back stabber for not taking that trip with him or her.
When will you imbibe on riding ethics?
Pushing the limit on safety is like drinking and driving. You just cannot do that even one time! Same with safety you cannot ignore it even once. And let’s not make bones about it; safety is not about just the helmet the gear and the boots, because when you hit the tarmac at 150 kmph, no amount of gear will save you. Add to that the numerous other idiots on the road, who necessarily do not follow your riding ethics, or none at all.
You will get hurt, really at that. You may not get lacerated or get road burns but your insides will turn to mush. Your brain will dislocate inside your skull. Oh yes, the helmet. It is good at protecting your skull from cracking, not necessarily the stuff inside. But fat lot of good that will be to you when you are dead or even worse a vegetable for life.
Are you angry yet?
Well you should be, because this is the truth. The truth always hurts and that is unless you have one of those nine lives stacked away ready to use. You better pray that the next high speed high fatigue crash either leaves you completely unharmed by sheer luck or you end up dead on the spot. Trust me, being a vegetable will be no fun for either the biker or their family.
I will get a lot of flack for writing this article, and there will be many judgments on it. But I will have my say anyway. If you want to end up as an old biker, with the engine still running and numerous kilometers on the ODO, you’d have known that safety is about discipline. You also know that when you are old only a certain type of friends will still ride along side you. The ones, who will still be alive.
So the next time some one makes a trip that is more than a 550 odd kilometers a day, what you are going to do? Say No! When someone rides faster than their guardian angel, goes without a break for more than an hour, say no! Rides without gear, rides on a rickety bike or rides when fatigued. Say a god damn NO!
Loose that friend or one day you will lose that friend anyway. Then you will be party to the blame, for a death you did not cause, just because you did not say NO! Everyone of us who have pushed the limit, is guilty. Everyone of us who have been party to the limit being pushed, bragged about it so that some idiot with a piddly ego wanted to better those stats, we are all guilty.
Say no and stop making kilometers, speeds and hours into medals to be stuck on our jackets. To all the experienced bikers out there, the cross is ours to carry, to all bikers everywhere.
God be with you on the road you are going to need him.