We've been experiencing some midsummer rain this past week, somewhat out of the ordinary for Oregon summer and how it came was odd. Last Saturday was a do nothing, too hot to ride, stay in air conditioned comfort kind of day. But by 2:00am Sunday morning were gathered outside in the backyard hunkered down under the gazebo watching the lightning and listening to thunder while Mother Nature watered our dusty, moisture deprived....lawn? We definitely needed the rain to revive the local vegetation as the threat of forest fires increased throughout the summer. Ironically, the lightning that accompanied the rains had our firefighters on alert.
My plans for a ride Sunday were thwarted but a brief sunny break about mid-afternoon offered an opportunity to wash the bike, change the oil and to complete a thorough inspection beyond my daily once over. I rolled the dice, betting that the rain would stop and that Monday's ride into work would be warm and dry. Good thing I am not a betting man, as it has rained for the past 3 1/2 days. I've pulled out the hi-vis rain gear and I've been cautious of all the oil the rain has pulled up from the roads.
Riding into work this week I shake my head at drivers who do not drive with their lights on in overcast or rainy weather. I am required by law to have my headlight on all the time so that I may be seen. I'll say, that grey Buick in the shadows of the grove of rain laden tree boughs approaching my left turn ahead is sure hard to see.
And when did that Ford truck sneak up behind me? We do what we can to make ourselves seen and ride like we are invisible, but shouldn't this be a two way street? Daytime running lights have been required on all cars produced for Canada since 1989, I guess it still strikes me as odd to see a car operated with it's lights off.
Same theory for hi-vis vest and jackets, only I have discovered a flaw with wearing this attire. Last Spring I would come home daily complaining to Brandy how someone cut me off or didn't see me. I even had one guy pull out in front of me, meet me at the next light, get out of his car and apologize to me and that "he did not see" me. Ummm, I am wearing bright green! Anyway, this summer with warmer temperatures I've switched to my grey mesh jacket and surprisingly my daily rants diminished. No problems all summer, until yesterday, while wearing my hi-vis jacket a driver breezed through a stop to crowd me in my lane. This morning, with no one behind me, a truck pulled out in front of me headed in the same direction I was, failing to wait two Mississippi to let me by. Every motorcycle and scooter forum and blog you read has these same stories, all too often the topic of discussion. But my discovery is that of target fixation, drivers do it too!! The only difference between us and them is that we are aware of the how and whys of target fixation and we train ourselves to look ahead, look beyond, avert our stare. Drivers just merrily continue with their day, oblivious to their very own psychological event they just experienced. They see us, they just don't see us. I will continue to wear hi-vis during rainy, inclement weather, but I am reluctant to make myself a target. Maybe a two tone red/grey...red does mean stop, doesn't it?