Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Be Aware"

The moral of this story is that you can never be too alert.  You can never succumb to the comfortable feeling that you are so well versed in the mechanics of the open road and driving, along with human nature and peoples' propensity to take things for granted, that you can too, with impunity.  You might find yourself in a very awkward situation through no fault of your own, aside from letting down your guard.

And people who drive motorcycles are extremely vulnerable on a road that is shared with those who drive trucks and SUVs, and vans and other modes of conveyance.  All such vehicles, including the compacts, sub-compacts, Smart Cars and inattentive drivers in them, are susceptible to inadvertently placing themselves in danger by not paying due and careful attention.

Worse, much worse, they place others in potentially dangerous situations when they relax normal driving vigilance by observing what and who they are sharing the road with, from bicycle riders to motorcycle drivers, to transport trucks or any other motorized conveyance.  This is a truth, well known to Don Dobson, 72 years of age, who took his BMW motorbike out for a spin on Woodroffe Avenue of a lovely Saturday morning.

He discovered himself to be dreadfully inconvenienced, en route to the closest hospital, still in the morning hours.  Mr. Dobson has long acted as a motorcycle safety advocate.  He would have been enormously chagrined and surprised during the process of being hit by a SUV, if he could remember the event.  A grim reminder of our mortality.

When firefighters arrived from a nearby station, they discovered Mr. Dobson pinned under the front of the Toyota SUV, with some kind of fluid pouring from its engine.  A call had been made for the heavy-rescue squad with its extraction equipment to appear on the scene, immediately if not sooner.  The firefighters decided there was no time to wait for the imminent arrival of the experts.

Three of them lifted the front of the SUV, allowing paramedics to haul Mr. Dobson out from under and away from the wreck, spiriting him into the ambulance nearby.  Mr. Dobson has no memory of the almost-catastrophic encounter that might have taken his life; he regained consciousness en route to hospital.

May has been proclaimed Ottawa's 'motorcycle awareness' month.  A factoid that appears to have been lost to most drivers.  "It's called inattentional blindness", Mr Dobson said later, in discussing how some drivers seem unable to see what is directly in front of them.  "(The accident) is a wake-up call to all of us.

"Nobody is invulnerable.  Until driver training includes attention to other people on the road and drivers pay attention to what's around them, we're going to have a lot of problems."  He was, after his near-brush with death, in fine enough fettle, having sustained a series of painful bruises and a mild concussion.  He plans to be back on his bike before long.

Charges have been laid with respect to the incident.  "I'm just glad I wasn't a few seconds faster in to the intersection.  Because then the (car) would have driven into my leg", he sighed.  Or worse.

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