After riding last week with some new guys, and watching some common mistakes witnessed on some of the tight, twisty roads we were enjoying, I started wondering – Why are these guys making the same mistakes, over and over? – The answer seemed clear after some thought, and I wished I would have had the chance to share my thoughts with them. Sadly, I only knew one of the group, and the first day of riding was not that bad, the pace was brisk and the mistakes were few. Day two allowed me to witness guys in front and in back of me running wide in turns, crossing double-yellows, and in one instance, the rider behind me not only crossed WAY over into the oncoming lane several times, but he missed the turn so bad once he almost left the road.
It came to the point where I almost did not even want to look in my mirrors anymore, terrified of what I might see. Not sure if any of the other riders addressed the issue, as I am sure at least one of the other riders was following, just not sure what he witnessed. The next stop is where I said my goodbyes, and headed away from the group – back home. Now I regret not saying what I should have said then to this rider, and a few others……….
If you are crossing the double-yellow, you are riding beyond your skill level.
You should slow down, or even pull over and assess what is going, what happened, why you misjudged the turn, and what could have happened had you met oncoming traffic. The most shocking thing was not that this rider made a mistake, we all make them. Small mistakes where we have lots of margin for error (we are half the size of a car, or smaller, after all) are forgivable on occasion. Bad lines in the curves, braking too late or too soon, bad throttle control, not paying attention etc., we can all get away with for awhile. We all make mistakes that hopefully we adjust from, but this one guy was consistently making the same mistake, and seemed like he had no idea how bad his skills, judgment, assessment and everything was that day. I knew it, and probably should have pulled over, and had a discussion with him about it. But why did he continue? Running over the line in ever 3rd or 4th turn? It was just hard to believe.
On the way home it hit me – there were no consequences – I don’t remember passing a single car coming the other way on 209 – all the way to Hot Springs. So there was nothing to worry about, we had 2 lanes all to ourselves. But these roads were SOOoo.. curvy – how could you possibly know if anyone was coming? He did not – evidence the time he almost left the road completely. Well the thoughts never left my head, and I was determined to share my story, not to be hollier-than-thou-look-what-a-better-rider-I-am – but to share a bit of insight I should have shared then.
If you cannot keep your vehicle in your lane, you should pull over and think about WHY – before you hurt someone or yourself.
It is a really easy thing to keep in mind, in fact, if my tires even hit paint, sirens go off in my head, I just wonder why they do not go off in other heads?
So I hope this experience helps turn your sirens on when your tires hit the paint – slow down, or pull over and re-assess, figure out why you are riding over your head.
Before you wind up like this guy, who is about to ruin the nice couple’s day: