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See What Isn’t There

August 7, 2018

And so I said to him, “Were you trying to kill me?”

My half-brother was relating a conversation he’d had with his dad about kids and motorcycles. My nephew, my brother’s son had just turned 5. My brother realized it was the same age as he was when his dad first put him on a minibike.

My friend Carl recently got a motorcycle. He’s new to riding and went the safety course route. He posted a picture on Facebook with his bike and the caption

Still too scared to attempt to write without a helmet.

Carl, I’ve been riding since I was 5 years old. Motorcycles don’t scare me a bit. And I would never ride without a helmet, and close toed shoes or boots, and long pants, and gloves.

Last summer I renewed my motorcycle endorsement after letting it lapse for about 20 years. I had motorcycles when I married my lovely wife. But, as soon as kids started coming along, I sold the bikes. It was just too dangerous. I trust me. But, it’s the other drivers that worry me.

My 18-year old son started riding last year.

I only have two rules that I think you should follow.

1. Always assume the other drivers cannot see you
2. Assume that any drivers that can see you are actively trying to kill you

It’s been a bad year for motorcycle deaths in Utah this year. We are at 36 deaths so far this year. That’s up 50% over last year. We had two people die on bikes just last weekend.

You know that vegetable sound that motorcycles make? You know, potato.

(Saying it several times quickly)


It’s the sound of a motorcycle idling. You can continue the tuber theme.

tater tater tater tater tater



Do you know why motorcycles are so loud? You could certainly put a muffler on one. You could get the sound down to virtually silent. They are loud, so you will hear them. I know that sounds a little crazy. (But, you just said the word ‘potato” out loud four times, so who’s the crazy one?) But, the loud pipes are designed to make sure that as much as possible motorcycles will be noticed. Most of the accidents in Utah this year were drivers not seeing the bike and rider.

The most careful rider in the world cannot compensate for a car suddenly turning right in front of you. Or a car suddenly stopping. Or someone pulling out directly into your path.

I don’t currently own a bike. I still have kids at home. I will wait to get another one until they are out of the house. Like I said, they don’t scare me a bit. The other drivers scare me a lot.

Look for motorcycles and let’s be careful out there.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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