Think Bike – The Idea
by Brian Cannoo
Although the SA Department of Transport does not keep statistics on motorcycle accidents and the causes thereof, there is no reason to believe that the general trends are different to those in other countries.
Studies in the US and UK have revealed that fully half of all motorcycle accidents are caused by the drivers of other vehicles violating right-of-way in one way or another. The tragic part is that these accidents are AVOIDABLE!
Every motorcycle rider knows that the most serious danger to life and limb is not weather, speed nor road conditions. Who among us has not had a close shave, barely missing a car pulling out from a stop street, or having to dodge a car blindly changing lanes? Those of us who communicate with other bikers on a regular basis have grown used to hearing horror stories almost every single day. Many of us have lost friends to stupid accidents.
The only effective way to reduce this senseless slaughter is by education. Education of motorists and education of riders. In some other countries, there are government campaigns to provide this education, through posters, flyers, TV and radio ads and other forms of publicity.
In the UK, although motorcycle sales are at an all-time high, motorcycle accident rates are at an all-time low. All through education.
In the absence of a similar government campaign in South Africa, a group of concerned SA bikers have decided to do something. Hence the Think Bike Campaign.
Run by entirely by volunteers, the Think Bike Campaign aims to educate both drivers and riders as to the dangers affecting motorcyclists, and how they can be avoided. Most experienced riders have developed their own techniques to minimize risk while on the roads, and others can benefit from these techniques.
The important aspects for motorcyclists to learn involve accident avoidance. These include visibility, defensive riding, reading traffic and anticipation of potentially dangerous situations. The importance of training can not be stressed strongly enough, but of equal importance is saddle time, or experience.
We have a monumental task ahead to educate motorists too. The problem areas include how to judge a motorcycle's distance and speed, how to notice motorcycles and how to react when a motorcycle is close by. Raising awareness among motorists, of motorcycles sharing the roads, can only help. Of course, a positive attitude toward motorcycles is also required and motorcyclists must play an important part in helping to cultivate it.
The campaign has a website, at www.thinkbike.co.za
, which addresses these issues. There are tips for motorists as well as riders, links to other sources of information, stories and pictures, all of which are intended to educate and raise awareness.
Downloadable leaflets are available for free, which explain the basic points. Anyone can print multiple copies of these and hand them out at work, to friends, at traffic lights, or anywhere your imagination takes you. Free bumper stickers are also available - these not only show support of the campaign but also help to raise awareness on the roads, where it counts the most. The campaign is naturally non-profit, and therefore funds must be raised to pay for bumper stickers, banners, and other publicity and awareness devices. Sponsors are being sought, but in the meantime you can also help by buying a Think Bike t-shirt, ordering stickers, donations, etc.
Please visit the website, and contribute in any way you can, whether financially, by buying a t-shirt, downloading a leaflet or with tips and advice of your own. Every little bit helps, and who knows, your contribution may save a life. Perhaps even your own.
Copyright © Brian Cannoo - ThinkBike 2005 - All Rights Reserved