This past weekend was a very bleak and sobering time for the biking community as we counted the number of bikers that lost their lives in accidents around the country. And contrary to the often-held view that the majority of accidents were between cars ad motorcycles, many of the deaths were as a result of avoidable bike-on-bike incidents.
The Satellite Road in Hartbeespoort is widely regarded as a speed route where manufacturers and journalists test and evaluate their latest bikes and cars - and where weekend warriors compare their testosterone levels against one-another on Sundays. It has had it's fair share of fatalities over the past few years, but somehow the tragic loss of two lives this weekend seems to underline the need for safer and more responsible biking in general. This particular accident was - according to the media, caused by two bikers doing a u-turn at the apex of the pass nearest the satellite station after racing down the road, and then being hit by the following two bikes as they crested the hill. A sad and depressing loss of life which could have been avoided by the simple application of logic on the part of the two that did the turn.
Add to these, three bikers were involved in separate accidents along the infamous Lanseria road to Hartbeespoort on the same day. Again, no motor vehicles were involved and each of the accidents appeared to be self-inflicted by riders. Further afield, there were deaths in the Cape, Johannesburg, the East Rand and Bloemfontein - each involving bikers and not cars.
Most of us accept the dangers of riding motorcycles and we have all probably heard the doom-and-gloom messages being preached by non-bikers. But the fact remains that we take our lives into our own hands when we mount our steeds, and it is up to each of us to take every possible care to avoid accidents. None of us have accidents on purpose, but as the data from the Motorcycle Safety Institute shows, so many accidents are as a result of our own actions - not those of motorists necessarily. This tendency to test the limits of our bikes on public roads - ignoring the potential danger we create for fellow bikers, motorists and pedestrians in general, can only end in sadness.
So this week, when you take your bike out onto the road, make a commitment to being safe out there - and avoid the chops' that need to prove their masculinity by trying to kill themselves. Keep safe.