As the festive season waits on us around the next bend, it’s a no-brainer that the roads will become bustling arteries of excitement and holiday cheer. It’s a time of year when families and friends gather, often travelling great distances to reunite. Amidst the joy, however, lies a grave reminder: the responsibility of road safety rests on the shoulders of every user, from the smallest scooter to the largest truck.
A Call for Vigilance amongst Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists, with their slender profiles and exposed riders, are inherently more vulnerable than other motorists. The statistics are sobering, with riders facing a significantly higher risk of injury or fatality in the event of a collision. It’s a stark reality that demands heightened vigilance, especially during the holiday season when the roads are at their busiest, and distractions are rife.
To our two-wheeled friends, the festive season is no time to let down your guard. Anticipate the unexpected. Assume that drivers may not always see you, and even if they do, they may not grant you the space or right of way you require. Increase your safety buffer, keep an eye on your visible reserve, and be prepared for those imminent turns and pull-outs. Your vigilance is your lifeline, and anticipation should be your constant companion.
To the Other Side of the Fence
Drivers of cars, trucks, taxis, and buses, you share this road, and thus, you share the duty of care. Motorcycles and scooters can easily be lost in your blind spots or masked by the glare of the sun. In the festive spirit, it is our human duty towards life on two wheels to extend our awareness to more vulnerable road users. Check your mirrors, signal your intentions early, look to see (seek) that life on two wheels and provide them with the space and respect they long for.
During this time, distractions are plenty. The appeal of holiday festivities can lead to a dangerous complacency behind the wheel. The consequences of driving under the influence or while fatigued are catastrophic and entirely preventable. As you celebrate, remember that a moment of inattentiveness can lead to a lifetime of regret.
It really helps taking an extra second, yes a slower turn of the head, when looking for a “vehicle” you don’t always expect to see.
The Shared Road Ahead
The call for road safety is a call to action for all South Africans. It’s about making the conscious decision to be more present, a decision to be more aware, and a decision to be more considerate. To my fellow motorcyclists, it means being proactive about your safety, wearing the proper gear, and riding with the assumption that you may not be seen. For other motorists, including me when I find myself in a car, it’s about acknowledging the vulnerability of motorcyclists and making room for them on our roads.
We are not all hooligans, but we all do have loved ones we’d like to go home to.
This festive season let’s pledge to look out for each other. Our shared road is a metaphor for the broader journey we are all on together. Let us navigate it with care, with respect, and with a heart full of the holiday spirit.
As we spread the festive cheer, let’s also spread the message of road safety.
Let’s make these holidays not only joyous but also safe for every traveller seeking the warmth of home and the embrace of loved ones. Remember, whether on two wheels or four (six, eight, etc.), we all have a role to play in keeping our roads safe. Let’s honour life on two wheels and ensure that the festive season is memorable for all the right reasons.