Robert Barron column: Some motorcyclists a danger to themselves; and others

Robert Barron column: Some motorcyclists a danger to themselves; and others

I would often bellyache over the mandatory helmet laws in Canada.

When I was younger and an avid motorcycle enthusiast, I would often bellyache over the mandatory helmet laws in Canada.

I figured at the time that it’s a free country and it should be up to me if I wanted to put my neck on the line by not wearing a helmet.

Of course, what my infantile brain was not taking into consideration was the cost to the taxpayers’ supported medical system when I crashed and smashed my head in, and the impacts on the other drivers that may be involved in the accident.

That kind of more thorough and mature thinking comes with age, which I increasingly have plenty of, and I often wonder about how stupid and reckless I was in those days, and how lucky I was to live through it.

I had two major motorcycle accidents while I was in my 20s, one of which was my fault, and ended up in the hospital both times.

Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet during each incident and had on heavy jeans and leather boots, jacket and gloves which saved me from serious road rash, or worse.

(Of course, that had more to do at the time with staying warm in a cold climate than any safety concerns.)

I did, however, knock out some teeth and had severe bruises and other superficial damage in those accidents, but I consider myself fortunate to have lived through them.

Some of my friends and colleagues who also liked to drive motorcycles in those days were not so lucky.

I currently spend a good deal of time on the Island Highway in my car and some of the motorcycle riders I come across obviously need to get wise very fast, or I expect they will soon be statistics.

To be fair to the vast majority of motorcyclists out there who drive responsibly and carefully, and with the proper attire, the riders I’m talking about are just a small percentage of those on the road.

But they make the highways scary for all users.

One guy passed me so fast on a racing bike one day last week, it was almost like I was standing still.

The rider was smart enough to have a full-face helmet on, but all he was wearing other than that was a t-shirt, shorts and sandals.

I’ve often thought about pulling up next to one of these half-nude motorcyclists while travelling at high speeds and dropping a thawed out side of pork on the highway to give the rider the sense of just how much damage could be done to exposed flesh when it hits the asphalt at those speeds.

I would hope it would be a wake-up call for the rider; one that he would spread around amongst his biking buddies.

I know from personal experience that it’s hard to get this message through to many young people.

Like me at that age, they tend to scoff at older people who come bearing wisdom and advice, choosing to learn life’s lessons on their own.

But the point is they may not have much of a life, if any at all, if they are unfortunate enough to find themselves in a serious crash.

So slow down you motorcyclists who have little regard for posted speed limits, and wear appropriate clothing and equipment.

It will make everyone much happier.

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