If you’ve read my post from my personal blog from last year around this time you would know that I don’t like Fall. It’s my least favourite season. There is however a very redeeming quality for me at this time of year: the end of motorcycle season in Canada!
I don’t know if I’ve ever fully mentioned it (it’s not what I want to focus on) but Mike died in a motorcycle accident. Since then, motorcycles have been extremely triggering for me.
When he first died I literally had to pull over and off the road when a motorcycle was driving anywhere near me. I could not handle it. They made me so anxious and upset. I would wait for them to pass, collect myself and get back on the road. I seemed to have passed those emotions onto my dog and he would try to hide in the car when he heard a motorcycle. The two of us were a bit of a disaster. Mike died in the Spring so I had the Spring, Summer, and start of the Fall with those things whipping around and making all their terrible loud sounds near me. Let’s just say that it took me a long time to get anywhere that year.
I have moved slightly forward through a lot of those feelings. I no longer have to pull over when a motorcycle drives near me. I so still absolutely hate them driving near me and I try to avoid them. I will slow down or switch lanes to try to get it away from me. I can function driving around them but it still makes me anxious, brings up memories or makes me feel all sorts of feelings. There’s still never a single motorcycle that passes through my eyesight that doesn’t make me think of Mike and his accident.
I’ve tried to decompose some of the thoughts around the rush of overwhelming feelings I feel around motorcycles. It’s hard to decipher what is what because they’re all jumbled in my mind. One of them I think is just pure, straight fear. I’m so afraid something is going to happen to someone on one of those bikes in front of me. I’m worried for them. Yes, you could say it is very unlikely to happen but using “unlikely” with a young widow doesn’t categorize into my brain as logical. Part of it, I will admit, is also selfish. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt from a motorcycle accident and possibly fill in my lack of knowledge of Mike’s pain with someone else’s possible vivid, traumatic pain.
Mixed in with the fear is a lot of anger now. I can’t stand when people are stupid on their bikes. I want to yell at them to smarten up. Sometimes when they are really driving recklessly I almost want to run them over myself to bring them back to reality and the heightened dangers of careless driving on a bike. I find it so incredibly ignorant. Recently, I was on the highway in traffic and this group of motorcyclists pull up around me. They are not using an actual lane; they are riding between lanes to beat the traffic. Stupid. They surround me on both sides. I manage not to panic. Then they start doing “tricks!” Are you kidding me?? Idiots! One is pulling a wheelie. Another one jumps to one side of their bike and lifts both their legs off in some sort of running motion. Another dips down beside his bike and pulls it slightly sideways. All on an 8 lane highway BETWEEN lanes. I’m pissed and anxious and feeling all of the emotions. It’s times like this that I (selfishly) think, “really? These idiots get to live doing shit like that but Mike does not?” I can’t stand it. They cheer each other on and speed off. I cry with relief or anger...I’m not exactly sure.
More upsetness stems from the fact that not all American States require motorcyclists to wear helmets while they’re riding. I had no idea (or hadn’t noticed it) until Hawaii and then started looking up all the places on vacation. David certainly got an earful on that one! I was shocked. Why would you not wear a helmet? Why would anyone take that unnecessary risk with all the research that’s been done on brain injuries and the obvious exposure you have as a biker? We’re in the 21st century! It’s so easy to do. Stupid. Again, I’m angry at the ignorance.
My last encounter with motorcyclists this summer was another not-so-bright rider. It’s night time and I’m driving the speed limit along a straight road with no one around. I put on my signal to change lanes. Out of nowhere this motorcyclist speeds up (way over the limit) beside me. Being hyper aware of those things, I obviously saw him and turn my signal off to wait for him to pass. Instead of passing he slows down quickly and starts angrily hand gesturing towards me. I assume it’s about me trying to change lanes and he’s telling me to watch out for him. I get mad gesturing back at him because 1) he sped out of some parking lot way faster than he should and 2) I still did see him, I’m always looking out for bikers, and I did not even start to change lanes into him. Well, he calms down as I get mad back at him and ends up trying to gesture for me to change lanes in front of him. I signal no thanks. He keeps driving beside me and trying to talk to me. I’m getting annoyed that he’s not focusing on the road and that he’s also distracting me while I try to control my anxiety. I think maybe at this point he’s trying to flirt or show off to me. He clearly has no idea who his audience. I start to ignore and then he accelerates so quickly that he’s out of sight within 10 seconds. Again, idiot.
So that’s this summer’s most memorable motorcycle encounters. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many bikers who ride as safely as they can. I know Mike did that too. However, I am so looking forward to a nice, long, cold, snowy winter with no bikes in sight!