If you generally have your weekends free, that is free of work, study or family commitments and many riders who do not ride on a daily basis, then typically there is the emergence of the weekend rider or the Sunday rider.
Certainly as spring develops into summer and with ‘good dry riding days’, many regular weekend riders commence their riding season.
Due to the notable increase in the number of bikes on the roads, then there is always a sudden increase of motorcycle accidents as the weather improves.
It is at this time of year that many motorcycle safety campaigns leap into action and start public announcements that either address driving or riding standards and practices. They certainly contribute to improving safety but to what degree, is sometimes debatable.
The occasional or Sunday rider has potentially more challenges than the regular rider and one of the greatest challenges is more to do with a general approach to riding and a diminished hazard perception, especially when first starting the riding season.
There are numerous techniques that a rider can use to regain a level of proficiency and these are discussed in numerous other articles, but the key point to remember is that a rider needs to acknowledge what their deficiencies are and take incremental steps to improve their skills and practices.
Within the riding community there are preconceptions what type of rider is most likely to have an accident or what type of road user is likely to be responsible for a motorcycle accident, but seldom is there an acknowledgment that any rider of any style and any make and category of motorcycle is equally as probable to have an accident, in general terms that is.
Many times I hear: “Oh…it’s the young riders!”, “Well it’s the sports bike riders!”, “Yeah but it’s those born again bikers that are the worst!”…etc.
The reality is that there is some truth to all of those statements, but actually the incidents include all age groups and all types of motorcycles and all rider backgrounds.
In certain countries there might be a higher rate of accidents involving a particular motorcycle manufacturer, but that is more to do with whether that manufacturer has the market dominance or not. E.g. in the East Asia region then the accident rate will include a much higher percentage of Asian Motorcycle Manufacturers, just as in North America there will be a higher percentage of American Motorcycle Manufacturers, etc.
As the riding season commences, the emergency services tend to expect the increase in accidents and especially when there is a Sunday coupled with warm weather and dry roads then it is not uncommon for an emergency service worker to say: “Well they’ll all be out on their bikes today”, followed by: “We’ll probably see them later”
This rather pessimistic view is not so much because of an innate dislike of motorcycles or riders, however of course that attitude can be present! It is more to do with general experience of dealing with many of these types of incidents under these types of conditions. Hence why there is a common opinion amongst the non riding emergency service workers that: “Riders are organ donors!”
Many times, whilst being on duty on the air ambulance in the UK, I’m sure I have been envious of those who have been able to get out on their bikes on a Sunday. Those who have been able to meet with friends and take a ride out to some biking destination or those who attend a rally or those who just get out on a solo ride. However I am ever mindful, that there is an increasing probability that I may meet some of those riders later in the day…in a professional capacity! Something I never hope for!…Something I’m glad when it doesn’t happen!….and something that I frequently say to riders that I meet…”I hope to see you again…but not in a professional capacity!” or “In the best possible way I hope I never meet you again!”
As I explained to a rider recently after talking to a group of bikers, that the HELI BIKES Motorcycle Safety Initiative that I once operated and founded was really born out of frustration when I repeatedly saw motorcycle accidents occurring for largely avoidable reasons.
When I see many riders venturing out for the weekend ride, I either wish I was with them or I wish them well and to have a great ride and of course a great time. However, I also hope they are approaching their riding in the best possible way, that they remain accident free or do not cause others to have accidents. I hope they take the best precautions for themselves and their pillions and they are taking active steps to improve their biking/riding awareness and skills.
“In the best possible way I hope I never meet you…in a professional capacity!”