May is motorcycle safety month.

Being on a motorcycle is an exciting experience. Most of the time that experience is amazing. The Venn diagram with motorcycling and joy shows a lot of overlap. However, there are times when the overlap goes into the scary circle. This evening our ride home had one of those.

Bad interactions with cars are not something I would normally write about. They happen. Regularly. Most of them get the heart pumping for a moment but that’s about it. Tonight’s was a bit different. Tonight some cager just about hit my wife while making an illegal lane change AND trying to put his car between us as we were riding in formation. Not cool. He and I had words at the stop light.

His defense was as flimsy as they come. “She didn’t signal” he yelled at me as I approached his window. That was a load of shit as I saw, in my mirror, her turn signal on before we moved to legally enter the turn lane at the hash marks. As the lead I took my position in the lane he came right up behind me as if NMBL wasn’t there. He cut off the trailing rider, my wife,  blocking her out. All he really “saw” was me.

Fortunately NMBL is a great rider. She was looking and was forced to take the bike lane, which splits the turn lane from the through lane. There we had a quick chat at the light. That’s when I set the kickstand to have words with with the “gentleman”. And get this: he had the audacity to tell me to learn to drive. I have three different licenses and one is a professional designation. It’s unlikely I’m the one who needs to learn to drive though I’m willing to explore my abilities.

The guy followed us for about six blocks until we went into our residential area. I guess at that point he figured that it wasn’t worth his time or any more grief to keep going. Plus we’re both fully armored so, really, what’s he going to do? Punch me in the head when I have a motorcycle helmet on? Unlikely. He gave us a last angry honk and turned off.

Anyway, I don’t normally get off my bike to have words with people in cars but this guy put my wife’s life in danger. Was I stupid to do this? It’s likely. I won’t try to justify my actions. I let my anger take over. That’s not good. I know it upset NMBL a bit and I don’t like that.

Motorists, please look out for motorcycles. I know it can be tough to keep your head in the game when you’re driving home from work. A tough day can mean the drive home is a done a bit on autopilot. Other road users, motorcyclists in particular, may end up at your mercy. Those of us on two wheels are even more vulnerable. And when your mind isn’t on driving we are easy to miss, even when riding in formation. Pay attention and don’t miss us. Watch out for motorcycles.

DES out.